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The Open will prosper despite absence of Woods

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Iain Carter | 20:31 UK time, Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Tiger Woods or his replacement Jason Dufner? Who would you prefer to grace your tournament?

Of course you want Woods to be there and the former world number one's absence at Sandwich next week after he failed to recover from injury is undoubtedly a blow to the Open Championship.

Woods is still, by some distance, the biggest name in golf and draws fans wherever he plays. When he eventually returns from injury it will be a very significant story.

But next week's Open Championship is perfectly capable of prospering without this 14- time major champion. In fact it is hard to remember a more eagerly anticipated running of the game's oldest major, even though we now have confirmation that Woods is not playing.

There is no question of an asterisk being attached to the eventual winner either. Whoever triumphs will be a deserving winner of the Claret Jug and no-one will qualify the achievement by saying: "Ah yes, but Tiger Woods wasn't there."

Why would that be the case in a year in which Woods has already fallen to number 17 in the world?

Tiger Woods

Woods suffered a recurrence of knee and Achilles tendon injuries at May's Players Championship. Photo: Getty images.

It ultimately didn't apply when he was at home recovering from knee surgery instead of being at the Open in 2008 when he was then the reigning US Open champion. No-one questions Padraig Harrington's right to be called a three-time major winner and we have not heard any claims that Rory McIlroy's victory at the US Open was in any way diminished by Woods' absence.

Any negative impact this time will be felt in American television figures. They were significantly down at Congressional last month and given the current paucity of American success in the majors the appetite for the Open across the Atlantic is unlikely to be at its most voracious.

Here in Britain, though, it is hard to imagine any dip in viewing figures or attendances at Royal St George's.

Three years ago more than 200,000 fans turned up in often miserable weather at Royal Birkdale to witness Harrington's victory. The feel-good factor around UK golf was nowhere near as great then as it is heading into this Championship.

Britons Luke Donald and Lee Westwood head the world rankings, but it is the man who is currently ranked three who is the even bigger deal. McIlroy's maiden major win was of such epic proportions that he was threatening to be the centre of attention whether or not Woods was playing.

Now there is no doubting that the curly haired 22-year-old from Northern Ireland will be top of the bill on the Kent coast. He will provide a compelling storyline throughout the week which will present its own challenges for him.

Woods, meanwhile, is left to continue his quest for full fitness. His desire to be 100% recovered before he plays again is the sensible course and now we are left to wonder whether he will achieve that objective in time for next month's US PGA in Atlanta.

Will he be among those in America who do tune in to watch the Open? If he does, I can't help feeling that he will be royally entertained by those competing in his absence.

Who knows, his replacement Dufner, who was not even first-choice reserve but gained his place because Brendan Jones chose to stay with his heavily-pregnant wife, might even do a Ben Curtis and provide us with another unheralded Sandwich winner.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    To be fair IC I don't think anyone has been saying anything about the woods absence for a long time now and there was really no mention of Rory winning a w/o Woods US Open.Even if he had played, he was a lively outsider at best due to rust and a longshot at sandwich.He will get his game back in time and squeeze a few more majors in but not this year.I think an english player will win the jug, I don't bet but just sense it. A donald,westwood,poulter,casey year it shall be.Long overdue and they will pop up one of these days and I feel it now!

  • Comment number 2.

    Yes, shame there'll be no Tiger - he brings something which nobody else can - but Rory is the story right now (rather hope he wins actually) and the Open will be engrossing as it always is.

  • Comment number 3.

    Well to be honest I'm not a Woods fan, I have seen him play and win and he was great at that time. Far too much of negative world wide scandal has impacted his mental well being. He is totally demoralised and who would not be? He has to recover mentally as well as physically and become a nicer person. Woods has to do what all the other great pros have done over the years i.e. smile, be curtious, sign many autographs and most of all be a sincere and honest. He may win another tournament but I think winning another major is unlikely.

  • Comment number 4.

    All fair enough Iain, but two points:
    1).Compare US TV figures apples and apples: The network showed last year's US Open in "prime time" which inevitably attracts larger viewing ratings. Congressional's numbers were similar to those at the Bethpage US Open.
    2).Jason Dufner is hardly another Ben Curtis, Good Lord. Dufner is a proven Tour pro, arguably unlucky not to have at least one win if not more. Curtis's first career top ten finish was at RStG. Dufner was 5th in last year's PGA, 6th at May's "Players" and played at last year's Open. But they were both born in Ohio so perhaps that is what you were getting at? For more please go to 606v2.

