Saturday, February 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Commentary: Tiger may have to learn when to leave

By
From page B6 | August 10, 2014 |

PGA Championship Golf

Tiger Woods walks up the 18 green during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Doug Ferguson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tiger Woods is no longer being compared with Jack Nicklaus.

Now the reference is to the great Willie Mays falling down in center field trying to catch a fly ball. Or to Joe Louis entering the ring one time too many — and leaving it through the ropes after getting knocked out by Rocky Marciano.

Those were sad moments in sports.

As bad as Woods looked over two days at the PGA Championship, it would be premature to say this was another one.

But it sure looked that way.

Really, was it any worse than three years ago at the PGA Championship?

Woods missed two majors in the summer of 2011 to let his leg injuries heal, the ones that caused him to withdraw after nine holes and a 42 at The Players Championship. He returned to finish 18 shots out of the lead at Firestone and then missed the cut at the PGA Championship by six shots.

He was 35. Now he’s 38.

It had been three years since he last won a major. Now it’s six.

He had played only one event heading into the final major of the year in 2011, never shot worse than 72 and tied for 37th.

This time, Woods was returning from back surgery that kept him out of the Masters and U.S. Open. He had three starts before the final major — including the British Open. He missed the cut by four shots, had his worst 72-hole finish in a major and withdrew from the final round at Firestone with a different back injury. And then he waited until the last day to show up at Valhalla, played nine holes of practice and couldn’t beat five club pros.

Woods said he was pain-free after playing nine holes Wednesday. He said his back was a little stiff after a 74 on Thursday. And he said his back “went out on me” on the range and “I just had to play through it” on his way to another 74.

“I didn’t really notice that,” Phil Mickelson said when asked about Woods’ injury. “I just noticed that really on the greens the ball wasn’t going in the hole.”

Ouch.

The trouble assessing injuries is that only the athlete knows how bad it hurts. It’s even more complicated when the athlete — Woods — isn’t forthcoming about it.

Is this the end? Not yet.

But it most likely is the end of Woods as golf once knew him. The end of a guy who once won seven out of 11 majors, and who got to 79 wins on the PGA Tour more quickly than anyone in history.

Woods always talked about his pursuit of Nicklaus and the record 18 professional majors as a marathon. He’s approaching Heartbreak Hill with four knee surgeries and back problems that keep cropping up.

Golf is the one sport you can play forever, which makes it the toughest sport from which to retire.

That might be Woods’ next big challenge.

Nine years ago in the parking lot at Doral, as Woods was about to embark on his next great run in the majors, he said he wouldn’t be on tour forever.

“I’ll definitely quit the game earlier than people think,” Woods said. “The only reason I would play is the occasional tournament if my son is good enough to be out there, and he chooses to play.”

This was four years before his son was born.

“When my best isn’t good enough to win anymore, I’m walking,” Woods said. “I’ve won tournaments when I wasn’t playing my best. If I play my best and don’t win, there’s no reason to be out here.”

They all say that. But how do they really know?

Football players lose a step. A great hitter doesn’t see the ball quite as well.

Golfers don’t make as many putts.

“You’ll know when I’m not able to produce any more,” Woods said that day. “I don’t lie. When I play well, I tell you guys. When I haven’t played well, I’ll tell you.”

All he could say Friday afternoon at Valhalla was, “I tried as hard as I could. That’s all I’ve got.”

He is four PGA Tour wins away from breaking the record of Sam Snead (82). He is five majors away from breaking the major championship record by Nicklaus (18). Woods has been stuck on 14 majors since 2008 at the U.S. Open.

Woods did win five times last year before back trouble began to take its toll. Don’t give up on him just yet. But each year he gets older, and someone new comes along. Rory McIlroy played his first pro event in America the same week Woods returned from reconstructive knee surgery. Jordan Spieth showed up in a big way last year.

It’s not getting any easier.

The plan for Woods was to spend his time off getting stronger in his core muscles. Woods talks about not burning the candle at both ends — working in the gym and working at golf. His biggest rival now might be time. Either way, the wax is melting.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    US / World

     
    Man shoots wife, himself at Northern Calif. retirement home

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    Thieves crash car through electronics store in San Francisco

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Some California farmers to go without federal water

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 2 Comments | Gallery

    US appeals court: Marathon bombing trial can stay in Boston

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Congress OKs 1-week bill to keep Homeland Security open

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments | Gallery

    US rescinds rule requiring judges to move to Guantanamo

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    US, Liberia start 1st formal test of ZMapp Ebola virus drug

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Woman knocked out by eggs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

    Unmasking of ‘Jihadi John’ as a London lad shocks Britain

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    Mexico official: Police capture top capo ‘La Tuta’ Gomez

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Well-educated ‘Jihadi John’ no surprise to experts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Opinion

    How GOP can resolve immigration mess

    By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A8, 8 Comments

     
    Unlikely winners of Greece’s surrender on euro

    By Mark Gilbert | From Page: A8

    A remedy for veterans’ care

    By Bill Frist And Jim Marshall | From Page: A8

     
    Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    .

    Living

    Today in History: Feb. 28, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

     
    Poem about heaven helps dog owners when beloved pet dies

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

    Coca-Cola bottle as art? Atlanta’s High Museum takes a look

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Entertainment

     
    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

    .

    Sports

    Thompson scores 25 points, Warriors rout Raptors 113-89

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Casey McGehee’s move to Giants a homecoming of sorts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Vaca advances three wrestlers into semis at Masters

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

     
    Spurs snap 4-game skid, beat short-handed Kings 107-96

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    MLS Commissioner Garber: Hopeful season will start on time

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Travis Kvapil’s NASCAR car stolen from hotel before race

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    McIlroy to miss cut at Honda Classic; Reed leads

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    NHL fines Sharks’ Couture $5,000 for tripping from behind

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Browns agree to terms with quarterback Josh McCown

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Kyle Busch released from hospital following foot surgery

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Bulls expect Derrick Rose back this season from knee surgery

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Testimony: Several Hernandez texts are missing from phone

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Approaching ‘last call’ for NHL GMs to tweak rosters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    PGA Tour to move Match Play to Texas

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Notre Dame president credited for transforming school dies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    This date in sports history for Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    .

    Business

    Gas prices soar in California as supply shrinks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    5 reasons US economy is stronger than Q4 GDP suggests

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

    Tribes from around US gather to discuss legal marijuana

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Uber says database containing driver info was breached

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    Signed contracts to buy US homes rise to 18-month high

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Fiat Chrysler recalls 467K SUVs for possible stalling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Southwest nearly done inspecting planes that were grounded

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    .

    Obituaries

    Gabriel T. Traub

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    Maria Kraszewski

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Home Seller 2/28/2015

    Right at Home: Decor made of bicycle parts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2Comments are off for this post | Gallery

    Real estate transactions for Feb. 28, 2015

    By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

    Average US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.80 percent

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3