News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Rub of the Green

April 10, 2011

RUB OF THE GREEN: Winter made golf impossible this year

(Continued)

TERRE HAUTE — Hats off to Chad Collins. You may recall that the Cloverdale native finished in second place among money winners on the Nationwide Tour back in 2009, which qualified him for the PGA Tour in 2010.

Collins made excellent use of the coveted PGA Tour card last year, as he won $815,961 in official prize money. He finished 118th on the money list, which is really better than it sounds since he took some time off toward the end of the year and didn’t compete in several tournaments. Congratulations and a “well done” to Chad.

It would be great to see Collins in the winner’s circle during 2011.

I I I

Back in 1997 John Feinstein, arguably the best sports writer on Planet Earth, wrote a defining book titled “The First Coming, Tiger Woods, Master or Martyr.” To sum up the book, Tiger appears to come off as something of a spoiled brat, but that would be a spoiled brat with more ability with a golf club in his hands than almost anyone had ever witnessed.

It appeared that all Woods needed to do was eclipse Jack Nicklaus’ record of 14 major tournament wins and then Eldrick Woods could claim the coveted “greatest of all time” tag for himself. A couple of years ago it appeared that Tiger was a shoo-in for that accolade, but now after his well-publicized meltdown, where his infidelities were exposed Tiger has certainly not been the same Tiger of old.

He has not been seen brandishing his putter like a mesmerizing sword while he danced about the green in a whirling dervish victory celebration. In addition, he has been chastised for spitting on greens.

In fact, Tiger Woods hasn’t won a tournament since a year ago last Thanksgiving when he wrecked his Escalade and wife Elin may or may not have used Tiger’s head as a shag ball. I was surprised to see how IMG, Tiger’s agents, handled the “problem” Tiger faced due to his multiple infidelities. Heretofore, athletes caught being unfaithful would appear on television with their wives. They would express their apologies, ask for forgiveness and then present their wives with diamond rings and diamond bracelets worth a few million dollars and all would be forgiven. At any rate, that scenario did not work for Tiger.    

Tiger Woods’ excuses for his poor play are feeble at best. Hiring various “swing doctors” to put his game together makes you wonder why a golfer who has hit hundreds of thousands of golf shots doesn’t know more about his own golf swing.

Woods’ excuses concerning his golf just don’t hold water. He says his swing is a “process.” He says he is “close” to getting back to being the Tiger of old. While he once holed most of the putts he looked at, now he misses an alarming number from short range.

Golf writers often make excuses for Tiger. Tim Rosaforte stated, “Tiger is tired.” I would agree with Rosaforte, Tiger is tired, tired of missing the cup on so many occasions.

At one time in the past I would have described his putting as “supernatural.” That definitely is not the situation now. Will he win again? I’d think so, but golf can be a funny game. It can come and go.

Feinstein, in a recent article for “Golf World,” indicated how the game needs Woods to bolster TV ratings, to shore up sponsorships, and to draw galleries to tournament sites, but Tiger Woods doesn’t deserve a pass on his prior actions. In other words, Feinstein feels Tiger should not be perceived as the victim in a melodrama of his own making.

One thing for certain, Tiger’s rise or his demise will be interesting for his backers or his detractors.

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