Scott Gray Sports Commentary, Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
TIGER, THE SEQUEL
Now that Tiger Woods has relinquished center stage to Rory McIlroy it was my firm hope the PGA Tour and it’s network partners would change their approach and allow a broader cast of characters onto the stage. Hopefully it would end the days when often outlandish scenarios were created by which Tiger could win any tournament, while ignoring the guys who actually were winning and in contention.
Often Sunday afternoons were spent recapping the rounds that took Tiger out of contention as much as charting the course to the winners circle. Now that we’ve seen the transition from the Tiger Woods era, seven years removed from a major, winless this season, to the era of Rory McIlroy and, hopefully, the phalanx of young studs he represents, the networks have an opportunity to broaden their scope, to cover the whole tour.
CBS did a good job in Sunday’s final round of the Barclays. We barely heard the name of Phil Mickelson after he missed the secondary cut and went home, no recaps of the rounds that took him off the tote board, other than the incredibly entertaining shots he took off the floor boards of two sponsor luxury boxes, and, when Rory failed to mount a charge early in the final round he slipped from the coverage as well, other than an occasional replay of a shot here and there, something Tiger was never relegated to. CBS stayed primarily with the guys who were writing the most compelling scripts. For that I compliment them.
However, just when we reach the end of the Tiger Woods era, Tiger himself becomes much more compelling as he tries to reinvent himself. Since his well publicized personal issues and his equally as well publicized medical problems Tiger hasn’t won a major championship. The last four years of the drought have come during his association with swing coach Sean Foley, who yesterday was shown the door to Tiger’s palatial Florida estate, the search for a new swing coach, or a new philosophy, sans swing coach, about to begin.
Tiger was never a swing coach’s dream, his style of golf, with a full wind up, fully torqued, full body swing isn’t easy for a coach to keep in line, it’s more feel than technique, and over the years it’s taken it’s toll on Tiger’s body, which will void any changes in style, simply because he’s just not able to unleash the monster drives and consistent pin point shots he once did, no fault of Foley’s. Now that the mortal side of Tiger is exposed he becomes a much better story than the one the networks insited on focusing on the last half decade.
Now when Tiger is in contention in a major it becomes more compelling to see how long he can stay in it and if he does win another major no one will take the “The pursuit of Nicklaus is on again” approach, though it should be treated with the same reverence as Nicklaus’s last major victory, at age 46, that we are watching the waning stages of a once great career.
Now that we know his era of dominance is over the rest of Tiger Woods’ career becomes much more interesting to watch.
With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.