Trust Em Woods Drives the Bus


Heres what Shaun Micheel said last week at the Cialis Western Open. We cant all be Tiger Woods and contend each week.
Thats Shuan MicheelPGA Tour winner and major champion all wrapped up into one big week two years ago at the PGA Championship held at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y.
How did the quote come about? Simple. Micheel and Ben Curtis were in contention at Cog Hill Golf Club and the questions were coming rapid fire regarding their success, or lack of, since their major championships.
Neither Micheel nor Curtis (who won the Open Championship at Royal St. Georges in 2003) has had a top-10 finish on the PGA Tour since winning the major.
To some, drilling either man with the what in the name of Cinderella is wrong with your game is an unfair question. Another critic might look at such finger pointing as a compliment in the truest sense.
Actually, I think questioning the likes of a Micheel or Curtis, or Todd Hamilton about their lack of contention since winning one of golfs ultimate and precious prizes is nothing more than a great compliment.
We want and expect great things out of them ' which ought to tell them that they can play at the highest level.
On the Sprint Post Game last week my cohort Brian Hewitt asked Curtis (who was a co-leader heading into Sunday) whether a win at the Cialis Western Open might actually be a bigger win for his career than the improbable, yet spectacular, accomplishment among the games best at Royal St. Georges.
Curtis actually paused before giving his answer. Which tells me hes thought about the importance of validation. Curtis said, No. And he should have. The British Open is the biggest win he could have dreamed of as a PGA Tour rookie in 2003. The Cialis Western Open would have been huge, but it shouldnt be bigger than the British.
To me, though, Hewitts question was a darned good one. People have and might never stop thinking of Bens win asdare I saya fluke.
Expecting Curtis or Micheel to play with the consistency of a Woods or a Singh or a Mickelson is absurd for either. Micheel put the notion of it in great perspective and put Woods in his proper place among the PGA Tour members. Theres only one Tiger, according to Micheel.
Just like in basketball, every team has a franchise player, Shaun said. The people around them make em great.
True. Very true.
If I finish 20th every week, I wont be in any World Golf Hall of Fame, Micheel added. But I will make a good living. Isnt that what Im supposed to do?
Amen, Shaun.
Professional golf is a business. And the Tiger Woods of the world or the Vijay Singhs or the Phil Mickelsons have to beat somebody. A 20th place Shaun Micheel or a 20th place Ben Curtis makes them quite competitive in todays PGA Tour landscape. It also makes them a whole lot of money at years end. Figure about $80,000 a week at perhaps 30 events if they made every cut. That would equal $2.4 million at years end, which would have a whole lot of people ultimately talking about them and their games.
Following up a major championship isnt easy. But winning one isnt easy either. Go ahead and say Ben Curtis backed into his if you want. But he got some help and he played his way into contention to have the chance to get that help.
Shaun Micheels 7-iron was one of the greatest clutch shots in major championship history. Rich Beem had his great fairway wood, and Todd Hamilton had the great hybrid chip/putt around the green last year at the British Open.
So Micheels message isnt meant to garner support. He and Curtis both told us on the Sprint Post Game that they feel they owe no apologies.
For both, I wish them a victory in the near future. I wish them a week like Bart Bryant had at the Memorial.
If you dont want to give the accolades or the support to the likes of Curtis or Micheel, then pass it toward Tiger Woods.
Woods might not win each week these days. But a win at the Masters, a third at Memorial, a second at the U.S. Open and a second to Jim Furyk at the Cialis Western Open after an opening round of 2-over 73 proves just how great he is.
Woods and Singh, Mickelson and Els are as consistent as they come. Not everybody can be like them. Thats why they are dubbed 'superstars.'
Woods is the best of the best. Seemingly always in it, and hardly ever believed out of it. Applaud the greatness that is. Were lucky to see it.
Micheel counts himself lucky to be a part of a PGA Tour with the likes of Woods, and seems just fine with a career goal of consistent contention, a few wins here and there andby gosha major championship if hes fortunate to somehow find one or two.
Think about it. Golf is a business. Tiger Woods is big business. Thats just the way it is.
Role players are a way of life in sports. And if all goes well, sometimes theyll play a bigger role than others. All that the likes of Micheel and Curtis are looking for is a stage from which to play a role.
Go for it guys, and dont worry about the critics.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann