04/10/15 by Rennie Detore
The name Tiger Woods belongs in the same breath as other legendary athletes that ruled their respective sports.
Woods is much like Michael Jordan, Tom Brady and Derek Jeter, the kind of name that goes beyond what is written on a jersey or piece of merchandise. Those athletes aren't just men moving up and down a field or court but rather a brand, a piece of marketability and mastery that is driven by the talent showcased by the statistics they achieve and championships earned.
Brady still is playing at a high level. Jordan stayed fairly consistent in how he performed, as did Jeter although you can argue that both slipped at least enough to notice but hardly to the point where you'd say they teetered on embarrassing themselves or even close to tarnishing the legacy they've built.
Woods, however, feels different. His recent slide from golf's golden child to a PGA player that is having trouble even making the cut at various events borders on sadness when you consider just how far he's fallen in the last few years.
Every fan understands that athletes are a two fold entity. The desire and determination typically never wane or becomes broken. They'll always truly love the sport that made them famous and, in turn, what their performance did for the sport as well. The athlete's body is what ultimately fails them over time. They physically can't do what they did years before or when they were younger. You'll see flashes of that old form but the brilliance and athleticism no longer is on par with what the audience expects.
Woods' situation seems a bit askew from that mentality. Yes, Tiger is and has been battling injuries for quite some time, and that has undoubtedly played into his game or lack thereof. He doesn't resemble the player he once was as far as skill and talent goes, and that is reflected in his inability to play on Sunday when it matters.
Woods hardly would be considered old by golf standards, but what really pains the masses and fans of golf in general and Woods in particular is that he seems lost, devoid of passion and essentially going through the motions as far as his demeanor. Woods was never an animated, overly charismatic individual on the course but rather came across as a cerebral assassin of sorts that was almost robotic and of the ilk of a Terminator content on wiping out his competition.
Now, he's barely able to compete himself. Losing your ability is one thing, but Tiger is lost in ways that go beyond just not being able to play at a high level at his trade.
There's nothing that says Woods can regain the form and poise that positioned him not that long ago as the number one player in golf. Getting back to that point, however, seems like quite the hurdle and subsequent journey for the soon to be 40 year old golfer.
And finding his spot again will have little to do with a new coach, swing or hitting the fairway on a consistent basis. Climbing back to respectability will have everything to do with channeling the heart that made him legendary.
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