Did Tiger Woods ‘Jump The Shark’ This Weekend?

The answer, of course, is no. He didn’t.

Sure, Tiger Woods was both putrid and petulant this weekend – putrid in swinging the club, petulant in kicking it – and was a non-factor from late Friday on. But all it will take is for the next Major to roll around for Woods to dominate the golf discourse again.

Should he win said Major, or any one thereafter, his pursuit of Jack’s record once again becomes the #1 story line in golf (if it isn’t still already).

Still, I think the fact that I pondered this question on the way into work this morning is telling. Though it may be hard to articulate, I do think that Woods lost something more than just a tournament this weekend.

tiger-woods-masters

Yes, he lost another opportunity at a green jacket and another of his finite amount of chances to one Major win closer to Jack. But it’s something else.

For the first time in I don’t know how long, maybe ever, I didn’t need Tiger Woods to be enthralled by a golf tournament.

I’ve always been more of a Tiger fan than a golf fan. I realize I am far from representative of all golf fans, but there is certainly a subsection of the sports’ casual fan base that I represent. Considering how much Tiger swings TV ratings, it may even be a rather sizable chunk of the overall golf fan base.

I was excited about this year’s Masters because Tiger’s win at Bay Hill, combined with his ability to compete at Augusta even when he was playing poorly elsewhere, seemed to portend a great four-day run for Woods. It never materialized. As I tracked the scores on Friday, I felt my interest in the tournament slipping.

But then Saturday happened, and much to my surprise I became locked into a golf tournament in which Woods was irrelevant save for club-kicking tantrums and excoriations of his disobedient ball and swing.

Phil made a his patented run. Louis Oostheizen impressed me with his calm, cool, collectedness. And as I learned more about the background of Bubba Watson, and listened to him talk after his Saturday round, I became interested in seeing if the floppy-haired guy dressed in white could swing his pink driver to Augusta glory.

What really piqued my interest in Watson was his candor after Saturday. Asked about how he would handle the pressure of being in contention on Sunday at The Masters, Watson basically said, to paraphrase, that he was going to be nervous as hell as wasn’t sure if he could control it. Who says that? Without being disingenuously “humble” anyway? Something about the honesty of Watson’s admission, combined with his free-wheeling, swashbuckling golf mentality, drew me to him as a fan.

And then he won, after an absolutely thrilling Sunday that featured epic fails, epic successes, and one of the great clutch moments in recent sports history: Watson’s remarkable second shot from the pine needles on the final playoff hole.

It was a great. What a tournament, what a weekend, what a champion.

And what a surprise, at least to me, that it did not at all feel like something was missing without Tiger there getting his green jacket or being a factor on Sunday. I did not expect that to be the case. I’ve never really cared about Sunday at a Major if it didn’t involve Tiger. Yesterday I did, and I kind of liked it. (I even went out to the driving range and hit a bucket of balls on Sunday morning for the first time in ages, inspired by that rousing Saturday I guess?)

Will my interest in golf maintain if Tiger slides further along slow but slippery slope of irrelevancy he inched a little bit down this weekend? I don’t know. I suspect not actually, though this weekend has made me question that.

I’m sure I’ll find myself once again rooting for him when the next Major rolls around, though I’ll really just be rooting for my own selfish enjoyment of sports history than him. Seeing someone attack one of the hallowed records in sports is a rare, immensely enjoyable sports fan experience. I want to see it. Tiger is the only person who can give it to me, so everything else be damned.

The reality is that Tiger continues to make it easier and easier to root against him with his childish on-course displays. Plus, his constant talk about his swing, and reps, and blah blah blah…he’s taken the fun out of watching him because he no longer looks like he’s having any fun at all. Watching Tiger Woods play golf now feels like watching someone at a job they hate. That’s my impression anyway. And it’s made me do the unthinkable, at least for a lifetime Tiger Woods fan: I’ve started to appreciate things like the omnipresent wry smile of Phil Mickelson.

Still, no, Tiger Woods didn’t jump the shark this weekend. Considering everything that has happened over the last 3+ years, and the relevancy he maintains because of his legendary career, I’m not sure he ever really can.

But I did care a lot less this weekend that Tiger wasn’t a factor on Sunday, and I genuinely enjoyed the final two days of the Masters anyway. For a casual golf fan like me, I feel like that means something.

