Australian golfing great Peter Thomson has written off Tiger Woods as a spent force and says the 14-times major champion will never regain his aura of invincibility. Woods in 2010 failed to win a tournament in a calendar year for the first time in his 14-season professional career and has been reduced to the World No. 2 ranking.
Thomson believes Woods’s marriage breakdown and the public humiliation he endured after his serial adultery was exposed has shattered the 35-year-old’s confidence. His carefully stage-managed apology in the sanctuary of the US PGA Tour’s Florida headquarters tried to address rumours raging worldwide about his infidelity. It effectively laid to rest three tumultuous months of non-stop speculation about his personal life, including a 45-day stretch in rehab for sex addiction.
The apology tried to paint a picture of a fallen idol, not one broken beyond repair.
Some sponsors stuck, some bailed. Sports Illustrated recently reported Woods, 35, had lost $20 million in endorsements last year. The mid-year divorce – and reported $750 million payout – took a massive toll on him, as a person and an athlete. But, using the mental powers that have served him so well, he has been at pains to point out none of his personal woes was a factor once he stood on the first tee.
However as we know with Tiger Woods, every time we think we have uncovered this almost freak like man’s talents he surprises us with something else incredible.
His golf peers are not afraid of him anymore and there seems to be a new crop of players coming up and the Tiger era is already finished,” Thomson told the November edition of Australian Golf Digest, due out next Wednesday.
The thing that seemed to separate Woods from the rest of his fellow pros is the ego that Woods possessed and was flying high on. Now though, the professionals of equal ability have had that disadvantage taken away due to Wood’s recent humiliation and as a result are flourishing in the new ‘Tiger free’ environment.
Wood’s aura that had led him to 14 Major titles has disappeared and it seems hard to believe that he will ever regain the invincibility he once had. The new swing that Tiger is trying to incorporate is the work of Sean Foley, Tiger’s new coach.
He will have a tough act to follow after the huge success of Hank Haney, however when the new swing clicks, there are doubtless signs that Woods can be the player who once threatened to leave Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors in the dust. But when things go awry, as they have with far greater regularity than in previous seasons, the bloke who raced to 14 majors aged 32 is no longer the immovable object at the top of the world golf pile.
The question is what will Tiger provide us with in the coming years, because doubtlessly he has at least another 10 years in him. The problem for Tiger is whether he will regain that dominance that he once had or whether players like McIlroy and Westwood will take the front seat from now onwards.