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Associated Press
In this March 9 photo, Tiger Woods grimaces after teeing off on the 12th hole during the final round of the Cadillac Championship golf tournament.

The Masters is ruined

Well, that tears it. They might as well just cancel the Masters now, because who's gonna watch without That One Guy in it?

That One Guy, of course, is Tiger Woods, who'll miss the Masters because of back surgery, immediately throwing CBS into a tizzy (or so you'd imagine). Who will the teevees follow now, with Tiger out?

Expect more close-up shots than ever of the azaleas, interspersed with shots of the sun slanting through the Cathedral of Pines, interspersed with long, lingering takes of Magnolia Lane. Because, you know, with Tiger gone, who really cares about the actual golf?

This seems to be the attitude for all of those broadcasting the PGA these days, even if it's a storyline that's six years out of date. The man hasn't won a major in five years, he's torn up his knee and both Achilles tendons and had a stress fracture in one lower leg and an inflamed joint in his neck, and now he's got back issues, the supreme killer of golf careers.

In other words: He's a very old 38, and on the downslope of his career. And if he's still the best player in the world when he's right, he's hardly ever right anymore, and nobody's afraid of him the way they used to be.

To the young players coming up, he's the guy who made the game so lucrative these days, something for which they revere him. But on the course, he's just another guy they have to beat most weekends.

Yet the teevees cling to the narrative that he's the only golfer in existence -- or maybe one of two, if you count Phil Mickelson. And now there'll be a Masters without him. This could actually be good for the game, if you think about it. Maybe, just maybe, the teevees will discover there's a lot of good young sticks out there these days who deserve some attention, too -- and who are, unlike Tiger, the future of the game and not its past.

The teevees getting excited about someone besides Tiger. Now that would be a tradition like no other.

Ben Smith's blog.

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