Tiger Woods’ slide continued last week at the Open Championship, where he missed the cut and dropped outside the top 250 in the world.
In an interview with Omnisport, a Europe-based sports news service, Gary Player called Woods’ decline “sad” and said that the game needs Woods to spread the game globally.
“We need Tiger Woods. Why? He’s a man of color. We need a black champion,” Player said, according to the report.
“Go to Africa, where we’ve got all these young black kids used to seeing a white guy as the champion. Now they’re getting inspired; they’re sitting in front of their TV sets. It inspires them; it gets them interested in golf.
“Asia wants to see a man of color. So there are many reasons besides being so charismatic. I don’t know if anybody in the world today can play like Tiger Woods did.”
Woods’ missed cut at St. Andrews was his third in his last four majors, and he needs high finishes in his next two starts – the Quicken Loans National and PGA Championship – to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs. His world ranking (258) is the lowest it has been in 19 years, since his rookie season on Tour.
“It’s sad to see him shooting 85 and missing cuts and not hitting the fairways,” Player said.