February 23, 2011
Follow Shane Bacon on Twitter at @shanebacon.
We're all ridiculous, you know that, right? All us "golf" fans who attempt to talk about everything else going on in the golf world, and care about this player or that player, when we're all secretly waiting for Tiger Woods to become great again. It isn't happening. That's obvious right now.
But he's still the focus. He heads to each event as the headline story. "Is this the week he breaks through?" "Word on the street is his golf game is rounding into shape." "He's close!"
He isn't, and he needs to stop flooding our RSS feeds. On Wednesday at the Accenture Match Play, a ton of cool things happened. J.B. Holmes, an alternate who flew in late after Tim Clark withdrew from the event, beat Camilo Villegas to advance. A 17-year-old Italian beat Steve Stricker, the eighth-ranked golfer in the world.
There were bigger names in the current golf world that lost, too, but we immediately forgot them. Ian Poulter won this event a year ago and got bounced, but who cares after Tiger lost, right? Phil Mickelson played as solid as we've seen him in months, but that doesn't matter. Bubba Watson won. Mark Wilson overcame a big deficit against the big-hitting Dustin Johnson to continue his momentum. The No. 1-ranked golfer in the world beat a former winner of this event.
But all those stories are useless when Tiger fails.
Here is a challenge I'll extend to every golf writer, fan, coach, broadcaster and wife out there: No more Tiger talk until he gives us a reason to talk. No more chatting about a guy that hasn't won since September 2009.
No knock to Thomas Bjorn who took down Tiger in 19 holes on Wednesday, but the guy has never advanced past the second round in this event. He has finished in the top 10 just twice in his life in World Golf Championship events. He's a guy that got left off the 2006 Ryder Cup team that steamrolled the United States. We aren't really talking about Ben Hogan here, it's Thomas Bjorn, and he SHOULD have beat Tiger on Wednesday. This wasn't some fluke.
This isn't the same guy anymore. We rooted for a Tiger Woods who was clutch, and this Tiger Woods isn't, and that isn't a huge deal. It's the fact that we continue to kid ourselves into thinking he's going to be clutch that's the problem. The old Tiger, the guy back in 2000 and 2005 and 2009, didn't make birdie on the 18th hole of a match to extend it, only to hit his next tee shot so far off the fairway that it lodged in a bush.
There are swing problems with Tiger, but we still act like he will find some mysterious gear that has long fallen off the truck. There are way too many good golfers out there with cool stories and fun games who produce, and I wish we'd all focus on them. That clicking sound John Cook heard on the range the other day? It's the same clicking sound we hear when our uncles or brothers or cousins are hitting good shots on the range. That's the range. This is the golf course. I know a lot of great range players who can't break 80 when they step on the first tee.
Let's talk about Tiger when he does something good, and until then, forget about the guy for a while. There's too much else for us to focus on these days.