Since Kilroy’s was shut down for renovations during the summer, and the Cubs again were out of contention practically by the Masters, there was ample time to watch the most scrutinized and controversial return to golf — and maybe all of sports — in history.
Although the mess that was “The Decision” is definitely a close second, I’m talking about the return of the once great Tiger Woods.
To PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem’s disappointment, here’s what we witnessed since the Villas vacated: disappointing first, second and fourth rounds in the U.S. Open and a blown opportunity to reclaim his aura at St. Andrews, the home of golf.
This is arguably the worst performance of Woods’ amateur and professional life in an absolute massacre at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational — a tournament he has had no trouble winning seven times since 1999. And to cap it off, there was an inspiring first day in the 92nd PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, followed by three more rounds of the same 2010 Woods.
So, I’ll basically pick up right where I left off last April on the Woods subject.
Eldrick Woods — the “Tiger” label is about as relevant right now as the pager — continues to have exclusive control of how good and bad this situation can become. We’ve seen it get ugly on numerous occasions, and each time it gets even worse.
We thought it was bad at the February press conference. And for a few days, we thought the storm might pass with Woods’ inconceivable performance under his circumstances at Augusta National. How wrong we were, not only about how nasty his game would get, but also about how badly Tiger would handle the opportunities at hand.
The number of interviews Tiger has had since his return to the Masters presented copious opportunities for him to allow a single — just one — inclusive Q&A rather than no-holds-barred grudge matches with Golf Digest, the Golf Channel, ESPN and every other sports and golf media outlet on the planet. I’m talking anything and everything, from why he stooped to the immorality he did, to when it began and to whether or not his agent, Mark Steinberg, knew of the situation.
Would this violate every Woods media trend he’s had since he began to feel he was “entitled” as he referred to it in February?
But it would get the monkey off his back, simple as that. It would allow him to move on, settle in, hire Sean Foley as his new swing coach and ultimately lay this horrific, winless 2010 season and personal year to rest.
To Woods’ credit, there is no doubt he has taken steps toward living up to his vow to the golf gods to become more moral. Rarely do we see the childish tantrums for which the late Earl Woods would have chastised him, nor do we see the club-throwing. Sure, there may have been a slip-up here and there, but isn’t the first step admitting you have a problem?
While all the on-camera, good-guy Tiger is pretty good, his golf game lacks and his stubbornness to the media’s questions is still there. If there was a law saying the media has the right to know and inquire about what happened during the cheating saga, we would already know. This is one Woods has to take for his sanity and his golf game if he still desires to have a shot at breaking Jack Nicklaus’ 18 major wins.
It’s the last resort — it’s always been the only resort. Right now, about the only thing Tiger has going for him, aside from a possible Ryder Cup captain’s choice spot, is that Jim Gray didn’t conduct one of his interviews and make up some insane quote.
He’s got the right club in his bag, it’s just a matter of how long he continues to choose the wrong one.