I’m not sure we’ve ever seen anybody crash and burn quite as spectacularly as Tiger has. This isn’t just one aspect of his life that fell apart. It’s everything — physical, mental, emotional — all going kaflooey together. All it lacks is a felony charge to qualify as a total disaster.
No one, including Tiger, knows where this goes next. He may decide it’s a good idea to have surgery on the neck to avoid having to embarrass himself again on the golf course. Or he may convince himself his game is right there and everything will be better the next time out.
He could come back. Ben Hogan did it after nearly being killed in a car crash. Or he could become a caricature of himself, the new John Daly, rich in talent, low in self-esteem and results.
More likely, he manages to spackle something resembling his old game together and wins a couple of tournaments a year as he tries desperately to get the five majors he needs to pass Nicklaus.
Tiger may come back, but it’s not his Tour to own anymore. Not after he took up quitting on rounds and tournaments.
Bobby Jones once quit during a British Open. Jones came back from that ignominy to become the greatest golfer ever. But when Jones quit during the third round of the 1921 British Open, he was 19 years old, a young hothead who had a lot to learn about the game and about self control.
Within two years, Jones would be the greatest golfer ever and an exemplar of sportsmanship.
Tiger isn’t 19. He is a hothead, but it’s an aging hothead. There’s too much going on in his life, and all of it is bad.
And now he’s a quitter.
Lo, how the mighty have fallen.
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