When this writer mentioned during the week that a subject for this week’s golf column was not coming easily, a golf friend replied, “Why don’t you write about the prospects of Tiger Woods winning a PGA Tour event?”
The more thought given to it, the more it became clear that this might make interesting reading.
There are two schools of thought on Tiger in terms of winning any event, much less a major. The fans who watch golf on television only to root for Tiger definitely think he can get his game back and win a major. They point to his sixth-place tie at the British Open in Carnoustie, Scotland, as evidence that Tiger’s comeback is almost complete.
Then there are folks, like this writer, who realistically think that Tiger has seen the last of his glory days in golf. His last back surgery/fusion leaves him an injury away from being crippled. Is it so important to Tiger that he risk being disabled for life to have a chance to win another major title? Apparently it is, because Tiger continues to strive for first place in a major, and his showing at The Open certainly proved that he can play excellent golf.
From afar, it appears that Tiger has too many things working against him. One, his back cannot get any better than it is at present, which is scary. Two, he is 42, not 22 or 32, so even at a 100-percent fitness level aging must be factored into his game. Three, he has all kinds of experience, having won 14 majors, but it has been a long time between those championships. Four, the PGA Tour has improved in recent years and the new kids on the championship block do not care that Tiger has won 14, because they know that is old news and they do not fear him. Plus, their skill level is Tiger-like — as it was 10 years ago.
No one is saying that Tiger no longer can win a PGA Tour event or a major. There are, however, heavy odds against that happening.
The prediction here is that he will not win a major, but will win a tour event. But remember that he is one bad twist of his surgical back from having to give up the sport. His daily workout routine probably includes exercises to strengthen and loosen his back, but swinging a golf club hundreds of times a day certainly can take its toll — on anyone with a history of back problems.
No one lasts forever in sports. Golfers seem to be able to play significant golf into their 40s, but most of them who have enjoyed success during those years did not have the surgeries that Tiger Woods has had to endure.
All this said, watch Tiger prove people like this writer wrong, as he goes out and wins the PGA Championship on Aug. 9-12 at the Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Mo. Stranger things have happened in sports.
August is a good month for activities at local golf clubs.
For instance, Fox Ridge is conducting a special of $45, including carts, for players who bring non-perishable food donations, which benefit The Good Shepherd Food Bank. To be eligible for this, each player in a group must have a non-perishable food item.
Monday through Thursday all day, and afternoons Friday through Sunday until Aug. 31, this offer is being conducted. More information is available at 207-777-4653. Clearly it is a good cause.
If you are in the mood for some golf entertainment, the Ninth Annual Red Sox-Yankees Challenge is being held Aug. 30 at Martindale. It is a two-man scramble for Red Sox and Yankees fans with a 9 a.m. shotgun start.
WJAB (96.3 FM) in Portland has conducted this event for nine years with its PM Jab talk show hosts — Javier Gorriti and Chris Sedenka — doing their show from the clubhouse after the tournament.
Information on the event is available by contacting Martindale head professional Nick Glicos at [email protected]
Maine State Golf Association events this week include: Charlie’s Maine Open on Aug. 6-8 at Augusta, women’s tournaments on Aug. 7 at Hermon Meadow and Riverside, and the weekend tour event on Aug. 10-11 at Dunegrass.