The Big Mac Blog

Spieth lost but golf has finally moved on from Tiger

Jordan Spieth (left) looks away after handing Masters champion Danny Willett the new Green Jacket that Spieth should have been wearing for a second consecutive year.
Jordan Spieth (left) looks away after handing Masters champion Danny Willett the new Green Jacket that Spieth should have been wearing for a second consecutive year. TNS

Jordan Spieth will get over it but no one will never forget his Greg Norman on the back nine at Augusta. Like Jean van de Velde and so many others, “To Spieth” is now a verb.

It would have been better for golf and the PGA had Spieth closed out what until the final turn had been a historic first three-and-a-half days at Bobby Jones’ playground. But Spieth blew it and that is now a part of his resume; it will not be the end of Spieth’s career, nor will it relegate him down to the Hooter’s Tour.

Even if golf’s new star did not wear the green jacket again both the game and the PGA did have a successful development at The Master’s: We are over Tiger.

We are no longer waiting, or needing, for Tiger to be Tiger. We now all accept that he’s just a JAG - Just a Guy. He’s made too much money and he is no more a threat to catch Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles, even if Tiger says otherwise.

It would have been better had that pursuit continued but it didn’t and that is (finally) OK. Tiger is 40 and he’s done. Tiger is content and we are finally content with that.

He’s still hurt and when he comes back no longer matters. We have moved on.

No sport in recent memory has had a more difficult time moving on from its favorite star than golf from Tiger Woods. Ever since his private life went into the dumper, the most powerful man in sports has never been the same. The PGA felt the full effects of the demise of Tiger Woods.

Golf enjoyed a growth spurt and unparalleled international visibility when Tiger was lapping the field. The PGA paid a steep price when he no longer was able to return to the absurd standard of excellence he set for himself, and for us. We were consumed with Tiger even when he wasn’t winning. Hell, we were consumed with Tiger when he wasn’t even playing.

Like all of the great ones before him in any sport, Tiger made dominating look laughably easy. Whether it’s Michael’s Bulls, Steph’s Warriors or Roger Federer’s racquet, we love watching dominance even if we don’t love the sport.

And watching a wonderful golfer like Spieth fall apart we are reminded that domination of the world’s best is exceptionally difficult and not for the meek.

Tiger has 14 majors titles and said he can still catch Nicklaus, but nothing of late suggests that will happen. His chase of Jack was a captivating story, even when it was not happening.

Tiger has not won a Major since the U.S. Open in 2008. Jack won three majors after turning 40, including the 1986 Masters when he was 46.

Now the most interesting part about Tiger are his occasional temper tantrums on the course, and his pursuit of cute blondes away from the fairways.

Maybe Tiger will play in the U.S. Open in Oakmont in June. Or maybe he won’t.

Like so many predicted when Tiger was dominating, he elevated both the game and the players to be better. The good players caught him. The problem was we were not captivated it because we clung to what was rather than admiring what is.

From Rory to Spieth and so many others “what is” are a slew of great new players.

Tiger will come back and he will always be welcome but, finally, Tiger needs golf and the PGA more than they need him.