It’s time to rank the Top 10 Tiger shots of 2011.
If you’re a devoted Tiger Woods fan, be forewarned, you won’t like them.
At the height of Woods’ powers, you never had to dig deep to remember the shots that made you shake your head.
You still don’t, even through this lean season, but that’s because we’re ranking a different kind of Tiger shot this year. We’re ranking the top 10 shots that were taken at Tiger, the verbal pot shots.
In a mostly lost season, Woods didn’t hit his targets so much as he was a target. He got pummeled pretty good again in ’11, on and off the course.
As Tiger makes his way back – and he showed strong signs in Australia this month that he’s getting closer – there is plenty of bulletin-board material to motivate him. Here are the 10 Tiger shots that landed hardest:
10. Fortune Magazine speculates in a summer story that Woods is running out of money.
“When news broke a few weeks ago that Tiger Woods had signed an endorsement deal to hawk a heat rub in Japan, it was hard not to think of ‘Lost in Translation’ or of the ‘Entourage’ episode when Vincent Chase goes to China to do an energy drink commercial because he's out of money . . . It's no secret that Woods, once king of the sports world, has suffered financially since his fall from grace. His endorsement list shrank and his marriage ended in a divorce settlement reportedly worth $100 million. But now he may actually be hurting for funds. At the very least, there are signs that he isn't generating enough to comfortably cover his costs.”
9. Lanny Wadkins tells ESPN that Jack Nicklaus beat tougher foes in the majors than Woods did.
“Everybody [Nicklaus] beat were Hall of Famers. The best tournaments you talk about with Tiger were a playoff with Rocco Mediate and Bob May. Lee Trevino beat Nicklaus in a U.S. Open 18-hole playoff. The quality of people he's beaten compared to who Jack beat, there's no comparison.”
8. Greg Norman says Woods is done winning majors.
In a Golf Magazine interview with David Feherty in September, Greg Norman says Woods won’t win another major championship.
“It's a combination of everything. Tiger, when he dominated, had a single-shot approach. It was only about the golf. Everything else was taken care of. I mean he was put up on this pedestal, and he enjoyed it, likely so, because he did what he did. But now there are so many other distractions, and people are looking for things that are wrong with Tiger now, so he's got to deal with that on a day-to-day basis, like every other mortal has to do, right? In our lives, in our business, we all have to be responsible for our actions. It's very hard for him to have that focus. And the more he shuts people off, the worse it gets.”
7. Rory McIlroy calls Tiger “ordinary” in a short story he authored for Sports Illustrated a month before the Masters.
“I wasn't playing against Tiger Woods when he had that aura. I was watching on TV … There was a presence about him. There still is to some extent, but when you’re on the golf course you simply block it out . . . I'm not sure we are going to see him dominate again the way he did. He never seemed like he would make a mistake. It's not that he's playing badly. He's simply playing badly by Tiger's standards. He's playing like an ordinary golfer.”
6. In a top-10 ranking of the cheapest celebrity tippers, Miami New Times tabs Woods No. 1.
“The reason he doesn't tip: The man worth more than $500 million says it's because he never carries cash. The Frisky reports Tiger dated ‘a gal in Las Vegas who had to tip for him whenever they went out.’ And according to List of the Day, Tiger once ‘pulled a mulligan on a $5 tip, re-pocketing the money meant for a waitress after realizing he had tipped her earlier in the evening. He was possibly distracted by the $10,000 hand of blackjack he was playing.’ Hey, Tiger, we have a tip for you: When it comes to leaving money for those who are serving you, just do it.”
5. Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee takes Woods to task after missed cut at the PGA Championship.
“His short game is atrocious to match a long game that is in complete disarray. It’s fragile. It’s like a wet grocery bag full of jugs of milk . . . I think he’s lying to himself. When he was with Hank Haney, he said, ‘I used to just dump it off at the top and cut across it.’ Well, now he dumps it in the water, he dumps it into bunkers, and he snap-hooks it into trees.”
4. ESPN’s Rick Reilly calls Woods a JAG in a column in July.
“You're a JAG right now – Just Another Guy. You're not golf's young stud anymore. Not young. Not a stud. Dustin Johnson takes you four out of five in a cage match now. It's been three years since you've won a major. Almost two since you've won ... anything. You're 35 years old with a knee that's had four surgeries, an Achilles that's a-killing you, and a golf ball that won't listen. You need to realize that when you come back, you'll no longer scare anybody. Unlike the old days, you can only win with your clubs now, not your scowl and not your jet and not your caddie, whoever that's going to be. Tell me, what do tour players Chris Couch, Marc Leishman and Chris Stroud have in common with you this year? They've all won about the same money and the exact same number of tournaments as you have. Which would be zero. Anybody scared of those guys? You're sliding down the world rankings like they're greased. You're 20th now. You're as upside down as NewsCorp stock.”
3. Fan at Frys.com Open makes a bizarre statement throwing a hot dog at Woods.
After a fan was arrested for disturbing the peace he told The Associated Press he was inspired by the movie “Drive.” He says it’s why he marched onto the seventh green to toss a hot dog at Woods: “As soon as the movie ended, I thought to myself, 'I have to do something courageous and epic. I have to throw a hot dog on the green in front of Tiger.’”
2. Steve Williams diminishes 12 years of service as Woods’ caddie.
After being fired by Woods, Williams helps Adam Scott win the WGC-Bridgestone in August, then takes a jab at Woods at the end of the CBS’ national telecast: “I've caddied for 33 years – 145 wins now – and that's the best win I've ever had.”
1. Williams fires racial slur at Woods in China in early November.
In easily the nastiest shot at Woods, Williams offers up the most mean-spirited dig of the year while accepting a not-so serious caddie award “honoring” Williams for his celebration of Scott’s Bridgestone victory. Asked to explain his remarks in the wake of that victory, Williams said he wanted to send a message to Woods: “My aim was to shove it right up that black ----.”
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