It would appear that the Tiger Woods era, for all intents and purposes, is over. — Rich Lerner, Golf Channel
When I heard these words out of Rich Lerner’s mouth during Golf Channel’s PGA Championship coverage on Saturday night I almost dropped my dentures into my Sam Adams Octoberfest. OK, I don’t wear dentures, and I wasn’t drinking an Octoberfest at the time, but for the ultimate Tiger Woods suck-up at Golf Channel to admit was has been clearly apparent to the majority of professional golf watchers for the past year is nevertheless amazing. Woods had missed his third straight cut at a major, and most of the golf community had long shifted their attention to the much more entertaining and interesting games of twenty-somethings like Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, and the ultimate winner of the PGA Championship, Jason Day.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s going on with Tiger’s game. He doesn’t play enough, his swing changes don’t hold up over the stresses and strains of a professional golf tournament, he doesn’t putt consistently enough, and, frankly, he’s no longer as good as all the young whippersnappers that fearlessly bludgeon golf courses with their games and length. It’s all part mechanics, part physical training, part equipment. Taken together, Tiger Woods is an old-before-his-time and beaten down, middle of the pack golfer. Will he win a tour even again? Probably. Will he win another major again? Possibly. But as far as being a force in his profession you would have to say the odds are quite stacked against him.
The question is whether Tiger wants to devote the necessary time, effort, and travel to do what it takes to challenge the best golfers in the world. He’s not going to make the FedEx Cup playoffs, so perhaps he might want to start at the first tournaments in the wraparound 2015-2016 season. It would mean basically starting from scratch and teeing it up against players and in places I’m guessing he never thought possible. But that’s the state of his game right now. Or he could just wait until early 2016 and prepare for the run up to Augusta. I guess we’ll see.
In the meantime, a big congrats to Jason Day for winning his first major. Sure it would have been great to see Jordan Spieth pull out a third of four majors, but how could you not root against Day? He seems like a great guy, he’s been knocking on the door of greatness for so long, and it just seems like the PGA was meant to be his tournament.
Congrats also to Spieth, who take over the world’s #1 ranking from Rory McIlroy. I don’t know about you, but I could watch Spieth hit golf balls all day long. I love his swing and enjoy hearing him talk to his ball in flight. Most of the time it listens.
There’s a lot of snow to fly between now and April 7 when they tee it up for the first round of the Masters. If the majors in 2016 bring anywhere near the kind of quality golf we have seen in 2015 it will be a great year.