By Robert Bicknell
 

May 2008

Post surgery, Tiger needs to move to Europe for competition.

Well, despite all the comments from drooling sportswriters who envisioned pages of platitudes for Tiger, yet another Masters has come and gone, but Woods failed to come from behind to win, much to the disappointment of the media who must learn to spell "Immelman" correctly now and, for the record, itís not a gymnastic move, but it IS a type of turn in a stunt aircraft.

If you remember correctly, the pundits speculated earlier that "Tiger might go the whole year without losing one event."

Yes, I know...such stupid statements should automatically qualify people for a beating with a spiked leather belt, but those jokers would probably enjoy it and besides, you cannot really fault them because even the truly jaded fall for the hype on a slow news day.

Tiger himself contributed to the ridiculousness when he mentioned that "this" might be the year he achieves a Grand Slam.

This is in contract to the "Tiger Slam" which the media bestowed on him in lieu of a REAL Grand Slam which is supposed to be achieved within ONE calendar year... But again, one cannot fault the media in looking for ways to hype a non-issue.

Did Tiger achieve a legitimate Grand Slam? Nope, but thatís only due to a technicality...like a calendar. Journalists cannot let something like a trifling technicality get in the way of a good story.

The fact of the matter is that Tiger Woods makes for a very boring story. "TIGER WINS!" Big schlemiel...He ALWAYS wins...

However, that hype was before Tiger announced that has to go back under the knife for some more arthroscopy on his knee as the cartilage is still a bit screwed up. Chances are there are some chips floating around after the last surgery. For some strange reason, there are ALWAYS Ďchips floating aroundí after surgery...hundreds of professional athletes who went under the knife can attest to that.

I have to give Woods credit for sucking up the pain and soldiering on because he didnít want to risk missing the Masters. But now that his Grand Slam possibilities are out the window for another year, he can take the risk of missing the US Open.

The doctors say heíll be back after a month of rehab...which is pretty good time. Knowing Tiger, he will undoubtedly come back from rehab twice as strong as before.

What we truly need to make headlines in golf is a challenger for Tiger, but up to now, there have been very few players willing to play Watson to Tigerís Nicklaus.

Címon, letís be honest here...all the best champions had a challenger who pushed them to the limit time after time and wouldnít go away.

Palmer had Nicklaus, Nicklaus had Watson, Rocky Balboa had the planet, and Tiger has... a media choir trumpeting his exploits.

Ok, sure...there are a lot of players who TALK a good challenge, like Mickelson, Els or Sabatini, but the fact remains that none of them actually have the guts to step into the ring with him.

Mickelson wants desperately to be the man who hangs with Tiger, but it doesnít seem to be in the cards. He just doesnít have what it takes...namely guts and course management. He always seems to do something unbelievably stupid to take himself out of contention.

Els is a great player, but has been seeing a sports psychologist to help him get over his innate fear of big cats. Losing one too many times to Woods undoubtedly got him talking to his head covers.

Rory Sabatini has the mouth speed of Apollo Creed, but not the firepower to back it up. Muhammad Ali had a huge mouth, but backed it up with results. People accept a bit of arrogance and bravado when you can prove it. Sabatini remains all mouth.

If anyone will rise up to challenge the supremacy of Tiger Woods, I believe it will have to come from the European or Asian Tours where the players are a bit hungrier and havenít completely bought into the Tiger hype.

The truth is that Tiger beats most of his opponents even before he hits his first tee shot of the tournament. Intimidation factor like that is a huge advantage...itís like having five extra shots in the bag.

Look, everyone knows that if Tiger is less than eight shots back starting the final round, heís gonna come at you hard. Most players cannot even handle that thought and cannot sleep the night before. Its not that Tiger is gonna make up the eight shots so easily, but rather that the leader is gonna drop a few as well. Itís much easier to lose shots than to make them up. Thatís for sure.

Personally, I would love to see someone, anyone challenge Tiger...because right now watching an event with Tiger Woods in it is as exciting as watching a Harlem Globetrotters game...

Itís painfully predictable.


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