In the early days of 1990, a fair argument could be made that the Planet’s most recognizable athlete was Mike Tyson. Standing 37-0, Tyson was the Heavyweight Champ of the World and he had dominated the sport for 3-5 years, depending upon how you want to timestamp his arrival.
And then came 2/11/90.
On that night, in Tokyo, Tyson lost his belt and his aura when James “Buster” Douglass knocked him on his ass. From that moment on, it was all over for Tyson. Two years later he was sent to jail for raping Desiree Washington, and five years after that, Tyson turned cannibal in a fight with Evander Holyfield. Since then, Tyson has struggled with drugs, tattooed his face, lost fights to extras from Rocky V and has taken up the sport of pigeon racing. Yes, pigeon racing. The downward spiral is complete.
So I ask you this. One day, will we look back at 11/27/09 as the night it all started to come undone for Tiger Woods?
First there was the “accident” And then there was Rachel. And then a dozen other girls. And then a separation. And then the ridiculous apology. And then the stint in sexual rehab. And then the big “Masters” moment that didn’t quite happen. And then the missed cut at Quail Hollow. And then the withdrawl from The Players. And now ….. the “injury.”
With all that, is it not within reason to wonder whether it is all falling apart for this guy?
Through most of this, I would have said it’s merely a major distraction for the World’s greatest golfer. Once he gets back on the course and starts winning, much of this will fade away. But news of this neck injury is another matter entirely. Now the guy is possibly hurt. And hurt in the wrong place.
So it is now possible that we have an injured star who also happens to be one with a little PR problem. Having said that, I ask whether it is a reach to think that the next news we get on Tiger is that he has taken up smoking and fired his caddy? Or that he has gained twenty-five pounds and is now hanging out with Bobcat Stephen Jackson? Might Tiger, abandoned by his friends, now just move to the dark side and go bad boy?
My thesis was Tiger had dug himself a hole and he was going to dig himself out by winning golf tournaments. But let’s assume he is now hurt and that isn’t in the cards, at least not for a while. So basically, we are left with a golfer who can’t swing a club and a guy who nobody really likes. At least nobody other than Tiger’s managers and his ladies. Are you telling me that isn’t a recipe for big fall?
I’m not saying that Tiger is as vulnerable as Tyson because he isn’t. But I am saying that if this injury is serious, Jack Nicklaus might not have to worry about someone taking out his record for major championships anytime soon, or ever at all for that matter. I mean let’s be honest here. Tiger is thirty-five and if this disk issue is a big deal, there is no telling when he gets his game back or if he gets it back. And if he doesn’t get it back, is it stretch to think that one day, Tiger will be paired up with Tyson in the semi-finals of the U.S. Pigeon Racing Open?