May 15, 2019
We Miss Tiger Woods So Much But We Will Still Watch The Masters Golf Thing And Bet On It Anyway
I love Tiger Woods. My relationship to him is admittedly unhealthy. He is one of the few sports figures that, when he does not perform well, I get physically ill. When the world discovered he had an unquenchable thirst for porn stars and Waffle House waitresses, I really didn’t care. I was immediately and irrationally able to separate his sexy-time activities from the sports icon that I will forever be able to forgive. Your opinions on the matter? Not of my concern. I will always be a Tiger apologist.
The Masters (this is a hallowed golf championship thing for you people that live in a sportsball-free cave) is this weekend, and for the first time since 1995, Tiger Woods won’t be strolling around Augusta National with a middle-aged white guy carrying his clubs behind him. There will be no Sunday roar, no awkward high-fives, no ESPN Tiger Watch. Well, I do prefer Panda Watch, personally, so at least there’s that.
I heard a sports radio host bemoan the fact that Tiger has had no rivals, like the good old days of Jack and Arnie. No one stepped up and went toe-to-toe with Tiger, challenged him to a duel. Host, you are totally missing the point. Tiger did have a rival. From 1999 to 2008, Tiger Woods was so dominant, so beyond any of his peers, that his rival was simply EVERYONE ELSE PLAYING GOLF.
On any given weekend that he put on his golf spikes and fancy pants, this was a legitimate rivalry. During that time it was a completely reasonable belief that betting on Tiger to win was a better bet than betting on any other golfer playing that tournament, particularly at Majors, and especially at Augusta.
We don’t get that this weekend. We haven’t had it in a while, to be honest, with Tiger’s ho-trains and injuries and all. But as long as Tiger showed up, the hope has never gone away, and we could fantasize that this would be the one to get him back on track. But it never happened.
The Masters tournament, however, goes on. And here’s some totally made up opinions based on real stats when you go try to look smart at Friday’s office happy hour.
Now, before you go all “Oh, Adam Scott is pretty” or “Ooooo, he used to be sponsored by Burberry,” know this: there have only been three repeat winners in the history of the Masters. Jack Nicklaus in 1965 and ’66, Nick Faldo in ’89 and ’90 and Tiger Woods in 2001 and ’02. And that’s it. That doesn’t bode well for Scott, last year’s winner. And he’s also Australian.
No really, he’s Australian. And the United States has dominated the Masters. U.S. golfers have worn the green jacket 57 times. If you guessed South Africa was next on the list, give yourself a high-five. It has had five winners. Five. Australia? Adam Scott. And that’s it. With his heritage and the repeat factors, I say count out Scott, along with fellow countryman Jason Day and any other Aussie that may suit your fancy. Other than Faldo’s repeat, no country outside of the U.S. has had back-to-back winners, let alone two different golfers from a country other than the U.S. win in back-to-back years.
This year, it’s a solid bet that someone from outside of our borders pulls through. England’s Justin Rose has shown a flair for the dramatic. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy is only about 18 months removed from being the “next Tiger Woods.” (Frankly, I don’t think the little guy has the stamina for the Waffle House crowd). Both are in the world top ten. South African Charl Schwartzel and Englishmen Luke Donald and Ian Poulter are a few names outside of the top ten to select with comfortable boldness. See? Look at all those golf names you know now!
If you refuse to consider the possibility of foreign winners because ‘Merica, then there are a few possibilities, like Bubba Watson, the Southerner with a heart of gold and one green jacket to his name. Zach Johnson and Keegan Bradley are other top-20 ‘Mericans to keep an eye on. My red, white and blue sleeper to make noise into the weekend is Rickie Fowler. He’ll be the one dressed like an oompa-loompa.
The weather looks dry and clear for the weekend, so if all else fails just tell your friends that 12 under will be the number to beat come Sunday, and you’ll sound super sportsball smart.