Watching the Valero Texas Open was like watching paint dry. Jim Nantz and company kept saying, they wanted some excitement, and when leader and eventual winner Adam Scott bogeyed the final hole, they were thrilled. “Oh we got some excitement now,” they exclaimed as now Fredrik Jacobson was only one back with two to play. Jacobson returned the favor of creating “excitement” by missing a makeable putt for birdie on 17, and missing the green on 18 with a shot of 128 yards and a wedge in his hand. Unbelievable! He did make his par to secure a solid second place for himself. What excitement!
So, this is what golf has been reduced to without the world’s number one anywhere in sight. Can anyone remember Tiger making a bogey on the final hole to win a tournament? I can’t. And, if Tiger (the Tiger of old that is) was one back with two to play, that he wouldn’t at least birdie one of the holes to reach a playoff, and likely birdie them both for a win?
That is the kind of competitive fire that we have become accustomed to and why he is so much fun to watch play the game. The rest of the field just doesn’t seem to bring the same passion to win, nor the courage and drive to do so. Maybe it comes from making millions of dollars without having to win.
To make my point, consider this: Vaughn Taylor is ranked 33 in earnings just over a million dollars. Don’t recall a win for him. Fredrik Jacobson jumped from 61st in earnings to 27nth, and also now has earned over a million dollars. And Sergio Garcia hasn’t done squat in his ten events, and has earned over $680,000, or an average of $68,000 per tournament.
Here is what I would like to see happen, but it won’t. When the television networks renegotiate their contracts in the coming year and the sponsors of these events seek to cut back on the size of purses, maybe they should consider only paying the top 20 places, not every single spot that simply makes the cut, then maybe we shall see some real competitiveness in these non Tiger tournaments.
As for Tiger, I think maybe this “gotta be contrite nice guy” act has got to go. He needs to come back angry. Angry at himself, angry at the press, angry at the golf gods and kick some ass. He has to find the animal within that has made him so great over the years. Yes, he has been exposed to be something he never wanted us to know and for now that appears to be his kryptonite.