Let the Legend Shrivel: Golf Fans are Sick of Tiger Woods and Glad His Career is Coming to a Close

Tiger Woods will be remembered for what could have been.

Some will interpret that to be a comment on Woods’s failure to “catch Jack.”  For nearly twenty years, the hucksters in the golf world pushed that idea that Woods would surpass Jack Nicklaus’s mark of 18 majors, thereby establishing Woods as the “Greatest of All Time.”  Woods, whose career we now know was very much front-loaded, was treated as if he had already passed Jack.  As a result of the way the media — and Woods himself — framed Woods and his “historic chase of Jack Nicklaus,” Woods has wound up with the greatest, and most lucrative, sports career ever… to be considered an absolute failure.  Woods isn’t Secretatiat; he’s every horse who won the first two legs of the Triple Crown only to falter at Belmont.  The difference between Woods and those horses is that the sports media crowned Woods the Triple Crown winner — when Woods is finished, Secretariat will be a footnote — before the Belmont was run.

However, that is not what I am writing about today.  Woods’s image may have been able to withstand the “chasing Jack” and “greater then Nicklaus” hype had he not been such a smug, rude, unfeeling human being.  You know the saying: Be nice to people on your way up, because you are going to see the same people on your way down.  Woods always considered himself above “nice,” and as a result, people relish kicking him on his way down.

It did not have to be that way.  That’s the “what could have been” I am writing about today.

Consider:  the constant cursing; the over-the-top on-course celebrations; the aversion to self-effacing modesty.  Those were all observable things.  The media — Woods’s prime enabler — ignored them, or worse, painted them as assets.  They show his single-mindedness and intensity.  That seems silly in retrospect, but that was the media’s accepted narrative.

Add to those the things we now know:  a disturbing misogyny; damning links to Dr. Anthony Galea and others in the world of PEDs; a false image created by Nike and IMG.

Woods has referred to himself as a role model and stated that he took that responsibility seriously.  Really?  Where?  On the course?  Off the course?

Most troubling of all is how Woods knew the truth the entire time and yet went along pushing a false image, and how the media went along — sometimes knowingly, sometimes unknowingly — with the ruse.

Let’s now address something that could have been put in both categories above, the Rock Ishii-engineered distance and accuracy golf ball (see here and here) Woods alone had in 2000: This ball advantage was observable — to knowledgeable observers of golf — but has only recently become a “we now know” item for the general public.  When it comes to the mainstream golf media, we have to wonder, “What did they know, and when did they know it?”  And, why, once they knew, did they not make a point of educating the public.

Here’s a link to a Sports Illustrated article written in the wake of Tiger Woods’s “dominating” victory at the 2000 British Open.  It is typical of the media coverage in that era.  It is cringe-inducing to read now, knowing what we now know.  Read these passages knowing that Woods was using a ball that gave him a distance and accuracy advantage over his opponents:

Price finally produced a flame and sparked a cigarette. “Tiger cut a three-wood off the tee at 17 today, and I smoked a driver,” he said, exhaling. “He was a yard past me.”

Well, hell, I wonder why!!!

Woods, almost embarrassingly, played 72 holes on a course with 112 bunkers and never soiled his trouser cuffs.

Gee, I wonder why he was able to drive it past the bunkered landing areas.

Here’s a description from Golf Channel:

He did not hit into a single trap over 72 holes, using sheer power to fly the ball beyond the punishing pot bunkers that serve as the best defense on the Old Course.

That was written in 2005 about Woods’s 2000 play.  By that time, Golf Channel was well aware Woods had used the Rock Ishii golf ball which gave him a nearly ten-yard advantage off the tee.  They wrote nothing of that, attributing the distance to “sheer power.”

For interesting revelation about Woods’s character, read these two bits from the article:

When Nicklaus putted out on 18 on Friday, ending what is presumed to have been his final round ever at the British, Woods happened to be 50 yards away, near the 1st tee, practicing his putting in advance of his own round. He didn’t applaud Nicklaus, and scarcely even looked at him.