  • Comment number 5.

    Ian, I think you will find that there are many of like mind to me regarding Woods...we do NOT want him anywhere near our shores. There are many fine and well-behaved American players (excluding Bubba) who will grace St. Georges and help to make this another memorable tournament...but Woods, with all his phlegm and attitude, we dont need.

  • Comment number 6.

    Absolutely! I'm with Kevin! plus he's the most fined player on the tour. The game is much safer in the hands of Rory McIlroy and others who are proper sportsmen as was Jack, Arnold, Tom and Lee.

  • Comment number 7.

    Who cares? No,really.....his absence means little.If ever there's a yesterdays man..he's it.

    Perhaps journalists and that includes you too Ian,will now move on from the tedium of Tiger watch.And while we're at it less of the Rory hyperbole.That too is getting quite sickening.

    Let's talk about the decline of US golf......

  • Comment number 8.

    I am amazed you cannot find something more interesting to write about. I agree with #5 and #7. Tiger is old news. Not only has he not played for months, he probably has not practiced for weeks and would not make the cut anyway. Forget him until he starts winning and competing again - and Monty, another one past his sell by date.

  • Comment number 9.

    As an aside, what's the betting that we don't see Tiger playing again this year?

  • Comment number 10.

    How long before the Americans don't want the Open Championship to be called a major in the future? They would prefer the Players to be the 4th major. Then guys like Bubba won't get homesick having to fulfill their endorsement requirements when playing the majors.

  • Comment number 11.

    Have to agree with the other posts here. The age of the Tiger has passed, time to move on. I can't see him getting anywhere near the amazing form he enjoyed throughout his twenties and early thirties even if he does get back to full fitness which might never happen. The media circus which surrounds him everywhere he goes will not be missed by the other players i'm sure.

  • Comment number 12.

    #11
    I think the other players realise that without the Tiger phenomena of the last 15 years or so their earnings would have been a lot less. He raised the attention, sponsorship and investment in golf like no other. I think a lot of them will be very thankful that Tiger was around at the same time as they were.

  • Comment number 13.

    "Before TW" is the period before 1996. "After TW" is the era beyond 2011.

    BTW, golf was not at all a popular sport. It was seen as elitist. During the TW era, he brought the game worldwide appeal, significantly larger tournament purses, all kinds of sponsors and even brought about new players (young players who looked up to him and took up golf as a result).

    I strongly suspect he will retire in 2011. This is bad news for golf - in every sense. It's bad for the business of golf. It's bad if there aren't players able to step up.

    BTW, not many people cared about golf. Few followed the game. Let's hope the likes of Rory can take the game to new heights. We don't want the game to revert to that, but it can easily happen. If that's the case, it's not just the prosperity of the Open at stake.

  • Comment number 14.

    I have to say I was one the Tiger's biggest admirers back before his scandal came out but now he honestly bores me. He never looks happy, we know he’s not a nice person and it seems as if he really doesn’t care about the game anymore.

    I haven’t had sky sports in years but I have just signed up for all the sports channels for 1 reason...Rory McIlory.
    I believe he is the biggest draw in golf right now. I’m so excited to see what he does next now that he has the pressure of winning a major off his back.

    I don’t care if Tiger never plays again...we got our McIlroy...that’s a much more interesting future if you ask me.

  • Comment number 15.

    What happened Bubba Watson? I only seen the interview but he sounded like someone had tried to kill him while he was playing, giving out about security etc.

    Did something happen?

  • Comment number 16.

    The Pastriot says "BTW, golf was not at all a popular sport"

    How old are you?

  • Comment number 17.

    'Fraid the world of hype moves on so quickly that Woods is almost forgotten already.

    This year it will be 'McIlroy mania'.

  • Comment number 18.

    I have to say I disagree with most comments. Yes, Mcilroy produced a magical display at the US Open but he still doesnt bring the mania Tiger does...I guess the Open will be fine given the massive Irish and UK support for Rory but the international public wants to see Tiger. Tiger in his prime is in another league to Mcilroy...unfortunately i dont think Mcilroy's game is versatile enough to win the Open this year...he is a long hitter but is not as good in and around the green as Tiger was, that is where the Open is won. My money is on Oosthuizen again (massively overpriced at 66/1)...McIlroy top 20...Tiger sorely missed and not as much hype going on on international TV stations.

  • Comment number 19.

    It'll be even nicer if Woods doesn't get mentioned at all during the build-up from now.

  • Comment number 20.

