I love the show on the Discovery Channel or NatGeo or wherever it is that predicts what will happen to Earth when it is finally relieved of the scourge commonly known as the human race. Anyone with half a brain should have figured out by now that we are nothing but an evolutionary flash in the cosmic skillet that is a tiny part of an infinite universe we are never going to come close to understanding. Whether it is caused by some giant flaming asteroid, or some giant flaming religious fundamentalist fruitcake, we are out of here, people, and frankly, I believe the planet will be a perfect place without us.
But enough of this cheery banter! My immediate concern, and a question that seems to be bothering many others, is this: What will golf look like without Tiger Woods? Everywhere I go I hear predictions of doom and suffering, sponsorship loss and spectator suicide, industry atrophy, and the rise of cage-fighting as an alternative. I’m not sure about any of that, but I do know this: there has been no bigger Tiger Woods fan than my own personal self, for I have seen the glory he has wrought with mine own eyes, firsthand, on foot, and occasionally in the full-tucked position. But verily I say unto whomsoever might still be reading this crap: This game didn’t get to be 500 years old because of one person, and even if the likes of him shows up again 500 years from now, golf will continue to addict, beguile, confuse, and generally berserkify the human race until we are no more. And what’s the point of another Tiger Woods coming back anyway, if the planet is covered in ivy and the only competition left is between cockroaches and Andy Rooney, both of whom appear to be indestructible? (I believe I covered this bit brilliantly in the first paragraph.)
Moving right along, who’s to say that golf won’t actually be better off without his Woodsness in it, stealing everyone’s thunder and farting in the general direction of their lightning? I’m predicting a big year for players like Rory McIlroy, Camilo Villegas, Anthony Kim and Hunter Mahan, to name but a few, and hoping against hope that golf fans everywhere will finally start to understand what I’ve been trying to tell them for more than the last decade. Instead of, “These guys are good,” the PGA Tour should have been going with, “Actually no, the rest of these guys don’t suck.” In fact, there is a very good argument to be made that these other guys are some of the best players the world has ever seen. Men like Mickelson, Els, and Singh have been superb, winning multiple majors each, and what’s more they’ve done it in the Tiger Woods era! I think their numbers should be squared as a result, because no previous generation of players has had to deal with the kind of physical menace and mental distraction that Tiger Woods has been bringing to the golf course.
Okay, so fair enough, when he showed up he made the game sexy again, brought a massive infusion of cash, employed thousands, started a foundation that could change the world, lit up the screen with his smile, and introduced a fuddy-duddy old white man’s game to a whole new generation and demographic, blah-dee-blah-blah-blah. But frankly, if you’ve been a player who’s been minding his own business, who’s out there just trying to win an occasional major, this guy has been annoying at best, and quite possibly a monumental, stabbing pain in the sphincter.
Okay, I’ve got to be honest, this is not working, not even for me. You have to admit I took a fair stab at it, but now I feel like there’s a Titleist in my throat, and I’m getting a little weepy as I type.
Goddammit, all right! I miss the useless bastard—there, I’ve written it! I miss the different noise he makes when he hits one harder, I miss all the crap that comes out of the ground when he’s buried in the rough, I miss the twirl of the club and the little leg kick he makes after the shots he and I both know are going to end up stitched to the damned flag, I miss the sarcastic rim shots he mumbles at me with the bill of his cap down so the camera can’t pick them up, and yes, I miss seeing the unbearably beautiful Elin too, bless the loveliness of her face and the sweetness of her heart. Holy crap, I think I even miss Stevie Williams! What the hell is wrong with me? Screw everyone else, this is a personal disaster! Can’t we all just buy the world a Coke and move on? Where is H.G. Wells when we need him? Maybe he could turn the hands of time backward, or at least far enough forward so that I could see how Andy is doing against the cockroaches. That might take my mind off this for a while. For what it’s worth, my money is on the eyebrows.