So on Thursday, I arrived early at the Orlando Solar Bears' announcement of their NHL affiliate, and the usual gaggle of TV, radio, and newspaper people were making less idle chatter than they were tapping on their smartphones, aghast at the thought of missing something, when one of the TV guys (without naming names, he's on an odd-numbered Orlando channel) says out loud, "Tiger shot 74."
Like anyone cares about a +2 round, or the guy who shot it.
Damn, I wish I had said that out loud. It would have started a great argument ... I mean conversation.
Me: Who cares who shot 74? We talking about anyone else who shot 2-over?
Him: Well, Tiger moves the needle.
Me: Not if he's missing cuts like last week, and probably this week.
I know Tiger Woods was golf's "it" commodity for about 10 years, but he's three years removed from that. He's barely relevant now -- yes, he won Bay Hill, but a dozen guys have won on TOUR this year, and Hunter Mahan has won twice and will probably win twice more. Now HE'S relevant.
The game and the players are deciding amongst themselves who the "it" commodity is now. Rory McIlroy or Luke Donald or whichever one holds the World Number One ranking this week? Rickie Fowler? Phil Mickleson, if he slows his slide down the backside of the hill?
Don't get me wrong, I respect everything Tiger accomplished while he was Undisputed World Number One. I also think that's a past chapter, and I enjoy how wide open events are now with so many players in a position to win on "any given Sunday". And since there have been so many Sunday leads gagged away this year, you have to appreciate Tiger's another-worldly level of composure he held with a lead.
Anyway, as I write this Tiger is +1 after a birdie on the tough par-3 8th hole (maybe he sensed me writing this), but he's still a shot out of the cut line. Don't worry, I'm sure NBC will be able to find some things to talk about Saturday and Sunday if he misses it.
On that note, Zach Johnson leads at -8 over Harris English at -7 and a group of guys including Adam Scott is at -6. Maybe one of them will win, or maybe someone from the group at -5 (like Matt Kuchar) or -4 (David Toms) or -3 (the English trio of Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and first-round leader/second-round falterer Ian Poulter) will tame TPC Sawgrass.
I like ending this blog entry right there.