Tiger Woods is toast. He’s done. Through. Finito. He just has to accept it before he completely tarnishes his golf legacy. His personal legacy is already irreparably damaged. The least he can do for himself is walk away from the game of golf before he wears out his welcome on the PGA Tour circuit.
Woods has become the sporting equivalent of a petty criminal who assures a judge time and time again that he’ll do no wrong upon his release, only to continue to get arrested for doing wrong. Woods assures the media time and time again that his back is as healthy as it’s been in years and that he’s ready to resume competing at a high level. However, his back never holds up, and it likely never will.
Tiger took practically all of last season off, recuperating and gearing up for a big 2017 season. The 41-year-old Woods was certain that his back woes were finished and that he could compete for majors again this year. But that has already proven to be wholly incorrect.
Woods has competed in only two tournaments thus far in 2017. He played horribly and missed the cut in the first one, and he was forced to withdraw due to back spasms in the second one. Now, he’s taking time away from tournaments to allow his back to heal. Instead, he needs to be retiring before his back problems get even worse.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) February 10, 2017
Ironically, around the time that Woods’s personal life imploded, he began to deal with injuries. From his back to his knees to his hips, Tiger has been through it all. With a somewhat unorthodox swing that helped him become the best in the world, Woods has paid the price for his greatness later on his career. But that’s sports. When athletes become long in the tooth, their bodies can no longer handle the physical toll required of making them great.
And, even though golf is the only major sport in which players aren’t heavily impacted by age, Woods is still rather old to expect to compete for majors on a regular basis. Even if he is the great Tiger Woods. It’s probable that Tiger refuses to quit simply because he feels like the personal fallout that he endured in late 2009-early 2010 stunted his golf career, and he’s trying to make up for lost time as a result.
Of course, another likely incentive is Tiger’s futile attempt at catching Jack Nicklaus in all-time major wins. With 14, as compared to Jack’s 18, Tiger has practically no shot of catching Nicklaus. In fact, he has practically no shot of winning another major, period.
Woods’ PGA Tour swan song should have been in 2013, when he miraculously returned to top form after three sub-par seasons to win several tournaments, including the Players Championship, reclaim his #1 ranking that he had held for so long and win multiple top golfer awards at season’s end. Thereafter, injuries began to take their toll, and Woods has not come at all close to playing like the Tiger of old since.
Every great athlete must walk away at some point. Yes, even in golf. And now is the time for Tiger to walk away. Clearly, he doesn’t need the money, so, for Tiger, it isn’t worth continuing to play at a mediocre level for several more years, only to have his golf reputation get denigrated more and more in the press with each passing tournament that he walks away winless from. Yes, even the greats have to walk away at some point. Tiger Woods just has to accept that and move on with his life.