Chillin' with Charlie: Oh, how the mighty has fallen
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (WSFA) - How is it that possibly the best golfer ever is not competing in the Olympics? The man who was ranked number one in the world from 1999-2004 and then relaunched from 2005-2010 is physically and mentally inept to representing his country.
Oh, how the mighty has fallen.
In order to arrive full circle on how far Tiger has dropped, let's just check out the quick timeline.
1996- Tiger Woods turns professional after an outstanding two-year college career at Stanford, earning PAC-10 player of the year both seasons.
1997- Within a year of turning pro, Tiger has already won a major and climbed to world number one.
1997- November 27, 2009: Tiger is dominant, spending well over 500 weeks on top of the world. World rankings were formed in 1986 and only Greg Norman had surpassed 100 (331 weeks). By age 30, he had won more majors than everyone not named Jack Nicklaus, and 20 seemed like a no brainier with Tiger still in his prime.
After that late November night, it was just never the same. Woods' career would prove to take as much damage on that night as his wrecked Escalade.
We all know Tiger's infamous, messy cheating scandal, which revealed itself in the most unfavorable way for Woods. A whole bunch of females later telling media they had been with Tiger as well didn't help. But we all forget that Tiger is human. Human's make mistakes, as do plenty of athletes.
Tiger made his mistake and then went into a self-induced timeout to fix some issues. His mistake was highly publicized and the wrong thing to do, no doubt. But can we really sit here and act like he's the only pro athlete to have committed extramarital indiscretions?
Tiger did rack up some more wins after the hiatus, but no majors to show for since 2008. As it stands, he holds just about every record there is. Except for the 18 major victories that Jack Nicklaus holds, compared to Tigers 14.
In 2008, any man would have taken Las Vegas' over odds on Tiger reaching 18 wins. Now, I don't think many would.
Tiger is now 40-years-old. That's starting to get up there in age. But still, Phil Mickelson is 46 and he's still competing for majors. Tom Watson was 59 when he was in the running to win the 2009 Open.
Meanwhile, Tiger is outside of the World's top 500, and probably wouldn't be favored at the Barbasol Championship, let alone the Olympics. Tiger still has his talent, he just needs to get his mojo back.
It's an unfortunate fall, that myself like many other golf fans are hoping hasn't seen its end. Athletes make mistakes all the time. The only way to overcome them is to finish on top and the first year of Olympic golf in over 100 years seemed like the perfect place to regain form. It won't be happening this year.
Whether it's his ailing back, or the psychological scars lingering from that strange November night, something has been off about Tiger. But hopefully, he can regain form in time for Tokyo 2020. Because fans don't remember the fall of the athlete, it's the climb from the bottom that truly captivates our memory.
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