02/07/15 by Rennie Detore
Watching your favorite professional athletes, particularly one you admire for their skillset, knack for the game or sport they play or overall ability to simply win, fall apart toward the tail end of their career is particularly sad and hard to watch.
No athlete can outrun time, and that fact leads to sights within sports that are equal parts inevitable and disheartening. Who didn't cringe every time Joe Montana took the field in the later years when he played for the Kansas City Chiefs?
How about an older, less athletic Willie Mays swinging for a ball wildly and falling down in the batter's box or even legendary running back Franco Harris, the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers great, plodding along with the Seattle Seahawks, a sight that made everyone in the "Steel City" bend over backward not to see.
The latest fall from grace is one that sports fans didn't think they'd see this soon. Injuries and personal drama have taken the Tiger Woods, the once feared and ferocious golfers, and transformed him into not just another player but one that is either withdrawing from tournaments or so far behind on the leaderboard that you're just assuming he's not going to make the cut.
Hardly reminiscent of the player that was the centerpiece of golf and truly dominated the sport for so many years. You can argue that Woods' sharp decline can be attributed to injuries, and that fact is just another part of sports that fans often forget about as these premiere athletes begin to break down physically, yet still have that competitive void they have to fill with what they know.
The likes of Montana, Mays and Harris, along with Woods, still believe they have enough left in the tank to take down fellow players or, in Woods' case, other golfers at any given time. That said, eventually athletes reach the point from being lauded for the love of their games and instead border on embarrassment in the eyes of the fans and, eventually, themselves once they take a long, hard look and exercise a non biased opinion of exactly how good they really are at this stage of their careers.
This has little or no impact on legacy but rather the here and now and just when it is prudent and advisable to call it quits rather than play to the point that you're no longer a contender but just an average participant in a game that once heralded you as their figurehead. Woods' issues aren't a lack of talent; he's just another superstar athlete that has run his course and is now trying to salvage some sort of comeback for the same reason all other athletes can't simply retire: they want to go out a winner and no be remembered as a shell of their former selves.
But for every drive that doesn't hit the fairway or putt that sails well beyond the hole, Woods is proving that not only is he painfully out of place on the PGA Tour right now, but that he's desperately trying to resurrect a career that is bordering on woefully and remarkably porous.
When golfing fans and enthusiasts talk about the greatest of all time, Woods' name is going to be at the top of the list or, arguably, at the number one position. His string of 30th place finishes or skipping tournaments due to injury is just another chapter in the story of athletes and their willingness to win, even if their bodies are telling them otherwise.
Like this article? Sign up to get similar articles sent to your inbox:
Doggie Dolittle: Deciphering your dog filled with many misnomers
No Bull: Bullying exists, but it's how you handle it that determines outcome
Smart Phones, Dumb Kids: Technology takes the simple skills away from our children
David and Goliath: Ortiz and Rodriguez find different post PED paths
Links You Might LikeDoes WiiFi Make you Sick?
Scientists Try to Bring Prehoristic Bovines Back to Life
Picasso Sells for $180 Million
The Secrets Behind Kim Jong-un's Madness
Chocolate Could Prevent Obesity
Mysterious Energy Ribbon at Solar System's Edge a 'Cosmic Roadmap'
Posh Golf Courses Turn away Obama