Golf Tries to Assess Impact of Tiger’s Absence

When Tiger Woods first burst on to the scene, now more than a decade ago, he appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show with his father, Earl.

The famous host asked Earl, in his son’s presence, if Tiger was bigger than the game. His answer was an emphatic “absolutely not!”

Indeed, we would all like to think that no athlete is ever bigger than his sport. It is the sport that makes an athlete, not the other way around.

Still, let’s give ourselves a test, to see how we really feel in our hearts. It is one thing saying “no-one’s bigger than the game” and another to actually believe it.

With Woods out of for the rest of the season because of the knee injury he aggravated en route to winning the US Open, plus other injuries, it means he will miss the year’s last two majors, the British Open at Royal Birkdale and the US PGA Championship.

The test is simple. You have to answer just one question, which is: Do you feel the last majors of the season have lessened in value because of Tiger’s absence?

There’s no need to shout out your answer, but consider what your honest feelings are. If you feel no, then you are true to the “no one’s bigger than the game” mantra. However, if you feel even a tinge of yes, well … surely not.

There has been much discussion in the media and web forums about the impact of Woods absence for the rest of the season. Most agree that golf is the loser.

Many sports fans tune into tournaments specifically to see Woods. If he doesn’t play, they don’t watch. When Tiger won his first major, the 1997 Masters, he was talked about as a messiah for the game.

It never happened. The number of golfers in the world didn’t suddenly boom because of him, according to some media reports.

The predictions were that more golfers of Tiger-esque strength and skills would follow him on to the courses. But the reality is that there is really no one who can touch him.

The person who has benefited most from the Tiger Woods phenomenon is Tiger Woods himself.

The PGA Tour, where he plays most of his golf, only really does well in the ratings when Woods is playing, which he does selectively and, for the rest of 2008, not at all.

We now have to wait until April next year, a whole 10 months, before we might see him attempt to add to the 14 majors he has already won.

Whoever wins this year’s Open will have a tough time. Every journalist will be itching to ask the question: “Is your victory devalued by Tiger’s absence?”

In the meantime, we have Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and a host of others who will vie for honours and try to carry interest in the game.

7 Responses to “Golf Tries to Assess Impact of Tiger’s Absence”

  1. cathy says:

    iT’s been good while it lasts. But I will definitely still watch golf even if Tiger is not around.

    Happy golfing folks.

  2. Kenneth says:

    I feel very much gutted by the fact that he won’t be playing for the rest of the year. I wonder if I’ll be watching golf for the rest of this year?

  3. Roger Garrett says:

    My personal thought is that the remaining Majors will be MORE interesting and competitive without the Tiger, but I will nevertheless be pleased to see him back again.

  4. Ira says:

    Tiger is a phenomenon, I definitely watch golf to watch him.

  5. Ira says:

    Very interesting updates, enjoy them. Many thanks.

  6. NeddySeagoon says:

    Do you feel the last majors of the season have lessened in value because of Tiger’s absence?
    Of course they are, what a dumb question! Would wimbledon be devalued by the absence of Federer? Would F1 be devalued by the absence of ferrari?
    Any sporting competition is the poorer for the absence of it’s best protagonist.

    Will golf wither and die because Tiger isn’t playing? Not blinking likely!

    The Open (not the British Open, just The Open) will be won by the best player, beating the the worlds finest, over four days. Ten years from now, no one will remember or care whether Tiger played or not.

  7. Brian J Dickenson says:

    I agree that Woods is a giant in the game, however, I doubt that golf will lose it’s interest if he doesn’t play.
    The list is endless regarding the greats of their day, everyone knows the name Bobby Jones, even none golfers.
    If Woods were never to play again the game would go on.
    Golf is here to stay.

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