Nick Kayal hosts an evening show on 97.5 The Fanatic. This is the second of his weekly columns for philly.com.
Tiger Woods is done. Forget about winning another major. He might not win another PGA Tour event. And even if he does, it's really inconsequential for the man who has made it well known that only majors matter.
I have been saying for more than a year that golf's greatest modern-era player is finished. My thoughts on Woods have been met by staunch defenders, who believe the "Michael Jordan" of the sport will rise again. They believe he will don the green jacket at Augusta for a fifth time. They hope he can hoist the U.S. Open Trophy once more. They pray that he will cross the pond and secure another Claret Jug. They badly want to see him cap his summer with one more PGA Championship.
They won't see any of that happen. Tiger has lost his roar.
Two weeks ago in the desert, Tiger Woods had a career-worst round of 82 and missed the cut by 12 shots. He followed that up with another sub-par performance, resulting in yet another WD. As I was watching the past week's coverage of the Farmers Insurance Open, at the gorgeous Torrey Pines, I saw a defeated man who didn't have that look, or swag, or that presence to him.
Listening to Nick Faldo really solidified my beliefs that it's over. Faldo said golf is physical, mental and technical. Woods is clearly missing all three components. The injuries continue to be a nuisance to him. His short game is as bad as that of any local muni hack who throws away $60 to play a four-hour round on a Saturday morning. His mental state, which rivaled Michael Jordan's, has all but vanished.
After his early exit last Friday, because of another injury, Tiger spoke to reporters surrounding him in front of his Porsche. Woods said, "I couldn't get the glutes activated." I don't think I've ever heard a professional athlete say he couldn't get activated. Stunning.
Now, before all the defenders rush to the bottom of this column and begin commenting on how I am a "hater," let me say that I am well aware of his 2013 season and what he won. But I ask you this: Doesn't that seem like two decades ago and not two years ago?
Tiger Woods became humbled after his marital scandal. He has become humanized over the last couple of years, smiling more and actually showing that he has some non-robotic gestures.
However, the Woods we are watching now looks like a golfer beyond repair. Enough with the excuses, injuries, swing-coach changes, adjusting the equipment, etc. Woods has dropped out of the World's top 60 for the first time since 1996. Woods is merely just another golfer on the tour. Patrick Reed's "Sunday Red" look is more formidable than Tiger's is at this point. Heck, Woods can't even make a Sunday, much less don the red and black outfit that put the fear of God into rival players for the final round of a tournament. You knew it was his for the taking.
I understand what he means for the game and what he meant in the past. I totally appreciate that he has brought another ethnicity to a sport predominantly played by white, upper-middle class, country-club folks.
I know what he does for ratings. He is a revenue-generating machine. He brings in the fringe viewer when he's got the lead, making the turn on a Sunday. Personally, I'm locked in regardless of whether Woods is playing, but I know I'm the rare exception.
There are two numbers that matter to Woods: Jack Nicklaus' 18 majors and Sam Snead's 82 career wins. Woods has been stuck on 14 majors since the 2008 U.S. Open. Think about that: closing in on seven years without a major and he cannot even execute a simple chip or a bump and run. Woods also has 79 career wins.
Can he eclipse 82? I wouldn't bet on it. And I certainly wouldn't wager on another major. Woods is on the much-clichéd Mount Rushmore of golf, but he will not finish as the game's greatest player, statistically. His body won't allow him. His mind won't allow him. And he can't get activated.