“It’s easy to write about Tiger Woods.
Not so much about the rest of the golf world.
The first round of the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio began Thursday. Some familiar names are near the top of the leaderboard: Steve Strickler, Rocco Mediate, Vijay Singh, K.J. Choi. Of course, one of the headlines of the weekend is the absence of one player. The man who won the 2008 U.S. Open on a broken leg as the entire world watched.
Chris Riley is leading the Memorial after the first round with a score of -6.
Tiger fell. He was on top of the world, and it all came crashing down. We saw the press conference, read the news articles, and watched Woods struggle on the golf course and at home. Thousands of stories on Tiger have been written by hundreds of sports journalists.
And now, there’s nothing.
He hasn’t won since 2009. He’s played in just five events this year. He lost the Accenture Match in the first round as a No. 1 seed. He withdrew from The Players Championship last month. He’s ranked No. 84 on the 2011 PGA money list, and is now ranked No. 13 in the world after holding the top spot for so long.
Josh Teater and Chris DiMarco are tied for second in the Memorial Tournament, one shot behind Riley.
Despite his struggles, Tiger’s remained the face of the sport. He still has million dollar endorsements from Nike, Gatorade, Buick, and others. ESPN made it easy with the “Tiger Tracker” for all things Tiger. When he says he still expects to play in the U.S. Open, nothing new from what he said a couple days before, it shows up on SportsCenter. When Tiger Woods speaks, the world holds its breath while it listens.
Luke Donald is the world’s highest ranked golf player, through May 29.
The U.S. Open is two weeks away. TV ratings will jump. Millions of viewers will tune in just to watch Woods. Then ratings will go back down as Tiger skips more events.
Phil Mickelson, probably the sport’s second-most recognizable name, is the highest ranked American on the world list at fourth place.
Tiger Woods is beyond the level of superstar. He is golf. I haven’t watched any golf on TV when he wasn’t playing. Despite his poor play and off-the-course issues, he has been an enormous financial benefit for his sponsors and the PGA, before and since his most recent downfall.
Tiger’s stumbled before. We’ll never forget his heartache after the passing of his father. He struggled on the course for a short time before once again becoming larger than life. He’s done it before, he can do it again.
Bubba Watson is currently the FedEx Cup points leader.
It’s hard to write about the world of golf without Tiger.
It’s easy to write about him.”