Tiger Woods Out for Rest of the Season—Who Will Take Over?

Simon LongdenCorrespondent IJune 19, 2008

After a fabulous finish at the U.S. Open where he picked up his 14th major championship title and moved to 500 weeks as world No. 1, the Tiger will have to be extinct for the rest of the season.

A few wayward shots and some grimacing made many believe he was just playing up after hitting a poor shot. He would often shank longer drives off to the right, and then hobble away. Lo and behold, he seemed okay when he hit a good one. However, it seems that those who doubted him should never have questioned the man's integrity as a professional sports man.

It's been revealed that he as been playing with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and two stress fractures where his shin joins the bottom of his knee. How many sports people get these injuries? It's almost common place that someone who has been a professional for more than a few years has had reconstructive surgery, and now Tiger is joining that list.

For years, pundits have been saying that he has been an injury waiting to happen, due to how much force and stress he puts on his body (his spine especially) as he swings. He extends and arches and whips through like no one else, and for this reason, maybe it's about time something slowed him down.

But hey, it might be good to see who can take advantage of the fact that the big pike has gone for a while, and all the little fish can come out and play.

That's not to suggest that he hasn't had fierce competition. Just look at his rivalry with Vijay when he knocked Tiger off the top spot for a fair while, and at the U.S. Open when Mediate took him right down to the wire.

What will be very interesting to see is who will now get a Ryder Cup place? Steve Stricker has been doing well recently, and has a higher point average than Jim Furyk according to the official world rankings. Unfortunately, team USA hasn't been able to defeat the masters of Europe, when perhaps they should on paper.

The lead up to the Ryder Cup will now be a race for everyone who just missed out on USA selection to earn those much warranted points, and take it to the continentals.

Unfortunately, I don't see a USA win on the horizon.

With your superstar gone, there is bound to be a little bit of doubt creeping into their minds. Tiger has that gift that all great sports people have. No matter what form he is in on big occasions and when it is needed most, he can and often does perform. Does the USA have another player who can do that for them? I'm not so sure.

You may or may not have picked up on the fact that I am actually a big fan of Tiger. You have to admire someone who works that hard and succeeds.

He loves the game of golf and it will miss him as much as he misses it. However, now is the time for everyone else to step up, because when he comes back, he will be more determined than ever, and when he is in that mood, watch out.