    I hope whoever is directing the BBC coverage next week is not going to ask for cardboard cutouts of Tiger so he can cut to them all the time as the commentators bemoan his absence.

    Just like the irrelevant "celebrities" always being shoved in your face at Wimbledon during the last 2 weeks, Woods is not here, he is yesterdays chip paper, so please move onto what is truly important......................... the action !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    and lets hope the wind is blowing a little.

  • Comment number 21.

    When will an English man win a major again? Since Sir Nick Falda won in 1996 there hasn't been any. Why is this?
    Its certainly not lack of skill and talent, just look at the top 10 world rankings.

    I think its a lack of bottle and big occasion mentality.

  • Comment number 22.

    Its been a long time since woods stalked the fairways and struck fear into other players. When he arrived on the scene it gave golf a much needed boost and pulled in a whole new audience. During his injury in 2008 many wondered how golf would cope without its number one draw? it not only coped but flourished as other players looked to step up to the helm, look at the rankings now and how diverse it is in age and nationality. He has his critics but like it or not woods made golf cool and exciting much like seve did in the 80s, he will be missed at the open for sure but him being part of golf has made it all the better for the future

  • Comment number 23.

    Sadly every time Ian writes a blog on Tiger it brings out all the bile from the Tiger haters. I'm reminded of another article on the BBC News website today about the rise of hatred in the USA. I love golf, I got into it because of Tiger. He's not in the Open, shame....but life goes on. Whether he's back ever again or not who knows, he graced the game. Now come on Rory.

  • Comment number 24.

    as a northern irishman, i too am becomming a little over mcilroyed,, he needs some space , undoubtedly the best plaer in the world. but going into this Open I dont see him as the winner. the roller coaster over the last 3 weeks will have taken an edge off his game and Royal St Georges will not suit his game. Having said that even a 80% Wee Mac maye good enough to be in the mix. the 440 yard par 4's are only a drive and a half wedge for him. so it will be about his mental health..

    Hope he proves me wrong ad given the US open performance who wants to bet against him..
    On a separate note,, how chest burstingly proud must his family be right now and what a credit to Northern Irsih people are they .. absolutely brilliant ordinary people with the grace to keep their feet on the ground.
    Brilliant!!

  • Comment number 25.

    Phil Mickelson will win...you see it here first!

  • Comment number 26.

    Of course Tiger will be missed, however he is doing the right thing, trying to get fit and then tailor his swing to suit.

    He will be back and he will win again and he will majors again, he is not yesterdays man, yet!!

    Its hardly surprising he's dropped down the world rankings, he's hardly played.

    People may not like him, i admire his golf, but if he's really like how he comes across on tv, then he probably isn't a nice person.

    I'm sure we can all find flaws and mistakes in any peoples life.

    I'm not bothered about his personal life, i do feel sorry for his ex-wife obviously, but his personal life doesn;t bother me, its his golf i like to watch.

    This is the most open, Open in years and anyone from about 30 players could win it - I've backed Kuchar at 40 to 1 - great putter and solid pro, plus paddy power are doing e/w top 7.

  • Comment number 27.

    I watched the Rory McIlroy programme on BBC Northern Ireland on Monday, it was basically a documentary that had followed him for a year, it really was a great show, well worth a watch, it should be on the red button.

    Tiger changed the face of golf, the fact that he was a different colour/race than 99% of other golfers, brought the game to a whole new audience and shook up the golf world.

    McIlroy grew up idolising Tiger, and there will be plenty more over the next few years who were inspired by Tiger, so its going to get very interesting.

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm really excited about this Open as it'll be the first tournament I've ever attendened. Tigers presence was irrelevant to me but I know guys that have decided not to go specifically because he's not playing. Like him or loath him he is a draw for those interested but not fascinated by the game. Personally I'd like Lee to get the monkey off his back but whoever wins it will be worthy no doubt. The natural English pessimist in me thinks that because it's my first ever event there will be some horrendous thunder storm that suspends play for the whole of Saturday but here's hoping for a bit of sun and a nice breeze that gives these guys something to think about.

  • Comment number 29.

    McIlroy should have had two wins in a row by now. I have my faith in this young golfer, and he'll be the next Tiger. When Woods recovers and goes head to head with McIlroy, they'll set alight every golf course on planet Earth. I can't wait !!

  • Comment number 30.

    "I think you will find that there are many of like mind to me regarding Woods ... we do NOT want him anywhere near our shores." - Kevin mcNeilly @ 5

    What, small minded? Is that what you mean, Kevin?

