Does the U.S. Open Even Need Tiger?

I have struggled with this question quite a bit ever since Tiger announced he won’t be playing in the U.S. Open next week.  When I first heard the news I wasn’t that surprised that he was taking a tournament off to heal his leg.  I was surprised he was taking the U.S. Open off though.  The U.S. Open is what Tiger is all about.  It is where he recorded the most iconic win of his career at Torrey Pines.

I am still very excited for the U.S. Open and plan to watch as much of it as I possibly can.  I have been writing for a while now that people need to get over Tiger Woods and embrace the new winners out on Tour and give them their due.  I still hold that stance, but part of me is having second thoughts about being super excited for the U.S. Open without Tiger playing.  He adds an undeniable pulse of excitement to any tournament he plays in and even more excitement to tournaments he is in contention to win.

Does this mean I am back on the Tiger wagon?  Not a chance, but I do think his in ability to insert himself into contention more has been a disappointment from a viewers standpoint.  I do think Golf is evolving at the moment and we may never see the Tiger era of old again.  What if we don’t?  Will golf melt away into a nothing sport?  I don’t think so and I think the face of the game is taking shape right here and now in the midst of Tigers decline.  Young guys like Day, Scott, Johnson, McIlroy, Fowler, Kaymer and Manassero are taking the spotlight much more and are going through growing pains along the way that are going to shape them into major championship winners in the coming years.

I guess my main point here is that I am upset Tiger isn’t playing next week because I enjoy watching him play good golf.  Face it, we all enjoy watching it.  At the same time, I don’t think all is lost because there will be a new deserving U.S. Open champion next weekend that we will get to praise, knock down and dissect his game and longevity for another full year!  I just hope the winner can hold a torch to the level of class and respect Graeme McDowell brought to the title of U.S. Open Champion!

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