No question Tiger is the Tour

Love him or hate him, golf needs Tiger Woods.
The sport missed him dearly over the eight months he spent recovering from ACL surgery on his left knee. TV ratings fell, fans lost interest, and purse strings
Simply put, Tiger is the one man capable of being a stimulus package for golf.
In the eight tournaments he’s played since returning to the PGA Tour, Woods has had seven top-10 finishes and grossed $3,480,163 in earnings.
He rallied from five shots behind to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a birdie putt on the final hole one month into his return. Vintage Tiger.
After tying for a solid sixth at the Masters, Woods was within one shot of the lead going to the back nine at the Quail Hollow Championship—only to close with nothing but pars and finish fourth.
He was in the final group at The Players Championship, five shots behind Alex Cejka, but wound up in eighth place.
Sure, he won the Memorial Tournament leading into last weekend’s U.S. Open, but then tied for sixth in the season’s second major with an even-par 280.
For any other player, that eight-tournament stretch would be one heck of a hot streak. But for Woods, it’s a borderline slump.
Where’s the Tiger that makes every putt that counts—the Tiger who brings the gallery to such an uproar that it strikes fear in the rest of the field?
He won last year’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines with loose bones in his left leg (for the record, I wrote in this space a year ago that he was embellishing the injury to add to the theatre. Oops!)
He has never lost a PGA Tour event when leading by more than one shot going into the final round. His 66 victories on the Tour speak for themselves.
But where was that Tiger this past weekend when newbie leaders Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover fell back and nearly melted (combining for a score of plus-nine) during the final round of the U.S. Open at Bethpage State Park? A pedestrian one-under 69 from Woods when the door was wide open isn’t the stuff we’ve come to expect.
The Tiger we used to know would have grasped that opportunity and mauled the rest of the field with fist pumps and overexuberant (and sometimes awkward) high-fives with his caddie, Steve Williams.
Maybe he doesn’t have the one-track mind he once had now that he has a wife (Elin), and two kids (Sam Alexis and Charlie Axel)?
Is it possible that Woods is actually human?
It’s hard to tell, because we simply don’t see that side of him. Tiger does not own a Facebook account (it’s not actually him, sorry guys) or compete on “I’m a celebrity . . . get me out of here!”
He doesn’t model shirtless for Maxim and often shies away from the media—even going so far as to name his yacht “Privacy.”
Sure, Tiger is everywhere in TV commercials and magazine advertisements, but he’s only seen on the golf course in his trademark Nike attire. We don’t see him with his wife or two kids doing family things.
Oddly, people seem desperate to see him show his human side, but I’m certainly not in that camp. Because we get so little distractions from him, we can focus purely on his golf game.
Terrell Owens, on the contrary, gives us too much. A near emotional breakdown? Check. A workout session in his front yard for TV cameras? Check. A teary press conference to praise his former quarterback (Tony Romo)? Check.
I don’t need or desire the side show.
I like to think there is no human side to Woods; that he never drinks a beer or misses a workout. Maybe it helps that his late father, Earl, used to cut him no slack in life or on the links. Earl used to throw garbage cans during his backswing and yell when he was putting.
Tiger has a thick skin and is all business on the course, that much is obvious.
Tiger cried once after winning the British Open in 2006 as a tribute to his dad, who died earlier that year. But that one display of emotion is all we’ve gotten.
Tiger plays golf solely to eclipse Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors—a mark he is four away from and closing—and that’s the only reason. He’s made enough money on the Tour and in endorsement deals to last his kids’ lifetimes.
That’s not his motivation.
Tiger plays to be the best, and that’s the only reason we should watch him.
We aren’t going to get anything else.

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