Tiger Stripes
-Photo Credit: fineartamerica.com

Fast forward 18 years, 14 majors and 79 PGA Tour wins. Tiger Woods is back where it all started but now struggling to just be relevant again. Tiger finds himself where he became the youngest ever to win The Masters. However, he also finds himself a 40-1 underdog partly because of an infidelity scandal, a 10 year Masters drought and a 7 year Major win absence.

We can talk about the laundry list of Tiger Woods’ accomplishments for days. Youngest ever to win The Masters, youngest ever to reach a golfing career Grand Slam, all-time leading money winner, most consecutive weeks at number 1 in the world, 2nd most PGA Tour wins behind Sam Sneed and 2nd most majors behind Jack Nicklaus. But that all seems like a distant memory as golf fans would settle to just see Tiger play on a Sunday this year. After all, we have not seen Tiger play on Sunday since July 20th of last year in The Open in which he finished 6 over par for 69th place. Now days we are more familiar with Tiger’s laundry list of injuries and recent history of withdraws.

The debate between golf fans now seems to be is Tiger’s issues more mental or physical. While I understand there may not be another sport in the world that requires your mental game to be entirely focused, allow me to play doctor for a moment. Since 1994 Tiger has had at least 5 surgeries on his left knee, multiple Achilles issues in both legs, pinched nerves and a litany of recent back issues. As if that list was not enough to cause concern, the absolute majority of those issues have come since 2008, the year in which Tiger last won a major. Coincidence or not? I think you know what side of the fence I am leaning on for this particular debate. Many will argue that Tiger is only 39 and has plenty of time to catch Jack. Well to that I say…Tiger is not your typical 39-year-old. Tiger started playing golf at 2 years of age and it has also been cited by his own trainers that he trains like a marine. That is a lot of wear and tear on a 39-year-old body. Unfortunately we are seeing the same thing in the NBA with Kobe Bryant.

It’s not only the on-the-course disappointment and injury issues that have made Tiger irrelevant in the world of golf as of late. EA Sports recently made the decision to end its branding agreement with Tiger and now Rory McIlroy graces the cover of EA Sports longtime golf franchise video game. The same guy who ironically won the last tournament that Tiger even played on a Sunday, The 2014 Open Championship.

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour
-Photo Credit: EA Sports

At the time of this article Tiger has had a decent, unpredictable and frustrating day all rolled into 18 holes at Augusta. He started the 2015 Masters on the wrong foot with a bogey on the 1st hole but bounced back nicely with a birdie on the 2nd. Tiger is struggling from the tee box, showing frustration and even grimacing. Teeing off on the 9th at even par, coming off an 8th hole par 5 birdie, Tiger sliced his drive into the trees on the par 4 and ended up with a bogey. He immediately knew he sliced the drive and jerked his club back around violently in frustration. He rode a decent short game to the 12th hole where he bogeyed the par 3 but bounced right back to birdie the 13th. Then the frustration set in again. Tiger hits his drive from the 15th tee box and immediately mumbles, “ah Tiger…dumbass” as the ball slices into the tree line amongst the crowd. He would once again manage to bounce back and par the 15th as well as the final 3 holes to give him a first round 73.

So Tiger will enter day 2 at The Masters 1 over par, tied for 41st place and 9 shots behind the leader Jordan Spieth. When asked about his play on day one of the 2015 Masters Tiger said, “It was a good day, I felt good out there.” I have a hard believing that Tiger really believes that and his expressions after his first round looked as if he was a beaten man. He had the look as if I played well and gave it everything I had, but I cannot compete like I use to. My belief is that Tiger came back too soon because he succumbed to the temptation of a tradition unlike any other. I believe that Tiger is not healthy and may not ever reach that point where he is able to complete for all four rounds of all four majors in a year. I saw something more than just frustration in this 39 year old Tiger today, I saw a man trying to hide that fact that he is not physically well and just cannot overcome it. While he didn’t have the worst first round today, he didn’t give me any confidence to predict that he will make the cut or not end up withdrawing once again. I think we are all rooting for a relevant Tiger, but I would not count on this Tiger to change his stripes, trade in the white & grey for his Sunday red & black, and be Masterful once again.

Brandon covers the PGA for MyFantasySportsTalk.com , You can follow him on Twitter @New_Breid

Brandon ReidAnalysisGolfAugusta,PGA,The Masters,Tiger,Tiger Woods-Photo Credit: fineartamerica.com Fast forward 18 years, 14 majors and 79 PGA Tour wins. Tiger Woods is back where it all started but now struggling to just be relevant again. Tiger finds himself where he became the youngest ever to win The Masters. However, he also finds himself a 40-1...Why go anywhere else for sports and entertainment?