  • Comment number 31.

    There are a lot of silly comments here. Golf is not and never will be a circus yet the media seem intent on making it so with incessant talk of an individual. It was the same with Faldo at the start of the 90's, you'd have a competition going on and the coverage would be following him twenty shots back.

    Woods sexed up golf for a few years but the game is healthier without him and I wish and hope that articles like these will disappear.

  • Comment number 32.

    Bye bye, Tiger - let's hope you hang up your clubs. Never took to the bloke - may have been the most significant player of recent years, if not all time; may have raised the game's profile and increased money. But at the expense of an poor attitude, tantrums, ignorance and disprespect.

    I grew up watching the likes of Watsom, Norman, Faldo et al. For me Greg was THE sportmans of his era, not just golf. Experienced a few ups and lots of downs, all taken with nothing worse than a grimace. A pity Tiger didn't have an ounce of his character, what a true great he really could have been.

    Roll on the next generation and let's not hype Rory too much.

  • Comment number 33.

    "The game is much safer in the hands of Rory McIlroy and others who are proper sportsmen as was Jack, Arnold, Tom and Lee." - Rob @ 6

    Yes, Rory McIlroy (a probable future great) and those 4 greats of the past* are/were all very good sportsmen as regards visible behaviour - which Woods hasn't really been for quite some time now.

    * hey that is Lee Trevino you're talking about there, Rob, right?

  • Comment number 34.

    All that matters is that Woods gets better and gets back to his best so we can watch Woods and McIlroy do battle for a few years.

    I would be gutted if i never got the chance to watch them go head to head in some big majors.

  • Comment number 35.

    We have two far better people in the Top Ten to represent Golf moving forward. I hope Tiger does return to play but he will always be damaged goods against the greats. Let's Hope Lee, Luke, Rory, Ian and co. continue the work of Seve, Nick, Sandy, Ian and co. and take the worlds greatest sport to the global stage it deserves. I hope Lee wins, the golfing pleasure he has given his fans when fighting back from obscurity to World No.1 is a far greater achievement and wonderful example, but how he maintained his professionalism throughout a testament to the quality of the individual. West this time please.

  • Comment number 36.

    Woods calls 'The Open' The 'British Open'. Nuff said.

  • Comment number 37.

    As said, Tiger Woods IS the modern era of Golf and it is inevitable that form is put aside when discussing his part in any Major. The man won 14 of them remember and has a lot to do with the current crop of players and their styles. I too have been averse to the media coverage of every aspect of his place at a tournament. Tiger leaving the locker room, Tiger walking to the practice are and so on and I suspect that those who watch the coverage for the golf and not the celebrity are the ones bemoaning another Tiger discussion.

    I only wish they would direct their negative energy towards the cause of this, and that's the Celebrity Obsession of the broadcasters.

    Please, let us get back to them showing, and us watching, the golf and leave the sycophantic celeb worship to ITV. I hope for The Open that the BBC realise this....WE WON'T CARE IF MICHAEL BLOODY MACINTIRE IS WATCHING AND GIVE LESS OF A CARE AS TO WHAT NOEL FIELDING THINKS!!! Please show us the golf happening on the course and not on the putting green!

  • Comment number 38.

    "Woods calls 'The Open' The 'British Open'. Nuff said."

    - much as I'm not a Woods fan, that is not entirely unexpected - even GMac calls it 'British'. The yanks calls the US 'The Open' - don't know why us Brits get so up tight about it.

  • Comment number 39.

    "Woods sexed up golf for a few years but the game is healthier without him" @ 31

    Way too dismissive. Sure he 'sexed up' the game (no bad thing ... ask the other players) but the truly remarkable thing he did was he dominated, for more than a decade, an individual sport which cannot be dominated - and a major global sport at that. Set new standards and thrilled galleries and TV audiences all over the world. His stats are incredible. A poor role model these last few years regarding on and off course behaviour (I completely agree with this) but going on tangible achievement there's a compelling case for Woods as not just the best ever in golf - with Nicklaus - but one of the top 20 sports performers (in any sport) of all time. It's inaccurate and churlish of people not to acknowledge this just because he's not their idea of a nice guy.

  • Comment number 40.

    16. At 09:25 6th Jul 2011, Edders wrote:
    The Pastriot says "BTW, golf was not at all a popular sport"

    How old are you?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Close to 40, but still on the right side of 40 :)

    Of course! Golf was not a popular sport. Consider golf and football. How many kids are exposed to golf? Football?

