By: Marcus “Mook” Washington
On February 10th 1990, Mike Tyson walked into the Tokyo Dome waiting to destroy another no name opponent. At the time, James “Buster” Douglas was best known for dominating Tony Tucker until he ran out of gas allowing Tucker to get the win. In a fight that was thought to be so one-sided that only one casino took wagers, Douglas did the unthinkable and not only defeated Mike Tyson but knocked him out.
Essentially, the unbeatable aura of “Iron” Mike Tyson died that day. After that Douglas loss, Fans waited and waited for the old Mike Tyson to show up. It never happened. Tyson never beat another top notch opponent, losing the Holyfield twice and getting destroyed by Lennox Lewis. He went on the finish his career losing three out of his last four fights.
Similar to Mike Tyson, Tiger Woods was an intimidating figure in golf especially when it came to the majors but on August 16th, 2009, he had his Mike Tyson moment. For Woods, it didn’t happen at 9am in the morning a half a world away. It happened at Hazeltine with the world watching in shocked as the best golfer of a generation blew his first 54 hole lead in a major to a guy who most had never heard of.
Just like with Mike Tyson, little did we know that was going to be the end of the Tiger Woods that we all knew. The unbeatable aura of Woods died that day but, just like with Tyson, fans still wait for the old Tiger Woods to walk through that door.
Woods last win in a major was in 2008 when he won the US Open in a playoff over Rocco Mediate. Like Mike Tyson, most fans had ignored that there were signs that the gap between Woods and the field was slowly starting to close. It took one of the best putts in the history of golf for Woods to force the playoff. An inch left or right would have meant that Rocco Mediate would have knocked off the mighty Tiger Woods.
But, on that summer day in 2009, YE Yang wasn’t going let Woods escape like Mediate did. Yang matched Tiger shot for shot. The moment wasn’t too big for him just like it wasn’t too big for Douglas. On the 14th hole, with a one shot lead, Yang hit Woods with a Douglas like uppercut when he chipped in for eagle.
Since that has happened, Tiger has gone into a tailspin including injuries, swing changes, multiple golf coach changes and a TV drama like scandal that included extra marital relations with several different women. He’s played some of the worse golf of his life.
Even this past weekend where he had 3 sub-70 rounds he never threatened on the weekend as he shot a 74 on Saturday yet fans (and Tiger) hang on to every little thing he did right, even if those little things aren’t enough to win a tournament with a field made up of mainly B-listers.
The PGA Tour has changed immensely since Tiger Woods dominated it. The new wave of young stars have arrived in a big way and their brashness shows. No longer is there a belief that young players must learn how to win on the tour. They come on the tour expecting to win. When you add that to the improvement of the players on the European Tour, the idea of Woods winning a major, nevertheless being a dominant figure is highly unlikely.
But like Mike Tyson fans, there is still this belief that the old Tiger Woods will walk through that door. The Woods that made all the big putts, pulled off on the improbable shots and intimidated other golfers by simply having his name of the leaderboard will rise again. His fans just refuse to accept that Tiger Woods the dominate champion died August 16th, 2009.