The Masters, The U.S Open, The Tour Championship, Player of the Year and just over 22 million in tour winnings. Not a bad year for the fresh face of the future of golf, Jordan Speith and another reminder of the relentless passage of time.
Now I am going to say something that might sound like sacrilege, but bear with me for a moment. The year that Jordan Speith has had might be just what golf needs to overcome its infatuation with Eldrick Woods. First let me say that I have never been a Tiger hater or lover. I, like most other golf fans have marveled at his accomplishments and being in the golf business was appreciative of what Tiger Woods did for the game. I didn’t mind when the most dominant player in the world was knocked off of his perch; however, I have to admit the depth of his decline has been very disturbing. I am just not comfortable watching the most transcendent force in golf reduced to a mere mortal, reminding me of my mortality. I know that my father once told me that father time has never lost a match.
But with the spectacular “year of Speith” maybe we can avoid watching every Tiger miscue, muttered expletive and wayward shot. Maybe the incessant talk of “the chase for Jack’s record” and the micro analysis of every ache and pain will give way to normal golf coverage and replay of his good shots not the disasters. Maybe, just maybe this will alleviate some of the self imposed pressure that works its way into every one of Tiger’s events and allow him to enjoy playing the game that he was master of for so very long.
I see no way around Tiger Woods waning as the greatest draw in golf. It is the normal progression of time and hopefully the season Speith had may help us with that process. I just hope that there is some way that as fans we will be able to let Tiger age gracefully like Tom Watson. I know that if Tiger stands on the 72nd green in The Open with a putt to win at age 59, I will be rooting for him to make it and hope he doesn’t break my heart like Tom did in 2009. If that does happen, we may be able to slow the hands of time for a fleeting moment.