    Imagine this, what if Rory's dad wasn't an ardent golfer? Would he have picked up the game? Kids looked at the game as being boring, a 4-hour walk wasted, etc.

    Nee I continue?

  • Comment number 41.

    @ 38

    Yes I agree. Sign of rather brittle insecurity, way we go on about that. American golfers (including Tiger) tend to say 'British Open' when talking in the US but they usually make the effort to say 'Open Championship' ... keep us sweet ... when over here.

    Wonder who'll win the British Open / Open Championship this year? I've ruled out Monty, Ian Poulter and Sandy Lyle but that's about as far as I've got.

  • Comment number 42.

    it is the British Open! whats the problem?

  • Comment number 43.

    @39

    Sagamix, you're spot on. Sure, Woods isn't everyone's idea of a nice person but there's been very few sportsmen/women in their field that have dominated the way he did for a period. His talents were held in awe not just by the spectators but by his fellow professionals.

    I personally hope he comes back and wins another major or two as I think it would be fantastic for the sport and make great TV watching him compete against guys who haven't been pysched-out by him the way Els, Mickelson etc clearly have been. Sadly, I can't see it happening

  • Comment number 44.

    I cant believe how many people can slate tiger when he has helped make the game what it is today. I do agree he has to improve his behaviour towards the viewers and his fans, but apart from the scandel does he really behave that bad?!

    I have no doubt either that he will win a major again, its just a matter of getting fit and getting back in competitions and then its just a matter of time. If you take his 7 three putts away at The Masters then he would have walked the tournament whether or not Rory bottled it or not. If Rory can radically change his putting so quickly then what is to say one of the greatest golfers of all time can't.

  • Comment number 45.

    Woods may still not be the player he was before his public marriage breakdown but he is still easilly the biggest attraction in golf. He will be missed this year as many people would pay to see him swing a club from a wheelchair than many others playing normally. Sayinh that though I couldn't see him winning this year even if he was fit. His game is still not right. Whether that's physical or mental I can't tell but when he does come back he'll make the rest look like weekend hackers like he did for a decade beforehand.

  • Comment number 46.

    #44 No it is not! Like me calling you Jimmy Matthew - it's your name isn't it?
    It is The Open Championship (this year it is The 140th Open Championship).

  • Comment number 47.

    Sorry #44 should have been #42

  • Comment number 48.

    IC you call yourself a golf correspondent but clearly you have a short memory. Do you really think that golf would be at high level it is with all the money available without a certain TW. If he were to pitch up at any tournament he would still be the most widely watched player there and also the TV audiences would increase. I say this not as a pompous journalist or pundit but a scratch golfer with unknown amounts of golfing friends that are all missing TW perform like NO ONE ELSE can.

    As for your comment about all the Open is missing is the world number 17 golfer.... just clearly shows you should not be in the position you are on tax payers money

  • Comment number 49.

    Will the Open really miss TW ? Nope , the MacAttack was always goona be they main draw after his win.

    Will some fans be gutted not to see some outrageous shots from Tiger ? absolutely yes , the guy is a magician on his day (admittedly there are less days now than pre-injury & wifeattackinghiminacargate).

    The Global TV figures not be great given the lack of 'names' from all corners (inc Americans) challenging in a regular basis.

    Lets face it , there is never gonna be a Nike "I'm Luke Donald" campaign !!!! that was a top advert.

  • Comment number 50.

    #42 - God I hate myself for chipping in to this argument but it is 'The Open Championship.' The British Open has been an extension of it's name by folk who don't come from Britain but have their own national Open. Therefore in their country of birth/residence, their national tournament becomes 'The Open' (such as in the US) and ours, the British Open. Some old school folk (like my Dad) always corrects whoever calls it the British Open. I'm not really that bothered myself.

  • Comment number 51.

    For the record, I am not dismissing what Woods achieved in the game, I just didn't fancy wandering off on another ten paragraph response about quite how great he was. It's all there in black and white.

    I feel extremely let down by the guy who I chased round Troon (successfully) for his autograph back in 97. His loss of form is karmaic and has exposed this supposed pantheon for the true mug he really is.

  • Comment number 52.

    Perhaps he just remembers his opening tee shot back in '03? Enough to put anyone off a return visit, gammy leg or not...

  • Comment number 53.

    #48 did you read the second and third paragraphs?


    Of course you want Woods to be there and the former world number one's absence at Sandwich next week after he failed to recover from injury is undoubtedly a blow to the Open Championship.

