It’ll never happen, of course, but perhaps it should. Tiger’s first post-scandal tournament was the Masters, and he performed well, finishing tied for 4th (but the bigger stories were his on-course outbursts, the testy Sunday interview, and Phil Mickelson winning). Then Tiger flopped badly at Quail Hollow, missing the cut. Finally, Tiger was a non-factor all weekend at the Players Championship, and threw in the towel Sunday claiming he had a bulging disk in his neck. Golf writers who have watched Tiger in awe for a decade are now calling him a quitter. He’s no longer a lock to pass Jack’s mark of 18 majors championships. So why not take the rest of the year off?
Woods occasionally has been asked about his physical condition since returning from a five-month break brought on by a sex scandal, and the only time he mentioned his neck was during his pretournament news conference at the Masters. Responding to a question about the Nov. 27 car crash that spawned the scandal, Woods said, “Yeah, I had a busted-up lip and a pretty sore neck.’’
Woods’ partner on Sunday said he didn’t notice anything odd until Tiger shook his hand to retire for the round.
“When I shook his hand he kind of flinched a little bit. He definitely looked like he was in a lot of pain,’’ said Bohn, who had three back surgeries in 2008 and missed five months. “I saw him on the first tee doing some warm-up exercises with his neck, but I don’t know his routine, if that’s part of his stretching or getting himself ready to go.’’
The line of the weekend came courtesy of golfer Paul Azinger: “Could this have been prevented with a good Swedish massage?”
Shut it down, Tiger. (Jim Rome disagrees and maybe he has a point; what if Tiger joins Nickleback on tour for the rest of this month and June?) If all the reports about a divorce being imminent are true, why not get it over with? The sooner, the better. Let’s assume the divorce drags out over 4-6 months … it can be complete by the winter, and Tiger can come back a healthy, focused golfer in 2011 with his troubles behind him and perhaps a gaggle of new girlfriends in tow. Tiger turns 35 in December. Jack Nicklaus won six majors after the age of 35 (and finished 2nd or tied for 2nd six times). All Tiger needs is four to catch him, and five to set the record.
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