Almost as soon as Tiger Woods tapped in a four-inch putt on Sunday that secured the
AT&T at Congressional last Sunday, people were debating whether or not he was
"back". Even though he had just won his third tournament, most on the PGA
Tour this year, the experts, analysts, and sports radio hacks everywhere started the debate
on whether the former number one player in the world was "back." They all pontificated
if Tiger had come back from that dark period where he napalmed his marriage, reputation, endorsements, friendships, and to many, the swagger and game that made him the most
feared and dominant player in the sport.
My question is, why the heck does it even matter? Why is it important for Tiger to be
back? Does he get any extra points in the Fed Ex Cup standings for it? If he is, will he be
allowed to scale a mountain and scream from the top of his lungs, "I'm baaaaaaaaack!"?
If he satisfies everybody's requirement for being "back", will he get his own Facebook
page? Or perhaps, Tiger will get a special edition of a Topps Baseball card.
People....why the heck does it matter to us if Tiger is "back"? Is it fodder for us to use for
cocktail, pool,and naked twister parties to show how golf-educated we are? What will any
of us get out of it if Tiger is "back"? Some of the so-called experts say that Tiger won't be
considered back until he wins a major. They say Tiger has won so many tournaments on
the PGA Tour (74) that the regular ones have become boring, (as if winning a single event
is an easy thing) and that he needs to win a major to be considered whole again. So, if Tiger
never wins another major his "comeback" won't be complete?
Tiger dominated golf and sat atop the perch as the number one player in the world for so
many years, we got spoiled to just how brilliant he was before he ran over that fire hydrant
in his SUV and the sordid details of his double-life came spewing out. Who has been number
one in the world since Tiger's reign ended? Luke Donald? Wow, if Tiger's is still trying to
come back, then Donald has yet to really arrive. Rory McIlroy? Oh, he had a nice spurt, but
he has yet to prove that he can sustain a great deal of a success. Phil Mickelson has never even
been ranked as the number one player in the world, not even in Tiger's absence. In his career,
Tiger has spent more than 600 weeks as the top-ranked player in the world. Mickelson? Not
a single one.
What will it mean to other players on Tiger is "back"? Probably fewer wins and less money
in their paycheck, but there's nobody on tour who's wondering if Tiger is "back". They know
the answer. Whether or not Tiger is "back" means absolutely nothing? If he is, nobody gets
extra credit, money, or a place in the Hall of Fame for making a statement that means absolutely
nothing. If he's not, then there are a heckuva lot of players who would like to be Tiger Woods
right about now.