And:

Woods may have learned too well from Nicklaus, whose records were taped to the headboard of Tiger’s bed even at age 10. Of his list of achievements, Woods actually said on Sunday night, “I thought I’d be at this point faster than it took,” which is to say sooner.

What graciousness!  Of course, the media would soon turn such episodes of classlessness into evidence of his greatness and intensity.  His anti-social behavior would soon be presented as “making golf cool.”

What’s key here, as you read this 15-year-old article, is to recognize that Woods knew he had a ball that allowed him to add nearly ten yards to his drives while maintaining the same accuracy.  So here is Woods, who just won his second straight major using a ball no one else had, jawboning that he expected to have won his first four majors sooner than he did.

All you can do is laugh.  Here’s a guy who KNOWS his U.S. Open and British Open wins are tainted, but he can’t help glorifying himself, saying that winning four majors so quickly was actually a disappointment to him!

Maybe the media didn’t know at the time.  They probably didn’t.  But they would within a year or two.  That they never went back and wrote an article similar to this one I’m writing today is inexcusable.

The result of all this is that Woods’s career now has a stench to it that cannot be washed off.  And so does the image of the golf media.  The golfing public is tired of being lied to, tired of being deceived, tired of being expected to go along with the Tiger Woods flim-flam.

Let the legend shrivel.

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42 Responses to Let the Legend Shrivel: Golf Fans are Sick of Tiger Woods and Glad His Career is Coming to a Close

  1. Realist says:

    Well written article. Fair and honest. Looking forward to more on the subject. I might actually enjoy golf again. Thank you !

  2. JoseyWales says:

    excellent!

  3. JoseyWales says:

    latest from John Strege in Golf (Payola) Digest…

    “Can Tiger Woods begin to turn back the clock at the Memorial?”

    • lannyh says:

      Haha, I caught four or five minutes of Morning Drive today (in two separate samples), and Woods was all they discussed. In fact, I jotted something down that maybe someone could clarify. Paige McKenzie said something about Woods and money — even now pushing the false narrative of Woods “making golfers rich” — and said, as best I could catch it, that some money for something went from 2.5 million in 1995 to 6.2 million now. I remember thinking that that probably barely even keeps up with inflation. Five percent a year equates to a double in just fifteen years. Anyway, does anyone know what Paige was referring to?

  4. JoseyWales says:

    Shackelford is now on Morning Drive with that silly little fake smile of his. He has totally sold out to the Golf Channel/Golf Digest/Tiger Woods crowd. On his blog the other day he scolded a poster for making fun of the clown Charlie Rymer. And Shackelford deletes any and all posts that make fun of HIM. He can’t take the heat so he hits the delete…he’s a phony.

    • lannyh says:

      He’s a disappointment. He knows better than anyone that Woods had an equipment advantage, and he knows better than anyone that the game is being altered for the worse by “improved” equipment, but he won’t use the Golf Channel forum to educate viewers. He basically plays to Gary Williams. It’s so scripted, too.

  5. HennyB says:

    Well done Lanny. I never understood Tiger’s attitude towards the crowd and his peers. What was the purpose of the rudeness and aloofness?. By all accounts he treats the crowd and fellow competitors like crap. What was the whole MO? Was he trying to take on a “Ivan Drago” “I must break you” demeanor? I think he has some real insecurities that he has tried to mask or compensate for by bulking up and trying to portray himself as “the ultimate male” . Deep down inside he is still the scared dorky little nerd everyone once called Urkel. (No offense to the nerds of the world, I myself am one) I used to hate listening to the announcers cover for him when he threw a tantrum, “He just wants it so bad” “Nobody hates to loose as much as this guy” etc. There is no excuse for a grown person acting like a complete idiot in public. He’ s a little spoiled brat who has literally gotten his way and whatever he has wanted all his life because he’s been surrounded by yes-men since the age of two. The funny part about it, he has shown no signs of changing. If anything his behavior has gotten worse. I don’t feel sorry for him one bit. Those who take short cuts always comes up short.

