I miss Tiger Woods. I miss dominant, inspiring, scary, invincible, healthy Tiger Woods.
On Sunday, August 3, 2014, Tiger Woods had to withdraw from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational because of back pain. This is not the first tournament that Woods has had to withdraw from this year. Instead, Woods withdrew from the Honda Classic on March 2, 2014 when a spokesman cited “lower back spasms.” Later that month, Woods underwent a surgery to ease a pinched nerve in his back on March 31, 2014.
On Sunday, Tiger was visibly hurting and it was painful to watch. I don’t want to see him with any kind of sickness or injury. I don’t like to watch him working his way back into game shape. Instead, I like to watch Tiger Woods already in game shape. Winning. Dominantly.
After his recent withdrawal on Sunday, Tiger Woods stated his back injury, “happened on the second hole when I hit my second shot, I fell back into the bunker.” He further explained, “I just jarred it and it has been spasming ever since.”
Woods has been plagued with injuries for the past several years. He underwent major knee surgery after his 2008 U. S. Open Championship. Also, Woods has had persistent knee issues, an Achilles injury, and an elbow injury, to name a few. Because of his physical ailments, Woods has been forced to withdraw from eight tournaments with 5 of them being within the last 5 years.
Woods has been beleaguered with injuries and with each injury, Woods has become more and more human. He is no longer invincible and I don’t like it. He has become a mere mortal man just like you and me. And it is devastating.
The only reason I follow golf is because of Tiger Woods. Golf was always my father’s sport. It didn’t interest me. However, when I discovered Tiger’s existence in the late 1990’s, I was riveted.
This exotic, toothy, young man with a strong willed father and loving mother burst onto to the scene; he made grown men fear him. He made me fall in love with golf. I wanted to know everything about the game. What was this infamous Eagle? So, why are we rooting for a birdie? Okay, so Par is not terrible but it’s not wonderful either. Please God, not a bogey!!
I had to know more about this sport and the history. I studied Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and other golf greats. All because Tiger Woods had opened my eyes to this sports. I decided that I didn’t like Phil Mickelson, also known as Lefty. He wasn’t that exciting. He didn’t keep my attention like Tiger.
But no golfer has ever captured my attention or the attention of the nation quite like Tiger Woods. Not Phil Mickelson. Not Rory McIlroy. Not Bubba Watson. None of them.
Currently, I find myself looking to see if Tiger’s playing before I can dedicate myself to watching golf. He did this to me. Tiger made me fall in love with his dominant game. He made me run to the fairways.
I never cared about his personal life. It didn’t bother me that he went through an open and controversial divorce. I didn’t care.
I just wanted him to continue to play. I rooted for him play through the noise and chatter. I wanted him to keep his mind focused on the game.
But, now this problem of Woods dealing with physical pain is actually greater than any emotional or mental issues that could plague him. If Tiger’s body is not healthy, then he physically is unable to play to his potential.
And so, while I refuse to believe that he will never win another major championship; I know that if he doesn’t take time to get his body healthy, he will be physically unable to surpass Nicklaus’ record.
So, I am asking Woods to take time off. Take significant time off. Perhaps he can enroll in the Derrick Rose school of thought. (Mr.-They-can’t-force-me-to play-and-I won’t-play-until-I’m- physically-and-mentally-comfortable.)
Certainly, I miss Tiger Woods. I miss his swagger. I miss his dominance. I miss his fist pumps. I miss his Sunday red shirts. I didn’t know that the last time I watched Tiger win a major championship would be the last time I would see him win a major championship for several years. I would have appreciated it more. I would have savored it. Rather than greedily looking for the next one.
So get healthy, come back and take your rightful place among the Golf Gods. You are not a mere mortal. Yes, I’m in Tiger Woods withdrawal. But, I would miss Tiger even more if his health precluded him from playing, forced an early retirement and permanent withdrawal from the game he made relevant.
(Two sources for this story were AP and ESPN.com)
Alexis Sara Cobb may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (724) 561-8082 Follow her on Twitter: @alexissara