Tiger Woods' Injury Provides Silver Lining to PGA Tour Golfers
I’m a glass half full kinda guy so this is not an article about Tiger Woods’ injury. Lord knows enough has already been written about The Knee. I’m thinking about life on the professional circuit without Tiger Woods for a little while. Immediately the thought is that there will be better opportunities for Major Championship victories for everyone else entered in the next two and that the U.S. Ryder Cup team has suffered a serious blow.
Yes, established stars such as Phil Mickelson and the resurgent Ernie Els may well snag another Major without Woods in the picture. But I also think that this hiatus will more likely allow a young gun to step up to the next level because those guys have no fear of anyone not named Tiger. (No, I’m not saying Sergio Garcia will win his first Major because his demons have little to do with anyone else. It’s 99.9% unlikely that the thought of dueling with Padraig Harrington, Steve Stricker or Andres Romero caused him to lose the Open Championship at Carnoustie last year.) The players I have in mind are pups like Sean O’Hair, Hunter Mahan, Martin Kaymer, Oliver Wilson and the like. If they get in the hunt, they will only have to deal with the pressure of winning, which significant though it is, is considerably less without the added concern of what Superman is doing.
As far as the Ryder Cup, the loss of Woods is probably a mixed bag. He’s so hard to partner with that it is undeniably a distraction of sorts. His partners seldom play to potential because if the twosome loses, they feel it is mostly their play at fault for the loss. Again, players will step to the fore because they can and they must. The most interesting sub-plot in all of this is, having had the golden opportunity to spread their wings, how will these same players respond when Woods returns to action.
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Playing at Valhalla, Paul Azinger's selection changes, a list of in-form players just dying to get on the team (e.g. Perry)for the US against injuries, poor form of previous stalwarts (Monty, Harrington, McGinley, Clarke, Casey, etc) and dissent in the European camp - what more do you want?
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