He quit Sunday in the final round of the Players Championship. Picked his ball up on the seventh hole, said his neck hurts, and didn’t even walk off the course. He climbed in a golf cart and rode off into the metaphorical sunset. Except that little kid running behind him wasn’t yelling, “Come back, Shane!” He was yelling, “"Tiger, say so long to No. 1! Kiss it goodbye!"
OK, the kid said that Saturday, after Tiger limped in about 10 strokes off the lead. But it’s the thought that counts, and the thought was that Tiger’s had it.
I raised that possibility 10 days ago after Tiger shot 74 in the first round at Quail Hollow. The next day, he played 18 holes, but he quit on the course. He stopped trying to win, stopped caring where he finished and just whacked at his ball, his only interest being how soon he could get it done with and limp on back home to feel sorry for himself.
Quitting is not acceptable in sports or in life. Jack Nicklaus didn’t quit. John Daly did it all the time. What’s next for Tiger, a cigarette, a beer and a pot gut?
But let’s be honest about this. If Tiger was anywhere near the lead and playing like he used to, there’s no way he walks off the course unless his neck is truly killing him. This is the guy who won the U.S. Open on a broken leg and wrecked knee. Playing through pain is not a problem, not if there’s a trophy waiting at the end of the round.
It used to be there was nowhere else he wanted to be more than on a golf course. Now, he can’t get away from the course fast enough.
After the third round Saturday, when Phil Mickelson shot 66 and charged into contention and Tiger did nothing, Woods told NBC Sports, “I was really close to putting it together.”
I wouldn’t want to be Tiger Woods right now. I don’t care how much money he has, it’s got to be misery. His life is a toxic waste dump, his golf game is a mess, he’s lost some big sponsors, helicopters hover over his house waiting to collect more salacious tidbits about his sex life to sell to the tabloids and he’s facing a divorce that’s going to trim hundreds of millions of dollars off his net worth.
And, oh, yeah, his neck hurts.
Injury hurts Woods' comeback
May 9, 2010: Tiger Woods' withdrawal from The Players Championship likely to affect his U.S. Open hopes, say NBC’s analysts.
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