When Woods opted out of The Players Championship two Sundays ago, criticism came flying towards him like a 330-yard drive.
Why would a guy who has won with a broken leg and torn ligaments withdraw in the final round with what turned out to be a stiff neck?
The answer is simple, Tiger only cares about winning majors.
The guy probably has 10 years left of legitimately contending for major championships. If you count this year, that’s 39 majors left in that span.
The reason he was able to grind it out in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines was because it was the U-S-freaking-Open. If you had the clubhouse lead through 54 holes, or tied for the lead after four rounds, would you say “you know what, it’s not that big of a deal,”? No, you wouldn’t, and neither would a guy trailing Jack Nicklaus by five major victories for the all-time record.
When Tiger called it quits on the seventh hole at Sawgrass, he had no idea what was wrong with him. He speculated it could be a bulging disk in his neck. Had that been the case, he could have missed a couple months…a.k.a the U.S. and British Open.
It makes perfect sense why Tiger didn’t want to jeopardize two major tournaments for the chance to finish 25th at The Players.
He only cares about majors. It’s not that complicated. He’s reached a point in his career that he’s won so many times and earned so much money that any more of either is nearly meaningless.
He entered The Open Championship today, which will be played at St. Andrews, site of the 2000 Championship when Tiger won the second of the four-part Tiger Slam.
Don’t call him a wuss for not wanting to finish his round, or second guess his toughness. It’s not about playing through the pain. It is about making sure he is in the absolute best shape possible for a run at Nicklaus and major win number 19.