Why Tiger Woods Struggling Is The Best Thing To Happen To Golf
I don't think I need to start this off by reminding you how great Tiger Woods used to be.
He's an 11-time PGA Tour Player of the Year. He has won 14 major championships. In 2000, he signed a five-year, $105 million endorsement deal with Nike, which was the largest athlete endorsement in history.
Tiger Woods was the king of the world. He transformed the objectively-boring game of golf into must-see Sunday afternoon television. You wanted to see how badly Tiger was going to destroy everyone else, and the 18th hole was his victory lap.
It didn't matter if he had a 10-stroke advantage, or if he was in fifth place; you had to witness his excellence.
I also don't think I need to remind everyone of his recent decline in the past few years.
Ever since Tiger Woods was caught sleeping with every hostess and waitress across the continental United States, he's gone from top of the class to middle, at best.
Now, Tiger has grown a conspicuous villain beard, and didn't even make the cut at last weekend's PGA Championship.
Though Woods is approaching irrelevancy, golf is the most exciting and interesting it has been in years, and this Sunday's PGA Championship proved that. There's a new wave of talented golfers, and for the first time in my lifetime, golf tournaments are finally competitive.
Players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and now Jason Day lead the pack for more enjoyable Sundays.
Rory McIlroy has been crowned the next big thing. He is one of three golfers to win three majors by the age of 25. The other two golfers are Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. McIlroy is one of the highest-paid athletes on the planet, and outside of Tiger, he's the most recognizable.
I personally love him because he broke up his engagement with professional tennis player Caroline Wozniacki over the phone. That's 100 percent something I would do after becoming the number-one golfer in the world.
Just when you thought McIlroy was the next big thing, in comes Jordan Spieth, in the midst of one of the greatest single seasons in golf history. He's already won the Masters and the US Open, and he finished second at the PGA Championship this past weekend.
On top of that, his worst finish this year has been fourth at the British Open. Fourth! That's ridiculous.
At age 22, Spieth is poised to stick around on top for at least another decade.
What makes Dustin Johnson so appealing isn't necessarily related to anything he's done on the green. Dustin Johnson is an absolute rock star. He's married to Wayne Gretzky's daughter, which is a massive accomplishment in itself.
Johnson's also been suspended for failing drug tests. He does coke and smashes golf balls -- that's all he knows.
Of all these golfers, no background story is as compelling as 2015 PGA Championship winner Jason Day. When Day's father passed away at age 12, he became a troubled teenager taking to the streets to drink and fight.
Money was so tight in the Day household, his mother used to cut the lawn with a knife, cutting every blade of grass individually because they couldn't afford a lawnmower.
After being sent to boarding school with the money his mother received from mortgaging their home, he discovered golf, and the journey to becoming the winner of the 2015 PGA Championship began.
Day didn't just sneak by everyone; he finished 20 strokes under par. This is not the last time we'll see Jason Day holding up a trophy.
But it's not just the decline of Tiger Woods that makes golf great again, and it's not the rise of new superstars; it's the perfect combination of both.
You don't tune in just to watch Rory McIlroy crush 350-yard drives and Jordan Spieth's sense of calm and composure on every putt, regardless of difficulty. You also tune in to see if this is the week Tiger challenges the new blood.
Whether Tiger Woods can dust himself off and figure out it or not, it doesn't matter.
The sport of golf is stuffed with talent and will be flourishing with or without Tiger for years to come.