AUGUSTA — Tiger Woods’ ever deteriorating physical condition prevents him from swinging a golf club without experiencing pain. But he can still sling products like a Ronco pitchman.
Here is Woods on a Rolex billboard on Washington Road, just outside the gates of Augusta National Golf Club, hawking watches.
Here he Woods posing for Nike promotional materials for the new ‘TW ’17” golf shoe, which hit stores this week in two color combinations (black/silver and white/gray).
Here he is New York, hawking his new book, “The 1997 Masters: My Story,” at a Barnes and Noble and on “Good Morning America” (where he proved he can out-putt Michael Strahan in a putting contest, if not anybody else).
Woods hasn’t quite lowered himself to the level of John Daly, who can’t get through the Augusta National gates Masters week, so he sells autographed hats, T-shirts or anything you want down the street in a Hooters parking lot. But he is certainly trending in the wrong direction.
UPDATE: Woods Tweeted about the champions dinner Tuesday night and used the opportunity to plug his book.
It took me a while to get to this point with Woods. He’s one of the most fascinating subjects in sports history, and I’m naturally drawn to great stories (whether it involves wins or cars crashing into oak trees). But I’m moving on. Maybe Woods should, too.
The four-time Masters champion was scheduled to check into Augusta for Tuesday night’s champions dinner, but that will be the extent of his action. He will take one less shot than Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player (ceremonial tee shots). He continues to battle back issues and will miss his second straight Masters and third in the last four years.
The guy isn’t breaking down. The guy is broken down. A successful comeback would be a great story but how realistic is that? This isn’t about a guy’s need to fix his game or get in shape or bounce back from knee surgery. The back issues have lingered for years. Back issues don’t go away. Ever.
Woods obviously wanted to play this week — it’s why he waited so long until announcing Friday that he was pulling out. He has more money than he’ll ever need and the Tour is packed with talented young players. Woods hasn’t won a tournament since 2013 or a major since the 2008 U.S. Open. Even worse, he can’t make it through four rounds.
Maybe it’s time to retire.
Maybe Nike needs to come out with new Woods shoes in “surrender white.”
A plea: Just don’t turn into a cartoon. There’s already one of those in front of Hooters.
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