To this point in the 2014 Professional Golfers Association tour season, Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods is not exactly having a year to remember. He started off by missing the 54-hole cut at the Farmers’ Insurance Open and then chalked up a 41st place finish in Dubai. Yesterday in South Florida, Woods’ poor 2014 continued when he was forced to withdraw from the Honda Classic midway through his final round.
In that final round by the way Woods was five over par and had no chance of winning let along reaching the first page of the leaderboard. This most recent withdrawal from a PGA Tour event was due to a sore back. I can relate to this because I’ve had a bad back too but then again let’s analyze Woods’ reasons for withdrawing in past tournaments.
First of all, this isn’t the first time Woods has withdrawn due to back problems but he has left tournaments due to other issues. He has had problems with his Achilles’ before and issues with his knee. He’s also had some trouble with a wrist and an elbow that forced him to leave tournaments. I was somewhat surprised to see that Woods has only withdrawn six times now from tournaments. He also pulled out of the 1995 US Open because of a wrist injury back when he was still an amateur.
Here’s a quick breakdown of his WDs…
- 1998 Kemper Open – back
- 2006 Nissan Open – flu
- 2010 Players Championship – neck
- 2011 Players Championship – knee
- 2012 WGC-Cadillac – leg
- Yesterday Honda Classic – back
What I find most interesting is that in all of these instances, Woods was not in contention to win any of the tournaments he departed early from yet amazingly; he was able to finish the US Open in 2008 on essentially one leg.
We found out a long time ago that Tiger Woods was not one we should seek for a role model. I don’t like that professional athletes would be the role models of children or young adults anyway but it happens. As Charles Barkley once said, “I ain’t no role model.” While his grammar wasn’t great his message was.
Woods’ days of being a role model ended on a November night in 2009 when he crashed his SUV after his then wife discovered his two-timing ways. I’ve tried my hardest to look past and forgive Woods for his transgressions and for the most part I have. I always rooted for him because he was good for the game of golf but now I struggle to think so anymore.
I find Woods to be an ungracious winner and a worse loser. I couldn’t help but notice Rory McIlroy, who blew a sizeable lead yesterday and ended up losing, stand on the very green where his loss was finalized and speak to the press. He could have easily mailed it in and waited for the actual post-match press conference but he didn’t.
McIlroy spoke for a solid three to four minutes about his collapse and did so with great maturity. He didn’t have to but he did and how ironic was it that he did so on a day when Tiger Woods left a tournament without finishing it.
If you talk to many professional golfers outside Tiger’s inner circle they’ll tell you he isn’t the best guy in the world. That’s nothing new because there are millions of people like that so I don’t hold it against him. I found it very telling when back in 2009 Rocco Mediate left a pin sheet and photograph from their epic 91 hole showdown in Woods’ locker.
Mediate just wanted Tiger to make a small comment on the pin sheet so he could hang it in his home. Keep in mind, Mediate was the loser of that event and just wanted to have something from the man who he nearly beat. Woods signed the photo and that was it. Mediate threw it away and told CBS’ David Feherty he “could have gotten that off ebay.”
Regardless of whether Woods ever catches Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles or not he will never be the gentleman Nicklaus and many other pro golfers have been.