Tiger Woods announced Wednesday that he would be missing his second straight major after getting back surgery earlier this year.
Okay, sure, he is stuck on 14 major titles (four shy of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18). And maybe he hasn’t won one since since the 2008 U.S. Open. But the sport that Tiger Woods took on his back and carried into the mainstream back in the late 1990s and early 2000s is now crumbling on his back too — his injured and recovering back.
In April’s Masters, a tournament won by popular golfer Bubba Watson, the fewest amount of viewers since 1993 tuned in, around 8.6 million people.
With Woods, the most household name in golf relegated to sitting on his couch during the U.S. Open, taking place the second weekend in June, the ratings don’t seem likely to tick up when play begins at Pinehurst in North Carolina.
There is little doubt the networks that cover the majors, CBS and NBC, are preparing their “Get Well Soon” cards for Woods.
Guys like Adam Scott, Rory Mcilroy and even Phil Mickelson just can’t seem to fill the void for the average viewer. Why is that?
Woods just has that aggressive style of play. That win-at-all-costs mentality that viewers like to see. And he has a chance to be the greatest. Like Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky. The kind of athlete that comes once in a generation.
He’s also the queen of drama. His ex-wife, the way he treats the media and his fans. His childhood and his long and incredible career. Literature couldn’t create a character like Tiger Woods.
And that’s why network television, the PGA Tour and sports fans across the globe better hope Woods, now 38-years-old and on the last leg of being able to compete for major titles, returns soon.
Follow Metro Philadelphia sports editor Evan Macy on Twitter @evan_macy