Oh what have you become Tiger. The never ending decline of one of the greatest golfers of all time hit a new low this week as he was caught on a DUI. He was arrested on the 29th of May in Jupiter Florida and footage showed the golfer heavily inebriated and unfit to drive. He was quick to release a statement saying it was not alcohol but prescription medication that caused the reaction.
It is quite the fall from grace for a man with 14 golf majors under his belt. His last major came at the US Open in 2008, so next year will be a ten-year anniversary of his success. In that decade he has suffered from numerous professional injures which have stunted his progress and some major public incidents which have wounded his character.
When it comes to great sportsman I accept that the nurture to reach a certain level will affect a person in a variety of ways and mostly not for the better. In Tiger Woods’ case he started at such a young age and was exposed to success at an early age, all that came with it has corrupted his person. Much like how young footballers believe they are invincible, but the only difference is we hadn’t had such a person in the sport of golf. Tiger Woods became the highest paid athlete in the word for several years and that kind of wealth produces a self-worshipping and invincibility which is actually understandable.
For me who grew up watching Tiger dominate the golf world it is a shock to the system. I don’t see anyway in which the player who will likely be dropping further down the rankings can return in any form of glory. The important thing to do if he carries on playing is that he does so with dignity and not become humiliated. The fact is that he will always have that underlying skill and nouse that will mean he can make some of those incredible shots. But that ripped swing that propelled balls with such force is likely to be missing forever now. His body has taken too much and his mind is not in a place where he can put the effort in to get back to some level of physical prowess.
It feels like the end of an era of ‘big sport’ in golf. Tiger was a poster child and commercial success, but this incident coincides in the same year we see brands like Nike and Adidas leave the sport. We are witnessing not only the demise of a great player but the era of golf he inhabited is going with it. While it is inevitably disappointing it is also intriguing to see what a future in the game without the looming shadow of Tiger Woods will now officially look like.