By Aaron M Smith
This just in – Tiger Woods interrupted my vacation and I want an apology!! As I was trying to enjoy the last remaining rays of the Florida sun before having to head back to winter, Tiger Woods was less than 2 hours away – making the world stop. Tiger Woods stepped up to a podium and time stood still. Even as I spent my lunch at the Cortez Kitchen, eating Fried Oysters and Hush Puppies ( it was Friday and it’s Lent – what can I say), all eyes were glued to the television for those 11 minutes. Tiger if you are out there and reading this – you didn’t owe me an apology before – now you do. My last remaining time in the sun was spent listening to so-called “experts” trying to interpret what he said or better yet – people asking me what I thought his intentions were. Personally, I am more worried about the snap hook I developed with my irons over the last 3 months of dormancy. Where did that nasty habit come from?
But after those 11 minutes, I am pretty sure I heard a long and loud collective groan. No, it wasn’t from the Fried Oysters settling my stomach. Rather that collective groan came all the way from Augusta, GA as Masters officials heard the speech and realized that Tiger probably isn’t playing in the 2010 Masters (Note: I am so glad my ticket application for the Masters was rejected, as this news would have truly provoked a groan from me). Most golf analysts felt that before February 19th, Tiger would back in time for the 2010 Masters. No way was this disappearing act going to continue for that long. Tiger would never let the opportunity of winning a Major slip through his fingers. But after those 11 minutes, people aren’t so sure anymore. Now the question is whether Tiger will be back in 2010. Wait- did you just hear that? It was another groan, this time from the West. Its from the people running the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. No Tiger in 2010? It could happen.
So what does this mean outside of a probable 30% drop in attendance and TV viewership? Well for starters it means more Sunday afternoons of watch Ian Poulter and Paul Casey battling it out for the tournament championship. No offense to either golfer, but they are no Tiger in red staring down his opponent during his Sunday charge. By the way, Ian Poulter may have become the first golfer in the history of the PGA Tour on Sunday to actually win a tournament in a pink leisure suit. But I digress.
It also means that there will be a new No. 1 in golf. Tiger’s stranglehold on the top spot will soon give way to another golfer. But who will it be? Which golfer has the game to take it to the next level and lay claim to that top spot? Well that is what we are going to discuss over the coming weeks. As we lead up to the Masters, we are going to take a look at the golfers most likely to take away the claim of being the No. 1 in golf.
Until then – I am going to find Tiger. I want an apology….