Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lost in the Woods

Never Again Will Tiger Roar

The Tiger Woods era is over.
It didn’t end this past weekend when Tiger failed to make the cut at the PGA Championship. Nor did it end the week before, when a back injury forced him to withdraw from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

No, the Tiger Woods era came to a crashing halt on November 27, 2009 at 2:30 a.m—we just didn’t know it then.

I remember being in my buddy Mike’s living room the next day when he turned to me and said, “Yo, did you hear about Tiger Woods?”

“Nah, what? He won another tournament?”

“Dude, he was in a car accident last night.”

Mike turned on the television and flipped to ESPN. And, sure enough, there it was—the overhead footage of Tiger’s crashed black Cadillac Escalade.

“Weird, how did that happen? He’s like a block away from his house,” I said to Mike.

“Yeah, for real. I hope he’s alright. If he’s seriously hurt, this could be really bad for him.”

Tiger Woods wasn’t seriously hurt—minor facial lacerations and a ticket for careless driving.

But there was nothing minor about this incident. And, as it turned out, Woods’ driving wasn’t the only thing he had been careless about.

Tiger Woods didn’t die that night—but his golf game did.

And five years later, the only Tiger we see is the one painfully trying to bring his game back from the dead.

But there will be no revival. There will be no more majors won.

The legend of Tiger Woods is ancient history. And the future of golf goes by the name of Rory McIlroy.

Many people think that watching golf is like watching grass grow. But here’s the beautiful thing: you can watch golf and watch the grass grow.

Yes, golf is a game that moves at a snail’s pace. It doesn’t require pure athleticism like most other sports do. Nor does it have the necessary action required by today’s Smartphone-wielding, ADHD-plagued generation. (Social media is a disease with no cure in sight.)

But if you’ve ever played the game, you understand that hitting a golf ball is one of the hardest things to do in sports.

Being out among the brooks, trees, birds, and breeze is supposed to be relaxing.
But let me tell you: after five lost tee shots, two broken clubs, and a couple four-putts before you’ve even reached the back-nine, you’re feeling anything but relaxed.

These are the things you must understand in order to truly appreciate just how amazing Rory McIlroy’s recent winning streak has been.

While Tiger has been busy showing us just how difficult the game of golf is lately, Rory is reminding us exactly how beautiful hitting a 350-yard drive right down the middle of the fairway can be.

McIlroy is now the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world—and he’s playing like it.

What Rory has done these past couple of months has been nothing short of incredible—three tournaments, three wins, and two major championships.

Oh, and, did I mention the man is only 25?

McIlroy now has four career major championships under his belt. There have been only two golfers to reach this mark faster (you may have heard of them): Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

I remember when it was a matter of when, not if, Tiger would break Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships.

Well, it’s been six years since Tiger’s last major win, and he’s stuck on 14 with the big 4-0 right around the corner. The question is no longer will Tiger catch Nicklaus, but rather, will McIlroy?

Everyone is wondering whether McIlroy is the next Tiger Woods. But it doesn't matter.

Being Rory is all I want from McIlroy. And right now, he’s the best that golf has to offer.

Tiger may be lost in the woods, but Rory McIlroy is blazing a new trail.

And it’s worth tuning in—even if you think you’d rather watch the grass grow.

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