Golf: The Game We Just Can’t Quit
Updated: Dec 20, 2022
Interesting comments on Tiger Woods from Colin Montgomerie on the Bunkered.com podcast. The eight-time European Tour order of merit winner says Tiger should have walked away from the game after he’d missed the cut in this year’s Open Championship over the Old Course at St Andrews.
“That was the time,” Montgomerie said. “It would have been a glorious way to go. The stands were full, the world’s TV cameras—from all continents—were on him, he’s walking up there on his own, tears were in his eyes obviously. You can’t beat that walk.”
Tiger has about as much chance of walking away from the game as Montgomerie does. As any great champion golfer does.
Goodness me, what would golf websites do if Tiger suddenly stopped playing? Think of all those lost hits, all those clicks. Albeit they’d no doubt find a way to cover Woods regardless, such is the reliance many outlets place on Tiger content to generate traffic.
Prepare for endless Tiger top 10 moments once he does stop playing competitively. Seriously. I used to sit through endless discussions about ways to get Tiger on the website of a former magazine I worked for. I once remember sitting through a “how can we get more of Tiger on our website” session in a former life, bemused that those who ran the publication had such tunnel vision. They couldn’t get enough.
Neither can Tiger. Neither can Monty. What’s that old saying about old golfers never die?
Monty went further in the bunkered podcast when he claimed Woods was incapable of winning another PGA Tour event.
“The standard is improving all the time and there’s not one or two guys that can beat him now. There’s 22 guys that can beat him. I’d love it to happen because it’s great for the game. I would love him to win. But I just can’t see it happening.”
I’m not so sure. Given what Tiger has done in this game of gowf, not many would be surprised if he won not just another PGA Tour event, but, say, another Masters somewhere down the line. He’s Tiger Woods for goodness sake. Write him off at your peril. Many have done so before and been proved so, so wrong. I remember coach Hank Haney grabbing my shirt in the immediate aftermath of Woods winning the 2006 Open at Royal Liverpool to tell me to pass on a message to a now departed colleague that he could go “F---” himself. Said colleague had the temerity to write that Woods was done as a major winner.
It probably doesn’t really matter to the vast majority of Tiger fans whether he wins or not. Their adoration is complete. That much was obvious when Tiger garnered the most money from the PGA Tour’s ludicrous player impact program (PIP) this year despite playing just nine rounds of golf.
Look at the press coverage of last weekend’s The Match. Golf websites couldn’t get enough of the Tiger/Rory v Jordan/Justin made for TV exhibition. Imagine the hits they gained. Ditto for this week’s PNC Championship. Prepare for wall to wall Tiger coverage. Actually, prepare for extensive Charley coverage. Given the air time the young Woods received last year during the PNC, it’s surprising he didn’t finish second on the PIP instead of Rory.
But back to Woods walking away from the game. Why should he? Even if Monty is right that Woods won’t win again, his legion of fans couldn’t care less. Think back to the end of Arnold Palmer’s career. None of his army objected that Arnold had about as much chance of winning as Greg Norman and Jay Monahan becoming bosom buddies. All Arnie’s Army wanted to do was troop in behind him and display their admiration of the man who made golf popular long before a certain Eldrick Woods announced himself to the world.
I’m not a huge fan of watching former powerhouses like Palmer and Woods just making up the numbers, but I’m in the minority. If Woods wants to delay his farewell to the Open Championship until he’s in his dotage, then so be it. That walk across the Swilcan Bridge will still be symbolic whether he’s 46 or 66.
He's Tiger Woods. He can do whatever the hell he likes, and has, no matter what Colin Montgomerie says. Besides, how many of us have announced we were giving up this bloody frustrating game only to put ourselves through the same torture a few day later? I’ll put my hand up to that: I’ve quit this game more times than I care to remember.
Golf, it’s the game we just can’t quit.
#JustSaying: “He enjoys that perfect peace, that peace beyond all understanding, which comes at its maximum only to the man who has given up golf.” P.G. Wodehouse