The Last Time He Pulled Out This Early Was With A Perkins Waitress
Today during happy hour Tiger Woods announced via his Tweeter that he called Arnold Palmer to personally give him the bad news that his back was still not 100% and therefore he wouldn’t be competing in the AP Invitational at Bay Hill this week. Bummer. Not only does this weaken the field, but interest in a Tiger-less tourney at Bay Hill during the 1st weekend of March Madness likely just hit an all time low.
If you haven’t been following along, TW first tweaked his back at the Honda Classic 3 weeks ago. As his fourth round at PGA National unfolded, Woods began playing like shit and withdrew due to back spasms after completing 12 holes. He was 13 shots off the lead at the time of his WD.
A week later at Doral, Tiger shot a 3rd round 66 to vault up the leaderboard and give himself a chance at winning the WGC event. His fourth round again started out poorly and after hitting a shot with an awkward stance in a bunker on the 7th hole, TW again began favoring his back and barely finished the round. Before play began at Doral he told golf journos that his back was fine even though many of them speculated that he shouldn’t play with the Masters on the horizon. Those guys look pretty smart now, don’t they?
22 And Counting
The bigger issue going forward for Tiger is how healthy and ready he can be in 3 weeks when the Masters begins. I’m not a professional doctor (although I am a roving amateur gynecologist), and I don’t have a history of back problems, but I do think Tiger playing at the Masters is a close to a sure thing as you can get. Tiger is a very fit athlete. Yes, he does tend to break down easily but he’s also a quick healer. I think sitting this week out will get his back to where it needs to be for him to play and finish four rounds at Augusta.
What I can’t see happening because of this injury is his game being ready to win a major. He won’t have had his mettle tested. Plenty of people with opinions reference Tiger contending in 2010 after coming out of rehab for his sex addiction. That year he hadn’t played once and there were reports that he hadn’t even touched a club right up until about 3 weeks before the tournament started. He finished T4. If he had made some putts he probably would have won.
But there’s a reason he was T4 and didn’t make any putts. He wasn’t ready for the fight and that’ll be essentially the same version of Tiger we get this year at the 1st major. His best finish to date for 2014 will be his T25 at Doral. In fact, that will be the only PGA Tour event of the season in which he has even finished the final round. In other words, he has no fucking chance at winning the Masters this year. None. Zip. #stickaforkinhim Also worth noting is that Tiger has never won a green jacket in a year he didn’t win a PGA Tour event prior to his arrival at the year’s first major. I foresee his major drought being at 22 and counting as of April 14th, 2014.
The silver lining here is that Tiger is doing whatever it takes to get healthy. Hopefully for golf fans we do get to see him play well and contend at Augusta. So what if he doesn’t, getting healthy means we’ll get to see him take another crack at major #15 at Pinehurst, Hoy Lake, and Valhalla. If he kept trying to play with an ailing back those opportunities might turn into the lost majors that he’s missed in other injury plagued seasons.
Step Up To The Plate Arnie
So what can you do to save your tournament if you’re one of the greatest golfers of all time and the biggest attraction in the game WDs with an ailing back? I can only think of one thing. Use your clout to call in the big guns. I’m sure you all recall that Arnold and super model Kate Upton are good pals, why not see if she’s available to escort the King to the trophy ceremony?
You put Upton in one of her Sports Illustrated signature get-ups (or even far less) and trot her out on the 18th green on Sunday afternoon to present the trophy to the winner. Now you’ve got yourself the same amount of eyeballs that you would have if Tiger were winning his bazillionth AP Invite. Do you hear what I’m saying? Who could say no to Arnie?
And who wouldn’t watch Kate do this with a trophy in her hands?