Tiger Woods has lost his family, his endorsements and a lot of golf tournaments lately, but the downfall of the man who was once on top of the golf world might not be such a bad thing … for everyone else.
As Tiger's life has fallen to pieces, things have been looking up for other golfers worldwide, who now have the chance to strut their stuff in major tournaments without living in golf's biggest shadow.
U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and current world No. 1 Martin Kaymer are just two of the many names being tossed around as potential winners in Augusta. Even Nick Watney (cousin of NESN's own Heidi Watney) has had his name come up as a player to watch, according to the Los Angeles Times. Ten, five and even two years ago, all the talk surrounding the Masters would have been Tiger, Tiger, Tiger.
Prior to Woods' excessive extracurriculars, just about anyone could predict the outcome of the Masters tournament, with the child-prodigy turned adult-superstar always the one to beat. Now, things are getting a little less predictable and a lot more interesting –- even golf great Jack Nicklaus admitted he can't come up with a clear winner.
"Dustin Johnson, what a talent," Nicklaus said to the media at Augusta National. "You've got [Lee] Westwood, great talent. Martin Kaymer, what a talent. You can go right down through the bag."
Golfing has become fun again for just about everyone, especially for players and fans. For players, they can do their thing with less pressure on a more even field. And, best of all, anyone can come out on top. There's certainly a lot less pressure on any one golfer to play like Tiger, whose world ranking has been dropping faster than his popularity, making it easier for guys like Westwood and Kaymer to play their games, rather than try to keep pace with someone else's.
As far as fan base is concerned, things are certainly improving. There was a time when players would settle for leftover viewers who couldn't find enough space in the masses who came just to see Tiger. Now, these fans are also starting to realize that there is some real talent to watch outside of Mr. Woods.
This has made golf more fun for fans, who, at times suffered through a running of the bulls-eque experience when trying to see everyone's favorite golfer play. Chances are, no matter who they go to see now, they're in for a good show and won't get trampled in the process.
Although some may deny that the decay of Woods' golf game had anything to do with his crumbling social life, the reasons make no difference for his competition. All they know is that things will be a lot more competitive in Augusta come Thursday.
Is Tiger Woods' downfall good for the game of golf? Share your thoughs below.