Give Up Golfer
Withdrawal pains: Tiger Woods turns into Michelle Wie at The Players
One of the many things you could always count on with Tiger Woods is a great sense of professionalism. No golfer took more pride in going to work, in punching the clock, in being the ultimate pro's pro, than the No. 1 golfer in the world.
Before his Wilt-Chamberlain-level secret personal life blew up in the press, Tiger would have died if anyone suggested that he'd ever taken a shortcut.
He missed so few cuts because he never allowed himself to let up. No matter how bad he was swinging, no matter how much pain he might be in, no matter how far he stood down the leaderboard, Tiger Woods always finished what he started.
Until today ... until Tiger Woods turned into Michelle Wie on Mother's Day,
Woods' withdrawal from the The Players Championship on the seventh hole of a final round that was going nowhere is the stuff of Wie, one of the most fragile, misguided talents in modern sports. OK, it's not quite as egregious as Wie withdrawing from the Ginn Tribute in 2007 after 16 holes because she knew she was about to shoot higher than 88 as an amateur, triggering the 88-Rule and an automatic ban from playing in LPGA events for the rest of the year. But, it's in the same ballpark.
And when did you ever think you could reasonably compare Tiger Woods to Michelle Wie?
No one's questioning whether Tiger's neck is really hurting him. The upcoming MRI could very well reveal he's been playing with a bulging disk (with the juicy, but so far completely unfounded speculation being that Woods suffered the injury in that infamous wild driveway ride and never recovered).
The debate isn't whether Tiger is hurt. It's whether he could have continued. There's little doubt that the pre-sex-scandal Tiger would have given it a better try. Do you really think Tiger would have packed it in if he was leading the Players or even in contention at the time? This is a guy who dragged a largely useless leg around Torrey Pines for 90 holes to win the greatest U.S. Open of all time. Where did that warrior go?
Suddenly, the most committed athlete in sports seems to be taking the easy way out — more and more. He was barely in the Top 50 of the Players' leaderboard, having started the day 10 shots off the lead, so ...
Tiger will not go full Wie until he puts a string of dubious withdrawals together (and you can't call this one dubious, just un-Tiger-like), but for him to even be in the same conversation with the Give Up Queen is shocking.
Woods' swing isn't his biggest problem anymore. The larger issue is that he's forgotten what it means to be Tiger Woods.