This isn’t a joke. Despite the fact it’s April 1st, Tiger Woods announced today that he won’t be playing at Augusta later this month. This is a tough blow, not only for Tiger, but for The Masters. It’s the first time in two decades that the most storied golfer in the the sport won’t be playing on the most storied course in the sport. ESPN and CBS have lost a large chunk of their audience before the biggest golf tournament in the world ever teed off.
Tiger has always viewed The Masters as a “can’t miss.” And this news sends shockwaves through all sports because it may be the sign that we are seeing the down side of the career. We are currently seeing the physical break downs of Kobe Bryant in the NBA and Derek Jeter in baseball. We know Tiger has had knee and back issues before, but he never missed The Masters. Tiger missing The Masters is the equivalent to a husband missing his wedding anniversary or his wife’s birthday. It’s circled on the calendar every year. You can’t miss it.
Woods endless pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ 18 Majors will bring him back to the golf course sooner rather than later. But this injury and this surgery will put serious doubt as to whether or not Tiger can catch Jack. When Jack won The Masters in 1986 at age 46, he wasn’t battling back and knee issues. Tiger will be limited for the rest of his career and that’s one that may end with 14 majors.