ESPN Blogs
  • Clubbing Down

Why golf needs a Tiger win at Oak Hill

Will TideyAugust 6, 2013
Will Tiger win?

When it comes to the majors, what type of Tiger Woods fan are you? Do you want him to win every one he plays in? Are you just a fan of him being part of the narrative? Or do you relish his every comeuppance?

Are you "go Tiger!", "keep going Tiger", or "go home Tiger?"

Until recently, I'd have put myself in the middle camp. The majors feel grander and more compelling when Tiger's in contention, but there are others I'd rather see win and it's hard to emotionally invest in a surly multi-millionaire who plays golf for a living.

Did I enjoy the early part of his struggles AT (After Transgressions)? We all did if we're honest, because his story arc demanded a dip and his genius demanded a genuine challenge.

No golfer had stood up to him. A personal scandal proved a far bigger threat than Phil Mickelson and the rest of a generation in his shadow, and its ripple effect has diluted Tiger's major performances ever since.

AT, the Tiger we once knew has been consistently humbled at the majors. What started with a public apology has been added to with Sunday collapses, lost 36-hole leads and what feels like a thousand sombre post-mortem interviews, dissecting another chance passed.

A familiar sight, Tiger signals a wayward drive at The Open © Getty Images

He's still winning tour events for fun and he's still world No. 1, but trademark Tiger at the majors these days is the one who isn't quite good enough.

You might be celebrating that fact, but I've come to a point where I genuinely want Woods to win one. I want it for the sake of golf and to appease the empathy I've somehow found in my heart for a sportsman it once felt impossible to love.

There was a time when Tiger's decline at the majors was sold as a door opening for golf's next great thing. If he's Rory McIlroy, he's knocked and run away. If he's anybody else, he's yet to raise a fist in anger.

The successor we hoped for is still to arrive. We need Tiger more than ever and it will feel emptier than we realise when he's gone.

Is it really in the fans' interest for golf's premier star to continue his suffering? Or might we all be better served with Tiger winning number 15 at Oak Hill and setting up a 2014 to enthral us.

Imagine the theatre of Tiger reaching 17 majors and his every opportunity an invitation to match Jack's great record. Imagine the drama of a true challenger emerging at just the right time to stand in the way of that feat.

He's done his time. I'm tired of watching him fade away and grimace in disgust at his shortcomings. Let this weekend see Tiger of old blaze to glory, and his incredible story delivered its next big twist.

Forget about the man you think you know. Remember the golfer who has a claim at being the greatest of all time. Does this generation want to witness further humblings? Or do we want to be witness to sporting history?

I know where I stand. For the first time, I'm with the "Go Tiger!" fans.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Writer Bio

Will has covered Tour events. majors and Ryder Cups and interviewed the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Rory McIlroy. He once inhaled the cigar smoke of the coolest man in golf, Miguel Angel Jimenez, while watching sports cars tear around Brands Hatch. As a left-handed hacker he's been humiliated at esteemed venues including Carnoustie, Wentworth, Kiawah Island and Pinehurst No. 2.

Recent Posts

Blog Home