Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tiger's missing rivals

For fifteen years now, Tiger Woods has been going to Augusta, GA and mostly treating the course and field as if it were his own personal bank. Given that his knee seems fine now (hey, there was something about him that wasn't perfect after all!), the only bet before this tournament is Robo Beast against the Field, and as usual, you're better off with the beast.

Now, the actually interesting thing about this is that we've had more than enough time and money to actually develop some actual competition for him by now. At this point, you'd think that some other golfer (or, well, many other golfers) would have picked up the pace and actually hit some weights, since part of the advantage of being Tiger is that he's actually very athletic, at least in comparison with the usual collection of bloated sacs that make up a tourney field. You'd also think that, given that The Feline One has made enough money to fund his own Buick Bailout, that some other elite athletes would have taken up the sport, in say, high school and college, and started to bubble their way up from the Q-School.

But what has happened instead is that Tiger has competed against the same old tired hands of his generation, with no clear rival stepping up to the plate, or young gun making him sweat it out by outdriving him by a couple of clubs, the way he used to do to people when he was just coming up.

What are left with is the following.

1) Woods is just that singular and unique a talent, that like Jordan before him, his very presence and competitive intimidation just makes the existence of rivals laughable.

2) Woods hasn't really inspired new people to play golf, so much as to just watch it.

Personally, I'd go for option 3, which is to say some of both. Besides, even if you are inspired to take up the game to be more like Tiger, you still need clubs and a place to play. But your mileage may vary...

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