    Woods is still, by some distance, the biggest name in golf and draws fans wherever he plays. When he eventually returns from injury it will be a very significant story.

  • Comment number 54.

    I would rather watch Jason Dufner than GETINTHEHOLE Woods.

    I have been following golf since the mid 70's and I have never enjoyed watching Woods play. It is the whole circus, the yelping crowds trying to get their scream on to the TV coverage; the gamesmanship Woods displays, taking as long as he wants over his shots and 'icing' opponents; his spitting and clubtossing.

    I hope his injuries get better and that he spends the time off watching gracious, grateful sportsmen such as Rory, Lee and KJ and the way that they comport themselves.

    It is the year of the Whippersnapper and after Rory's triumph, I nominate Jason Day or Adam Scott (yes he is still a teenager) to win at Sandwich.

  • Comment number 55.

    Adam Scott - still a teenager? I doubt it very much, unless the world stopped 10 years ago aproximately.

    I have an issue with the crowd following Tiger, shouting stupid things, but thats usually in the States, not Britain, is that Tigers fault, can he control that?

    As for throwing clubs, there are plenty of players who throw clubs in golf, you just don't see it because every second of their round is not followed and scrutinised, the same as spitting, i'm sure Tiger is not the only one who spits, just that he has the camera on him more often than not.

    No matter what Tiger does, there will always be people who knock him and don't knock others.

  • Comment number 56.

    cougarforest2....I have to say I disagree. He has brought a competitive edge which golf was lacking for a long time. Yes, he wears his heart on his sleeve and get carried away with his emotions on the course but I have seen Westwood, Poulter and many more act the same way...it is simply the intensity at which he plays that has made him at times loose his cool. It is always easy to single out the one person who excels at a sport. A bit like some brand Federer arrogant where he is a very mild mannered person. Remember that unlike other golfers Tiger is watched all the time.

    As for his off field antics, this is none of our business, I have heard businessmen at gold club houses around the world (even ones who have been watching since the 70's) talk about how they had half the ladies in their office...we all do stupid things. Also, none of us know what it is like to go from being a young boy who wasnt allowed on golf courses because of his colour to the most marketable athlete on the planet...who knows how we would react to this sort of swing in fortune...all the attention etc. It is very easy to sit back and judge. I am sure alll the Tiger haters will suddenly love him when he comes back and regains the number one spot.

    Take the splinter out of your eye - he is a legend in the golfing world. When you go watch him live his is the only person where the whole crowd almost goes quiet in disbelief that they are seeing Tiger Woods.

  • Comment number 57.

    Excellent news, maybe this year the BBC will give coverage to players who are actually at the top of the leader-board and playing well, instead of the usual blanket coverage of Tiger Woods, regardless of how many over par he is.

    I remember watching The Open last year and after Mr Woods had hit his tee shot at the 4th or 5th, we were forced to watch his every step as he walked the 300 yards or so up the fairway to reach his ball. It was one of those arty camera shots from high up on a crane. There were of course many other players on the course at the time, but the BBC decided that the public would probably prefer to ignore them and spend 3 or 4 minutes watching Tiger chatting to his caddy and eating a banana. Truly shocking coverage which showed complete disrespect to all other players in the field.

  • Comment number 58.

    @ 51

    Fair enough. I'm still a fan but I do understand why others aren't. As to whether he'll get back: logic says, given his talent and desire to win, and assuming his injuries clear up, that he will win tournaments (including majors) again. He's only 35 and just a couple of months ago he made a good run at the Masters. My hunch though ... and I hope I'm wrong ... is that it might be pretty much over. In which case, thanks for the memories and golf moves on.

  • Comment number 59.

    @ 57

    We also see a surprising amount of Ian Poulter, have you noticed?

    Annoying.

  • Comment number 60.

    My prediction is that Tiger Woods will retire from golf at the end of this year.
    He has lost all interest and has more money then he can spend.
    Who will give me odds?

  • Comment number 61.

    Tiger is damaged goods.
    Partially self-inflicted and partly due to his body giving him some clear messages.
    He wouldn't have been in contention at The Open so he would have been a side-show at best, which he wouldn't like.
    No doubting the man's talents and all that's been said about him creating an interest in Golf to a wider audience is all true.
    However having been #1 for so long it's going to be hard for him to mentally accept that he is longer going to have that crown as his divine right.
    I don't believe that he will ever come back and be the forcee that he was which doesn't mean that he won't win another major which I'm sure he will.
    However Rory and the new kids on the Block are taking over right now plus there is a really strong contingent of players outside the USA who are leading the way.
    The stats don't lie and Tiger at 17th in the World rankings (irrespetive of how little he's played) is probably a not unfair position for him.
    As a footnote at least we won't have his petulant Caddy on show at The Open with his own brand of self-aggrandizement!

