The professional golf season is beginning and the most famous golf tournament in the world took place this past weekend in Augusta, Ga.: The Masters.
The Masters is a four day, invite-only golf tournament played at one of the most difficult and beautiful golf courses on the planet, Augusta National. Every year, this event is covered heavily by most major sports networks and every single year it is Tiger Woods’ year to make a dramatic comeback to greatness.
At least that is what most sports media outlets focus on for the entire tournament weekend and days before the commencement of the tournament.
As an avid follower of professional golf, this trend has somewhat ruined The Masters tournament for me. Do not get me wrong, I watched every swing I could throughout the weekend, but my eyes rolled each time I saw Woods shooting a shot off the tee into the rough all the while the announcers reminded the audience you can never count him out for Sunday.
I remember while growing up I would watch The Masters with my father and Woods would dominate the field. It was a given Woods was going to be in the discussion to take home the coveted Green Jacket that comes with winning the tournament.
That was 13 years ago. Ever since his fourth Green Jacket, Woods has not been anywhere near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday. Yet here we are, another year of The Masters and another year for Woods at the forefront of media attention.
This has been the situation for over a decade. It is beginning to take its toll on this fan in particular.
There are so many great stories that stem from the tournament every single year. The occasional underdog making a run at the leaderboards into Sunday, outrageous shots from the bunker by seasoned veterans like Phil Mickelson, or even the returning champion hitting the golf ball into the water five different times like Sergio Garcia did this past weekend.
Tony Finau even dislocated his ankle celebrating a shot and physically put it back into place with his own hands. He then proceeded to finish in the top 10 at the end of the tournament. Patrick Reed, an American golfer who plays on the tour, just won his first major championship this weekend. Jordan Spieth was also in the running to win his second Green Jacket late into Sunday’s final round. Dustin Johnson, the world’s number one ranked golfer, had a tremendous tournament as well.
These are the stories that should be talked about during and after the tournament, yet, the first bit of golf talk on ESPN this morning was about Woods and how he is still going to make a comeback this year. It was not about how Woods made the cut and followed up by shooting four-over par after his first two rounds of the week. But that is what circulated throughout the tournament: Tiger, Tiger, Tiger.
I think it is important to note Woods is great for the game of golf. He may have had his share of outside issues that dirtied his name, but that should not define a player of his caliber. He has done more than enough to prove himself as an elite golfer. If he is involved, people are going to be watching. He draws a crowd.
I believe this is more than likely the reason most media outlets decide to dedicate so much of their focus on Woods. Woods simply makes the game exciting and that is not something anyone can take away from him.
There will always be the argument that Woods makes the game great for fans. That is not at all a question. His fist bumps, his late round antics and of course the famous red Nike polo he wears on Sunday’s. This column is not directed at Woods by any means. He is not the one who is in control of what goes on in the media.
He is just trying to play golf every weekend. He is one of my all-time favorite golfers and will be for the remainder of my life as a golf fan. Woods is arguably the best golfer to have ever walked the earth. He is won the Masters tournament four different times. He one of only a handful of players to ever accomplish this feat.
Woods is the most recognizable face in golf today and has made his run at history by now. With that being said, I feel Wood’s reign of terror throughout the golf world has come to an end and it is time for the media to come to the same conclusion.