So long to Tiger, the dominant
Tiger Woods is done being Tiger Woods.
Eldrick Woods will never be the player he once was. Perhaps, this would have come with or without is infamous fall from grace. But the truth lies in the fact that Woods no longer is the singularly most talented golfer in the world.
As to who is, there is no definitive answer. Some say the prodigy Rory Mcilroy. Others might be inclined to say the forever inventive, always risky Phil Mickelson. There are no fewer than eight players in the world who you can reasonably make that claim for.
Which is precisely the point. Gone are the days when someone had to play at an almost superhuman level to beat Tiger Woods. Think Bob May, who lost honorably at the 2000 PGA Championship, but not before sinking one of the more indelible pressure putts of the last 20 years. May also shot 31 on the back nine.
Tiger Woods is the most famous face, but not the best face in the golf crowd these days.
After his rounds of 69 and 70, most were sucked in by the idea of Tiger Woods being back. The thought that once the old Tiger Woods got a lead, victory was usually a formality. But Saturday's scuffling, frustrating, but presently predictable round of 75 was nothing more than the harshest reality: the days of Tiger Woods being the most dominant golfer in the world are over; forever.
People in the media made inferences to his friendly relationship with Jim Furyk being the reason for his poor play.
That is ridiculous.
The truth is, Woods no longer has a game that puts him head and shoulders above the field. His 2012 wins came at courses that he knows like the back of his hand. Locations that favor accuracy over distance have always given him trouble. Check his major wins resume: there are no wins at tighter courses like Oakmont, Winged Foot, or Pinehurst.
Instead, Woods had the advantage of being among the longer drivers of the ball in golf. Players who could match him in that area (think John Daly) did not have the accuracy or the consistency in the other facets of their game to consistently challenge Woods.
This is not to say the Tiger Woods from 2000-2008 was not amazing. For my money, he was the greatest player who ever lived.
However, that is precisely the point. The days of Tiger Woods winning as expected are no more. I believe he has one or two majors left in his career. But 19 and Jack's record are probably not going to happen. Which speaks more to Jack's enduring legacy more than anything Tiger Woods did not do.
But in the present day, the expectations of Tiger Woods being a perpetual dominant golfer are over. He is merely another contender.