Tiger Woods is still making news these days, but most of the time it isn’t for what he does on the goal course. Instead, it is usually for appearances, business deals or potential comebacks. The most recent example was when he and Justin Timberlake, partners in the Nexus Luxury Corportation, announced last week they were purchasing a stake in the Hurricane Junior Golf Course. It provided a wealth of publicity and attention to a tour that seldom gets even a fourth of the attention given men or women’s professional golf.
“The success of junior golf is an important element in growing the game,” Woods said in a statement. “Helping boys and girls compete and be involved in golf will be an important part in helping strengthen our sport.”
This is a continuation of other efforts to assist youth in philanthropic and educational initiatives through his foundation. Woods has also been a nonplaying captain for the Ryder Cup team,and even recently expressed a desire to become involved in designing golf courses.
But while all these things are commendable, the golf world, indeed the sports audience in general, openly wonders whether Tiger Woods is finished as a competitive golfer. He has played only two rounds of one tournament so far this season, missing the cut. He is once again battling back troubles. Last May he dropped out of the Top 500 for the first time since turning pro. He hasn’t won a major since 2008, and his last win period was in 2013.
It has been so long since he won that a recent commercial was made that celebrated his brilliance and reminded those who may have forgotten that there was a lengthy stretch from the 90s until 2013 when Woods did things that have never been equaled or surpassed in terms of golf.
He has 79 total titles, second only to Sam Snead. He has 14 majors, second to Jack Nicklaus’ 18. Woods has been Player of the Year 11 times and leading money winner 10 times. From 1999-2004 and then again from 2005-2010 every week of the year during that time he was number one. Those are streaks of 255 and 264 weeks respectively.
Sadly, there are others out there more familiar with the current Tiger Woods, who seems unable to remain healthy. That Tiger has missed the cut six times in his last 12 tournaments and also withdrawn from another. It’s the Woods who keeps saying he is close to regaining his form, only to later miss another cut.
It would be premature and foolish to declare Tiger Woods done as his 41st birthday approaches in December. Jack Nicklaus won his last major at 46. But as the Masters approaches in April, right now it is a better bet that Tiger Woods will be a spectator rather than a contender for the title at an event he once dominated, and still holds the record for largest margin of victory.