    • lannyh says:

      Well put. As for the reasons for his behavior, I think you nailed it with both. A basic insecurity mixed with desire to come across as Ivan Drago.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It would be naive to ignore the term sociopath. Check out any medical web page concerning sociopaths and Woods exhibits a lot of the classic traits.

  7. Bob Nichols says:

    Please enlighten us as to how Tiger won by 12 strokes in 1997 at Augusta without the aid of a special ball. Or when he won by 5 shots at two other majors in 2005 and 2006.

    How about the other events he won by 7, 11, 8, 8, 8,8, 8, 5, 5, 8 and 7 shots during a period of 2006 thru 2013. Do you even realize how dumb it sounds to say he won by a bunch because of a special ball during a 6 month period?

    I guess you forgot Phil Mickelson talking about how its amazing Tiger wins the way he does using inferior equipment with Nike.

    We”l wait for the logic to explain all these other monster wins while you try and come up with a new spin or an old spin recycled!

    • lannyh says:

      Focus. I am talking about May through December 2000. Woods was using a ball other players did not have that went nearly ten yards farther — and just as straight — off the tee. Within two years, everyone on Tour was using that ball.

      That’s fact. There’s no explaining to do. You act all aghast and would try to mock my analysis, but you are asking the world to believe that effectively moving the tees forward ten yards for one PGA Tour player would have no effect on his performance. That’s clownish.

      • Bob Nichols says:

        Focus… I asked for an explanation as to how Tiger could win 14 other events by between 5 shots and 11 shots beginning in 2003 which was 3 years after the so called special ball. How could he do it without equipment help?

        ProV1 had come out with a new ball in 2000 and if anyone thought there was such an advantage don’t you think they would have made the switch to the Nike ball. Most players are not tied down at least back then to only using the ProV1 ball.

        To call those wins “tainted” is pure jealousy or its “agenda” motivated because we have seen what Tiger can do no matter what ball his competitors use! That’s like when metal drivers came out and some on tour took them into their bag and others did not…those wins with metal woods were not “tainted”!

      • lannyh says:

        Your question is asinine. Look at Oostie’s runaway win. Does that mean he could get no advantage from a special ball because he once won a tournament by a large margin?

        Surely you can figure out some plausible answers to your own questions, anyway. Were those other events you are talking about rated 900+ OWGR strength of field? Of course not. As for other players using the Nike ball, you can’t figure out why the guys wearing Titleists hats couldn’t use that ball?

        If you don’t weed out the nonsense from your claims, you are wasting everyone’s time. Again, the discourse here is at a higher level than most of the Golf Channel crowd can handle. Certain assumptions are made about poster’s grasp of basic logic. Go post at Shackelford and Golf Digest. You’ll fit in there.

        The Pro V1 came out in 2000, alright. DECEMBER of 2000! That’s my entire freaking point!

        I love your idea that anyone looking at the facts is simply “jealous.” What are you, six years old?

      • lannyh says:

        “Titleist’s first Pro V1 was introduced on TOUR in mid-October of 2000 at the Invensys Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., with 47 players immediately putting it in play the very first week, making it the largest pluralistic shift of equipment at one event in golf history.”

        That’s from PGATour.com.

      • Bob Nichols says:

        Again, you are wrong. You asked …”Were those other events you are talking about rated 900+ OWGR strength of field?” Of Course not was your own answer. Yes, two of them were majors. I guess you forgot about the 2005 British Open where he won by 5 shots and the PGA championship in 2006 when he again won by 5 shots.

        You also forgot he won the Masters in 97′ by 12 shots. The other 12 times he won by 5 or more were in regular tour events and 3 of those were WGC events which outside of the majors and the Players are the highest ranked events every year.

        Every now and then someone can win one by a large margin or even a couple of times but when you do it almost 20 times in your career it is not because of some special ball you used to do it twice! It might just be you were that much better than everyone else for that 12 year period!