  • Comment number 62.

    Sparkster79, we will have to agree to disagree. I cannot abide his circus and you make huge allowances for him as he entertains you so much.

    But your comment -

    "I have heard businessmen at gold club houses around the world (even ones who have been watching since the 70's) talk about how they had half the ladies in their office...we all do stupid things"

    is just crass and ignorant. Surely you own some standards of behaviour?

  • Comment number 63.

    James Mathew...I will give you 500/1 with a refund of your stake if he does come back and doesnt go back to world number one within 5 years.

  • Comment number 64.

    #Sparkster79

    your a toolbag if u said that. what were you doing in club houses around the world? considering you understood them all means you cant have travelled far.

    I have being playing golf all my life and have been in many golf club houses around the world and I have never head men talk about their conquests at work. Who does that? No one thats who. Loser!

  • Comment number 65.

    james mathew...maybe I am just well travelled. It is not only in club houses but unfortunately that is life, corporate shenangnas go on all the time. All I really meant is that he shouldnt be judged on his out of work pursuits, he made a mistake and admitted it. Calling me a loser is hardly a valid argument against what I said.

    I am surprised you have never heard men talk about conquests at work or in the golf club house, perhaps you just arent that socially approachable or you play golf with your wife.

    Fancy taking my odds though?

  • Comment number 66.

    cougarforest2...yes, whilst I have standards of my own I accept we are all human...he is a special case, having gone from "rags to riches" and being given fame we wouldnt know how we would deal with.

    Whilst you and I may have moral standards, it is hard to believe that of the mass of corporate golfers out there.

  • Comment number 67.

    #sparkster79

    nice odds...let me think about it :)

    but on your other point...Tiger made more then "a mistake". He made over a 100 of them that he admitted to his wife. Thats not a mistake...he knew what he was doing and continued to do it for years...thats unforgivable in my eyes.
    Im sure if your wife\gf was caught having an affair and then she told u she did it 100 times and over the last 5 years...i dont think you would be so quick to forgive and forget.

    Gimme a 1000-1 and we have a deal!?

  • Comment number 68.

    james mathew

    You have me there, guess thinking about that 100 fold bedding he carried out it is hard to forgive and forget. Clearly it seemed to help his golf though :)

    1000-1 it is, I will lay you on betfair as soon as he re enters the top 10.

  • Comment number 69.

    McIlroy is ranked 4, not 3. Kaymer overtook him at the weekend, although that did not seem to get much media coverage. Wonder why?

  • Comment number 70.

    rustyrussell @36

    indeedy - thats the call .

  • Comment number 71.

    Many sportsman have cheated and got divorced, many sportsman have uttered a profanity, many sportsman have spat on the ground (most people in the world probably), BIG DEAL! This man brought us some of golf's finest memories. He'll be back and when he is I'll laugh at everyone who ever doubted a true golfing legend.

  • Comment number 72.

    ok so whats the bet again? 1000-1 that woods will not become no.1 over the next 5 years?

  • Comment number 73.

    Maybe it only me but as i see it Tiger was lucky. Not a lucky golfer but lucky he had so little real competition. Imagine if he played 10 years before when there was 15-20 contenders for every major, Tiger competed against 5-10 contenders (that's my opinion). Tiger was/is a great golfer and should be remembered as such, His time may not be fully over but its close and the more McIlroys about the better for the sport. I dont think McIlroy will be as dominant as Tiger but equally I don't think he will make the same mistakes off the course as while golf is his life he can enjoy himself too. This is the most open Open for years and I hope the europeans can keep hold of it and prove to the americans we have all the majors and the ryder cup for a reason.

  • Comment number 74.

    As expected there's lot of petty comments on here about Tiger along with some truly cringeworthy praise of McIlroy and some of the English also-rans. Tiger just can't win with some people. He pulls out of a tournament due to injury and it's a platform for the mob to continue branding him the worst human being ever to pick up a set of golf clubs. Those that say he's yesterday's man are kidding themselves, when fit he's still the best in the world by some distance. Hopefully we'll see that this time next year. "MacAttack" to miss the cut.

  • Comment number 75.

