This is part two of a three-part story on whether the PGA needs Tiger Woods more or if Woods needs the PGA.
Click here for Part I.
Not only does Woods want to regain his stroke, the PGA is hoping he does as well. Despite the positive ratings, the fact remains that it is more compelling to the average viewer when Woods is in the hunt like when he was leading in this year’s Masters in the final round heading to the back nine.
“Sports is the biggest reality TV show there is,” Golf Channel’s Morning Drive host Erik Kuselias said. “For it to work you have to ask if you are compelling? Tiger Woods is compelling. The biggest roar (from the crowd) at the Masters was when Woods looked ready to win heading to the back nine.
“Anyone who thinks it is no longer the Tiger tour is fooling themselves.”
The reality for the PGA is that Woods moves the needle but reality may be setting in. The 35-year old Woods is battling various injuries and his body is not responding the way it did at 25.
“I am a Tiger fan,” Kuselias said. “But he has been cut on four times and it takes more out of you each time. At 35 and have been cut on four times, the odds are not in his favor.
“But I am not going to be the one to bet against him.”
Woods right now is like a boxer that just loses his edge due to the aging process. For years, Roy Jones Jr. was a great boxer but when age caught up to him and slowed him down, he became less ferocious and very beatable.
Woods may be headed down that road right now.
Some experts also believe they saw the beginning of all this at the 2009 PGA Championship. Woods led after 54 holes and then lost in the final round to virtually unknown Y.E. Yang.
“It started with the loss to the unknown Y.E. Yang, but it has been a wild ride (for Woods),” Elling stated. “I don’t think it will ever be the same.”
Without Woods the fans do not have a player that they can gravitate to, whether good or bad. McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and some of the other young stars just do not have the presence or the game that Woods once did.
Golf may be headed back into that void they went through back in the ‘80’s when Jack Nicklaus retired and before Woods came onto the scene. Can McIlroy, Mickelson or Lee Westwood capture the spotlight for an extended period of time?
Every year since Woods has been on tour, it was Mickelson that was the one that was set to knock him down. Mickelson is a hall-of-fame player but some people seem to expect more from him, especially over the last two seasons.
“He has won every major except the U.S. Open so let’s not label him a bum,” Kuselias explained. “He is an all-time great, an immortal. I will not take anything away from him.”
The problem in any sport is trying to follow a hall-of-fame player. Whether it is replacing a great quarterback or one of the best golfers, nobody wants to be labeled the guy to do it because it adds unfair pressure on him.
When golfer and close friend of Woods, Mark O’Meara came out after the U.S. Open and told reporters that McIlroy is better now than Woods was at that age is unfair. McIlroy has won just three times in his career and just one major and for people to label him the next “Tiger Woods” is just absurd.
“You don’t want to be the guy to follow him,” Kuselias said. “(McIlroy) is not Tiger Woods. Nobody is.”
Click Here For Part III.