Tiger Woods has cited “performance reasons” in withdrawing from this week’s Safeway Open in Napa, CA.
His back is fine but his game still suffers and Woods won’t return until it’s ready to go.
The now 40 year old Tiger Woods is missing a piece of the equation. His game will never be ready (by his old standards) again. He’ll never again be the player who won the 1997 Masters or the one who blitzed the PGA Tour in 2001 or even the one who won his last major in 2008.
Woods keeps looking in the mirror expecting to see those younger versions of himself and instead keeps seeing that 40 year old guy with a twice-surgically repaired back.
He also sees the rest of the Safeway field, where the highest ranked player is world number 12 Paul Casey, yet he still doesn’t like his chances.
Ouch times two.
This all goes back to my fundamental belief about the deepest fear in Tiger Woods’ heart; the fear of being just another really good tour player. He doesn’t want to go toe to toe with Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day.
He wants the young players of today to lay down for him like the now 50+ year old, 1990s under-achieving-used-to-beens did through the early and mid 2000s. But, today’s 20 and 30-somethings aren’t going to do it for him, so Woods will stay home and his 40 year old game can remain in hiding.
So much for moving the needle.