So Tiger Woods will miss next month's Ryder Cup – he rarely really showed up there during his glory years and golf has moved on now

Comment

Not for the first time in his life, one imagines, Tiger Woods has withdrawn.

He will not burn bright, neither in the forests of the night nor on the fairways of Gleneagles at next month’s Ryder Cup.

As he goes off for yet more back surgery Mr Woods, it is widely felt, has done the right thing by making himself unavailable for the American team – for which he would not have qualified on merit – and sparing their captain Tom Watson the difficult decision of whether to hand him one of his wildcard picks.

Really? How difficult a decision would it have been? Even during the many peaks of an almost incomparably glorious career, now in a possibly terminal trough, he has never shown much appetite for the game’s premier team event.

Since his Ryder Cup debut 17 years ago, he has registered just one victory – that controversy-rich nailbiter at Brookline in 1999. That the game’s great light has almost never burned in a decade and a half of Ryder Cup matches is no small factor in his country’s dismal recent record in the competition. During America’s solitary victory in the past 15 years, in 2008 at Valhalla, the Tiger was watching on television, his fearful symmetry compromised by extensive reconstruction work on his left knee.

Back then, European golf fans could have been forgiven for not staying up to watch the humiliating pictures coming in from the famous golf club in Kentucky. Not so this week, when millions sat in front of their televisions until almost two o’clock in the morning, watching the four best golfers in the game – Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson – fight it out for the PGA title at the same venue, all the way around the course, right up to the 18th green, and the best man, McIlroy winning.

 

There was a strange dissonance then, in watching Tiger Woods struggling with back spasms, before retiring from the competition. Golf’s most luminous talent in history, desperate to get over that final but giant obstacle and overhaul Jack Nicklaus’s majors record, but it’s a finish line that seems farther and farther away the harder he tries to get there.

More authoritative golfing voices than this column have wondered at great length over whether he can possibly return to his happy place, before that incandescent argument with his ex-wife as he drove away from the family home, that precipitated a near never-ending line of highly talkative porn stars willing to attest to a primeval nature in the Tiger, as awesome as anything William Blake had imagined.

There should be no direct causational link between time being called on that most monumentally nefarious lifestyle, and such an extended dip in form – though it may partly explain the back spasms – but this column struggles to think of anyone in any line of work who, on suddenly having to stop treating the American porn industry as one’s own private sexual pick‘n’mix, wouldn’t start underperforming in the work place.

There are many who still want to Save the Tiger. Certainly he is not yet extinct, but the conservation effort is less urgent than it has ever been. There were long years when it was felt that golf needed Tiger. That is not the case any more. The Ryder Cup will be a better competition without him.

Topless scandal gives Mullera something to recall fondly

Whenever a commentator turns suddenly to disdainful tones and reaches for that timeless phrase – “what an utterly stupid thing to do” – it is almost always to fill the air time while the cameras are turned in the other direction and the at least half naked man is taken to ground by the stewards.

More problematic even for a broadcaster of Steve Cram’s supreme talent is when the gentleman stripping off and bounding over the hurdles is also Europe’s premier steeplechaser and is on the home straight about to claim gold.

France’s Mahiedine Mekhissi Benabbad has previous on erratic behaviour, not least when he pushed over a giant furry mascot that turned out to have a 14-year-old girl inside, so he might be bemused that this latest. comparatively minor, outrage should be the one that has robbed him of a medal.

“He needs to be careful. That’s a disqualification offence,” Crammy warned, as he held his sweat-soaked vest in his teeth and leapt the last jump before surging over the line in first. In the end, the authorities merely let him off with a warning, but a formal complaint from the Spanish team, for whom there was a bronze medal in it, saw him officially disqualified and Angel Mullera bumped up to the podium.

Congratulations to him. Winning a European Championship medal is not an easy thing to do. But easier, you’d have to think, than explaining it when that bronze is brought down from the attic one Christmas decades from now, and the grandkids, wide-eyed in wonderment, want to know how he won it. Disdain, like the steeplechase, goes round in circles.

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?