To be up front, I am not a golf fan, but am aware of the sport and what the big stories are. So to see Tiger Woods finish 28th in the PGA is shocking as it shows how far he has fallen as a major threat in the sport. The big question is whether this is a one-year blip owing to his off-the-course strife or the sign of things to come.
Woods has been, at best, an average golfer this year. In his nine events, he finished in the Top 10 only twice, winning $872, 000. Contrast that with 2006, where he played only six events, but won four times and earned more than $5 million. Quite a dramatic fall for someone who everyone assumed would easily pass Jack Nicklaus as the all-time winners of majors.
Golf has conducted 10 majors since Woods' dramatic win in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — Woods has not won any of them. Seven of the 10 have been won by players who had never won majors before, anonymous names to the casual and disinterested.
When Woods is out of contention, it's hard for the casual fan to even be aware there is a tournament going on. I totally forgot that the final round of the PGA was going on, and that's because it was not a media focus. So I missed a playoff and one player screwing up by taking a weird two-stroke penalty that cost him a shot to make the playoff. Some cute German guy few had heard of won it.
With ratings and ad revenue down this year, as much as Woods might need golf, golf needs him playing at a high level even more.
I would like to hear from golf fans whether Tiger 2010 is the model we will see from now on, or whether he will rebound.