      • lannyh says:

        You are unable to make a cogent article. (1) You say two of the other events were 900+ OWGR events, then you say something about large margins 20 times. So the vast majority were against far weaker fields. That’s just scatterbrain logic; there’s no other way to put it. (2) None of that has anything to do with the fact that Woods won three majors in 2000 where he used a ball which effectively shortened holes — compared to his competitors — by 15 yards. You can’t explain that away. You want to say, “Oh, yeah, well, one time this here other thing happened and therefore the ball didn’t matter.”

        Dude, if the ball didn’t freaking matter, the other golfers would not have all switched to it as soon as it became available to them! As well, you can look at driving distance stats and see the huge jumps on Tour in the years the players moved to the new ball.

        You are too emotionally invested to examine the matter logically.

  8. Bob Nichols says:

    I left out the British Open where Tiger did not hit it in a bunker the whole week. You do realize he hit one driver the whole week right? He hit 72% irons off the tee for the week so to say he bombed it past the bunkers is false. He was like a surgeon in how he hit his irons on a dry course to perfection!

    • Anonymous says:

      You forget to state the weather conditions ; perfect for him no wind , no rain, dry and fast. Woods has never won an Open in the typical conditions of an Open

    • lannyh says:

      So extra distance with irons is somehow of no importance?

      Look, friend, I am quoting sources, and I specified who I am quoting. My analysis is of the a priori variety. I didn’t gather the facts; they are available to anyone from many sources. The title of one of my source articles is “Ex-pro says Woods enjoyed equipment edge in dominant 2000.”

      We KNOW Woods had a golf ball advantage. That is a fact that cannot be denied. Instead of getting angry at me, why not adjust your view of Woods to fit the facts as we now know them?

      • Bob Nichols says:

        The problem is your quote said Tiger could bomb it over all the bunkers and that my friend is not a fact. I don’t care you got your info from many of us watched him dissect a golf course with precision and not power.

        That makes everyone wonder if that “fact” in your article is not true then what else is not true.

      • lannyh says:

        Take it up with Golf Channel’s author of that piece. But I can tell you this: they are not the only ones who noticed the same thing.

    • lannyh says:

      This is from the SI article:

      “Woods led the tournament by three strokes at that point. In the entire tournament, during which he had rounds of 67, 66, 67 and 69, he didn’t make a single eagle. Besides driving distance, he led the tournament in only one other statistical category: low score.”

      He led the field in driving distance. But that had nothing to do with the ball, right? You say he hit irons off 72 percent of the tees (btw, are you including par-3’s?) and yet he led the field in distance?

  9. Justdumb says:

    Really, you’re making a big deal about some special ball that got him “nearly ten more yards”?! Dude, that’s a one club difference. You really think hitting 9 iron instead of 8 iron is a big deal to these guys? Now if you were talking a 2 or 3 club difference you might have a leg to stand on but that’s not what you’re saying.

    • lannyh says:

      If it were 2 or 3 clubs, you’d say, “Why dang oh mighty, if it were 4 or 5 clubs, it might make a difference…”

      Does spotting a player ten yards off the tee (plus the need for less of an iron not just because of the drive, but because of the iron also getting extra distance due to the ball, every hole was some 15 yards shorter for Woods.

      Look, you guys have lost all touch with reality. You are throwing narrative after narrative at the wall hoping one of them will stick. FACT: Within two years, all Tour pros were playing the type ball Woods alone had in 2000. Do you think they all switched because it didn’t make any difference?

      Show some self-respect, guys. Accept it that Tiger “wasn’t all that.” You bought into the mythos, I get it. But I, as well as the people who read this website, am still ruled by logic. Your kind of emotional crap might fly at Golf Channel or Golf Digest, but we have a higher standard here.

      • Justdumb says:

        You clearly have your opinion, however misinformed it is, and I have mine, based on experience. We’ll agree to disagree.

  10. JoseyWales says:

    The Legend has just shriveled from 156 to 172 OWGR.

  11. Realist says:

    You have no business calling anyone misinformed Justdumb. Lannyh probably doesn’t dig that rude stuff.

  12. Kris says:

    Wow, Lanny struck a nerve with 2 of the last Tiger fans left on the planet. I got so distracted grabbing some popcorn I almost forgot what I had to say.