    Right iv had enough of this hyperbole about mcilroy. Im Irish and enjoyed the last two US Opens, especially GMACS as i was at Pebble Beach for it. And of course i enjoyed seeing mcilroy run away with the US Open on a week where he couldnt be beaten. But the comments have gone too far. I heard one guy claim that mcilory is "unquestionably" the best player in the world? em, excuse me? He is the fourth best player in the world. FACT. If he wins the Open next week then he is the best in the world. FACT. But the comparisons with Tiger Woods really get to me. At this stage of Tigers career he had 30 wins worldwide, Mcilroy has THREE! He won the masters by 12 strokes aswel by this stage. In his 42nd week as a pro he was WORLD NUMBER 1. Mcilroys been a pro for 4 years so far. It is nonsense to say he is the way tiger was back then. i actually had to look back at some of tigers facts for reference on wikipedia and it still amazed me the things he has done for the game. Yes he was a terrible husband. What golf fan cares about that? When i watched the masters this april the most entertaining part of the event for me was Tiger Woods' front nine. and im sure i wasnt the only one. Also, people think its the end of Woods and he wont win anymore majors??? he finished 4th in this years masters and last years, and also 4th in last years us open at pebble. Tiger will be back at the end of the year. And Tiger will surpass Jacks record and cement his place as the best player ever to play the game. Mcilory has great potential, but wait until he has 30 worldwide wins and a few more majors before we even think of comparing him to Tiger Woods.

  • Comment number 76.

    Excellent, at long last, another post from Carter which doesn't mention Tiger Woods.

    Oh wait.....no......a blog about how The Open won't miss Tiger Woods, who won't be there 'cos he's not playing golf right now, hasn't for a little while......not likely to be....so we needed a post all about that......

    Sweet....look forward to the next post and how that manages to get TW in, no matter how tenuous the link.

    :-)

  • Comment number 77.

    'the open will prosper despite absence of woods'........but not as much as it would prosper with him. in fact, nowhere near as much. i think you'd all agree that almost every single player in the field will feel their chances of winning have more than doubled (possible exception of phil mickleson) since TW announced he wouldn't be playing. i think it completely changes the tournament, of course there will be a very well deserved winner but in the back of their mind im very sure they'll have their own asterisk - TW DNP.

    also getting fed up of this nonsense of being 17th in the world. i find it hard to believe any other player would be that high having only played about 10 tournament in the last 2 years. makes those below him look very bad!

  • Comment number 78.

    As an Irishman I would love to see McIlroy win a second successive major, but it is almost impossible to predict who will be in contention, never mind win. Westwood is probably the closest to being guaranteed to be up there, and if McIlroy, McDowell or any other Irishman can't win I would probably go for him or Garcia, as they seem really nice guys and have been close so many times.

    But after seeing someone tip Schwartzel before the Masters this year, my outside bet is J.B Holmes- you heard it here first!

  • Comment number 79.

    The name of the tournament is 'The Open Championship'. We know it as that not only because it's official but because it's the ultimate open tournament, the finest prize in golf.

  • Comment number 80.

    Are you on the BBC bloggers’ payroll? Are your click through numbers down? Has your boss had a word? Are you worried about your next contract? Well worry no more. Just type Tiger Woods in the headline and then any old hackneyed clichéd rubbish after that and watch those numbers soar as the lovers and haters of Golf's Marmite man clamber to comment. These bloggers are like z list celebs. They know there are rubbish at what they do but just can't bring themselves to get a proper job so they just get them out for the lads one more time.

  • Comment number 81.

    What are the odds that tiger never wins another professional event? Questionable physically and psychologically and competing with talented, hungry and young guys who expect to win- if tiger had a 3 foot putt to win next week or someone like Jason day had the same putt- my money wouldn't be on woods anymore!

  • Comment number 82.

    I laugh at all these comments about Tiger none of you have read up on Ben Hogan he too was not so friendly with fans or players and Arnold Palmer who all the players considered as cocky in his day check your history before you comment we have the chance to watch legends at work appreciate the golf and not judge the man.

  • Comment number 83.

    Deary me, how infintile.

    It's not necessarily his treatment of fans as most will accept that players get into a zone when playing and can appear cold to their supporters. Everyone appreciates the golf he plays. However with the hyperbole that we've had to endure regarding him it was always set for a major fall and he has decided to jump down the empty lift shaft with it.

    How patronising (patronising is talking down to people) of you to assume that we haven't been educated on the Hogans and Palmers of the golfing world.

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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