Mac Engel

Tiger's legacy will ultimately feel like it lipped out

Champion golfer of the year Jordan Spieth drinks beer from Claret Jug with Randy Rogers

Two days before his 24th birthday, Spieth had a lot to celebrate Monday when he showed up to the House of Blues in Dallas to Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers' "Hold My Beer & Watch This" tour stop.
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Two days before his 24th birthday, Spieth had a lot to celebrate Monday when he showed up to the House of Blues in Dallas to Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers' "Hold My Beer & Watch This" tour stop.

The champagne pop echoes you hear are from CBS and PGA Tour officials celebrating because not only is it Masters Week, but their cash cow is back at the same time.

Tiger Woods, you have been sorely missed.

It's telling that since Tiger's personal life, body and game all went into the rough, the rise of golf's "young stars" have not come close to making the sport relevant like he can. Not a Rory. Not a Justin. Not a Dustin.

Phil Mickelson actually enjoyed a wonderful, winning career. And he's not Tiger.

God knows we media scum have tried to find, and or create, Tiger's equal.

Tiger last won a major in 2008, and after such a long stretch away, the 42-year-old is at last playing competitive golf, and in doing so is here to save the game.

While it will always be fun to follow Woods, don't plan on him doing anything for the sport other than playing it. Since '08, we should know we can't count on Tiger to do anything other than take care of Tiger.

Never has there been a greater gift to his sport who has let it down any more than Woods. Because, in the end, his priority is Tiger and nothing else.

It's his right, but what a waste. Tiger should be celebrated as the greatest golfer since Jack Nicklaus, and lamented for what could have been a significance on something far greater than 18 holes.

With 14 major championships, Tiger should have easily caught and broken Jack's record of 18. Tiger should have put this record so far out of reach that it would rank with Cy Young's 511 career wins, Wayne Gretzky's 215 points in a single season, or Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game.

With more celebrity than any golfer ever, and recognized on an international level the way few ever are, Tiger had tremendous power to do ... pretty much anything he wanted.

Tiger had no problem standing on the shoulders of so many who came before him, and chose to shrug his own in return.

Tiger had the opportunity to empower, to speak out, to educate. He created his own foundation and charity, which he deserves credit, but there was so much more to be had. So many more lives to affect.

We are talking about the first athlete, per Forbes, to be worth more than $1 billion.

Instead of being Muhammad Ali, Tiger is O.J. Simpson and Michael Jordan — just another high profile athlete who fell in love with, and now demands, all of the benefits of fame without any of her considerable hassles, specifically dealing with the masses underneath them.

In September of 1997, comedian Chris Rock aired a piece on his HBO show exploring Tiger's impact in the African American community. Having joined the PGA Tour the previous year, Woods was quite the story and prodigy.

Dressed as Woods, Rock drove a golf cart with a set of clubs into Harlem to see the Tiger impact.

Because Rock is a smart comedian, he was going for the joke, because that is Woods' impact on the African American community. Rock knew it then, and we've seen it now.

Tiger's greatest impact has been on Tiger. Good and bad.

We should have known back in '09, when his marriage went to the toilet, this is how this was going to go down. When his personal life went to hell, by his own making, one of the first items on his chore list was to shoot a commercial for Nike.

On the course, Tiger had always behaved like a petulant, four-letter-word-spewing brat. When a guy is as good as Tiger, we'll deal with it, and classify such behaviors as "competitive."

However as the remainder of Tiger's career plays out, age says he's on the final round of being competitive at the highest level.

Like you, I'll be watching.

Golf is better with Tiger playing in the final group on Sunday, and for the sake of our collective interest, hopefully he will tame Amen Corner and be in it until the final hole at Augusta.

Tiger Woods has been a fascinating, and captivating, career to follow, even if he could have done so much more.

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