    I’ve said it before and I agree with Anonymous up there that Tiger Woods is a sociopath. He was raised to be a golf champion and taught to win at all costs. He doesn’t care about other people, only his career and his image. Tiger was a talented golfer, but it cannot be denied that some of his wins are tainted by superior equipment, questionable rulings and PED use. He spent his entire career mistreating competitors, fans and sponsors. Six years post scandal, other than Nike and Rolex, Tiger’s only sponsor is MusclePharm, a shady supplement company. Tiger has no value outside of being a great golfer. He is no longer a great golfer, and some of his greatness was inauthentic. Let the legend shrivel.

    • Justdumb says:

      Call me a Tiger fan if you wish but my larger issue is that Lanny is giving credit to a golf ball that supposedly allowed Tiger to hit it farther. The problem with that is the tee ball accounts for a relatively small percentage of a players strokes in any given round.

      Let’s agree for a moment that this distance ball did in fact provide a distance advantage. Did that help him get up and down better? Did it improve his putting?

      Lets ask Rory how his superior driving has helped him over the last couple of weeks. DJ was hitting 3 wood passed the fields drivers this past week. Surely that advantage was the reason he won this past weekend.

      • lannyh says:

        Well, if you have a longer ball, and you are in the fairway 180 out, you are able to hit a more lofted club, giving you a better chance to stop the ball close to the hole.

        You keep trying to take this result from here and that result from there and point to them and say, “See! The ball didn’t help because how could this guy have lost and that guy won.” You’re grasping at straws, trying to come up with a narrative that keeps your mythology alive.

        Look, it’s simple fact that the ball — the “transformational” ball, as Rock Ishii put it — was a game-changer. FACT. Every player on Tour adopted it when it became available to them. It’s also fact that Woods had this ball from May-December 2000 when other players did not. You want to convince the world, somehow, that Woods having this ball advantage didn’t help him. You want to continue to believe that Woods was “dominant” when he effectively teed off from the ladies tees for three of the four “Tiger Slam” wins.

        There are probably people who insist Lance Armstrong didn’t need PEDs to win seven Tour de France victories, but I ain’t buying that either.

    • Kris says:

      You’re right. Having a longer, straighter ball might have put him in a better position a lot of times, but he still needed his short game. It probably made the difference between a solid margin of victory and a record breaking margin of victory. It was the difference between being great and being untouchable. It was the tip of the iceberg of unethical or illegal activities he participated in to maintain his untouchable, intimidating image. After his apology during the scandal, the Galea visits and the 4 questionable rulings in 2013, I am skeptical of the authenticity of everything he’s ever done.

    • HennyB says:

      Bingo!

  13. Sports-realist2 says:

    As far as 2005 ect, we NOW know that PEDS and STEROIDS played a rather large role in with Eldrick during that time period…. Along with AROID and Barry Bonds and marathon runners, and cyclists and football players and on and on……ENHANCING is what is all about, or has been for the last few decades….Woods used what is now being used by ALOT of students and athletes—-adderall…..This helps you focus…..Lanny had a few articles back how GOLFERS who took it, shot the best rounds of their lives ect…..It’s not a coincidence……People LOVE myths, for some reason, but hey, Mr Spock’s ears weren’t real……

    • WhatIf says:

      This is the thing to me. Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds, A-Rod, Maybe Tiger, and others……all these pro’s had pretty damn good careers going before they supposedly started using PED’s. Of course that taints their careers but I often wonder how that already solid career would have continued without assistance. In the Tiger example, he had already won something like 50 times and 10+ majors pre-2005. Obviously not as good as his totals now, but, better than most.

    • Kris says:

      Exactly. PEDs can’t make you good if you’re bad, but they can make you great if you’re good. They provide more wins in a shorter time frame, but they also shorten careers. Maybe Tiger would have had almost the same amount of wins, but his career wouldn’t have been as much of a spectacle because it would have stretched into his late 40s and not slowed abruptly in his early 30s.

  14. Pingback: Must See TV: Tainted Tiger Woods Win; He won using special distance ball no one else had! | Lanny H Golf

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