When I was the Managing Editor for an on-line publication, I wrote an article predicting that Tiger Woods would never win another major tournament.
Sunday, Tiger withdrew before completing the final round of the Honda Classic in Florida. He claimed he had a back problem. I'm not sure that was the truth. He was obviously disgusted with his miserable play.
I have always been a fan of Tiger Woods. I did not and could not defend him when his troubles began in 2009, he didn't deserve it. Since his return, which was basically last year, his play was better, but his mental focus appeared to be lacking.
Tiger's first two rounds on Thursday and Friday were basically amateurish. He played well on Saturday, finally making some putts. He ended the day five under par and in the hunt. Sunday on the first nine holes he shot five over par.
I ceased playing golf when I was nineteen, 48 years ago. I enjoyed the game, but simply did not have the time to play frequently. I have always been a fan, and admire many of the true athletes who play the game today.
I watch Tiger whenever I can. He has lost two parts of his game; he can no longer drive the ball, consistently finding the fairway, and his putting is merely average. These are the two parts of the game that win tournaments.
The Masters is coming; the first major of the year. I sincerely doubt that Tiger will finish in the top ten. He no longer has the mental ability to dominate the game.
When he was the favorite in virtually every tournament, he intimidated the other players. He no longer hits the longest drives. He no longer holes 15- to 20-foot putts with ease. His drives are now frequently erratic, and he misses three- and four-foot putts.
Some people blame his age. He is one of the youngest 38-year-old athletes I have ever seen. He has lost his mental edge.
Tiger has the second-highest tournament win total in history next to the great Sam Snead. His goal is wins in the majors. Jack Nicklaus has 18 and Tiger 14. I do not believe the 'Golden Bear' has to worry. And if the truth were told, Tiger doesn't deserve to surpass Jack. Jack and his wife have been the class of the golf world. He was when he played, and has been after he retired with his incredible charity work, and support for the growth of the game.
I still love to watch Tiger, but I must admit I enjoy Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy even more. Dustin Johnson and the super-young Jordan Spieth also have my attention.
Isn't that the nature of sport? As old heroes fade, new ones replace them, and create a new interest for the fans.
I wish Tiger well, but I am no longer a believer.