Maybe it just means that all the Tiger talk and hype is what has jumped the shark. What else can be said? He’s back. He’s done. He’s back. He’s done. It’s all been said, washed, rinsed, and repeated.

Just go win a Major Tiger. Until then, other people will. And if this weekend is any indication, for me anyway, that is just fine.

*****

I’m curious as to your thought, so please use the comment section below.

This post is highly subjective based on how I personally experienced this weekend’s Masters. How did you experience it? Did Tiger’s irrelevance make you lose interest? Did you not care in the first place?

I a have feeling opinions on this will be all across the board, and I’m really curious to read them.



About Jerod Morris

I love words. I write for Copyblogger and founded MSF, The Assembly Call, & Primility. I practice yoga, eat well, & strive for balance. I love life. Namaste. Say hi on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.

Comments

  1. carringtonh7974 says:

    Nothing Woods will ever accomplish again will have any meaning for me.  He proved that the content of his character was so low as to endanger the health of his wife by sleeping around so much and he disrespected her to unheard of proportions.  The game of golf doesn’t come close to the game of life and in the later, he is a huge loser.

  2. Tucson2u says:

    I am surprised the big baby did not pull out of the masters and start lipping saying hig hurt. What a baby! Go away tiger i love seeing the young kids play golf not the a hloe rude tiger.

  3.  tiger who!!!!!!

  4. I pretty much share your perspective on all counts. I’ve been a golf aficionado (only) since happening on the (British) Open Championship in 2008. For me,Tiger became the X-factor in any given tournament, the supplier of excitement whether he won or not. But with the coming of a lot of interesting new players, this tournament and other recent tournaments have had excitement in plenty without Tiger. 

    I would still be in Tiger’s corner were it not for this latest episode of bad manners at the Masters. That pretty well ended the enchantment (finally), and I’d guess that other people feel the same. To be fair, Tiger has been subjected to more attention and expectation from the public and the media than any mortal should be expected to bear. And the golf industry, whose profits rose substantially on the back of his charisma, so indulged and fawned on him that it is no wonder that he has more than once flouted the norms of behavior on the course.

    I bet that that sales of the Haney book about Tiger are considerably lower than expected.

    On another subject, I feel that the no-female rule of Augusta is surreal in this day and age and that the members of that club are no gentlemen. 

  5. John Lyth says:

    Golf is the ultimate every man’s game.  It’s an accessible game.  It is the one professional sport that guys
    like us can play that allows us to think that we could compete at the highest
    level.  Hell, I had a couple of friends
    over the years quite jobs in their 30s in order to go to qualifying school.  Imagine that – in their 30s they got to
    thinking about being a professional athlete. 
    They did it because on a Sunday morning we can came up with lots of
    shots just like the big boys can – maybe not as long but just as precise.

     

    We loved the champions throughout the years – the imperfect
    athletes – the guys like us.  Jack, Lee,
    Tom, – hell, even Orville and Billy and, of course, my favorite, Raymond.

     

    Then along came Tiger, and he changed that.  He became the truly elite golfer/athlete that the game
    never had.  He became this guy that the
    rest of us knew we could never be.  Not
    because of his shots – but because of who he was.  Robotic, programmed, perfect.  In a curious way, he distanced us from the
    game.  Though we admired what he did, and
    we dreamed about his fairy tale life, we did it from a distance.  And over those fifteen years, there was
    virtually nothing else to believe it – no one to connect to except maybe Phil.  Yes, Phil, he kept us in the game because he
    was one of us.  It was Phil who kept the
    game alive.  We didn’t tune in to watch
    Tiger, we tuned to hope that someone on the tour would re-connect us to the game.

     

    And then along came the collapse.  Among the hookers and the deceit and the blame
    he was passing around for his lack of a precise swing, we discovered that we
    really didn’t want to be like him after all.  We wanted our game – we wanted our slight paunches.
     We wanted to hit it out of the rough.  We wanted professional golfers to be more like
    us.

     

    This year’s Masters gave us that back.  They gave us Bubba, and they gave us Phil.  Bubba never took a lesson, doesn’t have a
    swing coach and wonders out loud about his confidence and composure.  Hell, that’s me!  Phil deals with his arthritis and the cancer challenges
    of his wife and mother.  Hell, that’s me!

     

    Personally, I am glad to have the professional golf I used
    to love back again.  Crispy Cremes are on
    me.
     

Speak Your Mind