Tiger Woods hasn’t won a major since 2008, and that doesn’t figure to change this season. Woods, 40, continues to recover from various back ailments, and it is unknown when he will play again.
While the 14-time major winner continues to dominate the discussion among golf outsiders, however, that really hasn’t been the case among golf insiders.
“It’s very interesting. (Woods’ absence) been talked about very little so far this season,” 17-time PGA Tour winner and current CBS Sports golf analyst Ian Baker-Finch said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “People know that Tiger’s not there, but really, Tiger hans’t been competitive for a long time. In 2013, he won five times and was player of the year, but it’s really been since then that he was competitive. The one time he was last year late in the season at the Wyndham Championship where he almost won or had a chance to win, but now people know he’s dealing with serious back issues. I stay in touch with Tiger. He doesn’t know when he’ll be able to play next. Right now he’s enjoying doing nothing, hanging out with the kids, watching young Charlie play golf and we’ll just have to wait and see if he can play at all this year. I doubt we’ll see him on tour in 2016. But I know when he is able to practice and play again and work out again, he’ll put all his effort in to trying to get back to being as good as he can be. That’s just the way Tiger is.”
Woods has played far and away the worst golf of his career in recent years, often missing cuts and prematurely bowing out of tournaments. Still, he’s given no indication that he will retire anytime soon.
“No, definitely not,” Baker-Finch said. “But if he cannot play again, I don’t think he will come out as a ceremonial golfer just to show up to play. In my mind, he will only play if he feels he can win and compete. So that’s the tricky part. When he is able to start training again, how capable will he be – how able will he be – to put the effort in to get to being competitive again?”
Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, among others, have emerged as next-generation stars, but make no mistake: golf misses Woods.
“Oh, yeah, I think golf misses his style and his competitive spirit,” Baker-Finch said. “You look at all of these young guys now that are coming through – they all grew up as youngsters watching Tiger Woods dominate and seeing the athlete that he was, winning 14 majors and almost 80 times on the PGA Tour. A lot of players out there can thank Tiger immensely. He set the bar. No one changed the game since Jack Nicklaus more than Tiger Woods. That’s why we’re seeing so many great gifted youngsters coming through that never had a chance to play with Tiger on tour.”