By: Kirk McEwen

How much does this suck?

Tiger Woods says he’s not playing in this year’s Masters after having back surgery earlier this week.

You don’t think it sucks?

Ask the brass at CBS Sports what they think.  If honest they’d say they’re a tad bit nervous after getting that call from Tiger’s handlers.

Let’s face it, the “tradition like no other”, which starts April 10th, always seems to carry more gravitas when ol’ Tiger’s in the hunt.  This year he won’t even be in the field.  In fact, this will be the first Masters he will have ever missed, dating back 20 years.  How much thought do you think went into THAT decision?  The guy obsesses over everything and he loves Augusta National!  He won his first Green Jacket in 1997 by a record 12 shots and an unbelievable 18 under par, then went ahead and won three more.  He was on the fence whether he’d try and play and he decided to go ahead and pull the trigger and get the microdiscectomy this past Monday.

Now he says he’s set to begin “intensive rehabilitation” within a week and we may see him back competing by June or July.  I just say get well soon, there’s still plenty of golf to be played.

So many people like to say how Tiger Woods is washed up.  How he talks about his aches and pains when he’s losing but not when he’s playing well.

All I know is when Tiger’s game is on it’s a thing of beauty, so much so that it’s appointment television.  The golf pro and the grandmother all watch and all have an opinion when Tiger’s wearing red and rollin’ on Sunday at the Masters, or any major, for that matter.  It’s hysterical that I find myself actually having to defend the man in conversations; he’s won 79 times on tour leaving him just three off Sam Snead’s record 82!  That’s why my world won’t be rocked if Adam Scott is able to repeat next weekend at Augusta National.  There’s no history there and certainly no sizzle.

Love him or hate him, Tiger brings sizzle and even though he’s been complaining of back troubles for some time now, you almost expected him to play through the pain like he did in winning that U.S. Open on a broken leg in ’08.  With this latest surgery maybe Tiger has finally gotten to the root of his recent mediocrity, if being ranked number 1 can be called mediocre.  But he set the bar high himself, saying Jack’s 18 majors was the goal.

He’s 38 with 14 majors won.

If he comes back healthy, I may not have to defend him anymore.



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