Putting down the clubs

Justin Prakaiphetkul, Asst. Sports Editor

It’s always hard for all-time sports greats to decide when to hang their boots up.

Just last year, Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan, all legends at their respective craft, came to the difficult conclusion that they needed to retire. Some retire at the top of the world, like Manning, while others, like Bryant, retire at the bottom of the standings. With that said, it’s now time for Tiger Woods to follow suit.

Now, you can say what you want to say about Woods as an individual, whose actions should not be dismissed, but you cannot deny his once stellar play in the art of golf. In his prime, Woods was among the most well-known athletes of his time, with his popularity rivaling and even surpassing the likes of Manning and Kobe.

When he first burst onto the scene, Woods took the world by storm. Unlike the stereotypical middle-aged white golfer, Woods was a young African-American athlete who a younger audience was able to relate to, taking the popularity of golf to new heights.

A trait of Woods’ that sticks out to me is his confidence, which was on par with the likes of Michael Jordan and Floyd Mayweather.

Woods is second all time in PGA Tour wins with 79, second all time in majors wins with 14 and owns the lowest career scoring average in PGA Tour history. Woods is also an 11-time PGA Player of the Year, a nine-time Vardon Trophy winner and winner of 14 major golf championships, second only to Jack Nicklaus’ 18.

At one point, it looked as though Woods would be golf’s undisputed greatest of all time. Yet, it seems like forever since Woods has been considered a legitimate threat in any competitive golfing event, as he is currently ranked No. 838 among golfers in the world.

In fact, Woods recently announced that he would be missing the Masters for the third time in four years, due to a back issue. Then, a mere three weeks later, Woods underwent his fourth back surgery, termed an “anterior lumbar interbody fusion.” I don’t know about what you think, but that concoction of words does not sound like anything to kid about.

Since 2008, Woods has undergone six surgeries to repair various back and knee issues, and this isn’t even mentioning all the Achilles tendon injuries Woods has suffered.

With all the injuries, along with his steep decline in performance, I believe that the time has come for Woods to finally retire.

It always hurts to see a legend slowly crawl his way to eventual retirement, as depicted  before with Bryant in his last three seasons. It was definitely hard to watch Kobe as a shell of his former himself, but at least he was able to end his career with a spectacular last game.

With Woods, at this point, it doesn’t seem likely that he will be able to have that last great send-off. Due to his meteoric rise to the top of American sports, when Woods underperforms, everybody takes notice. The longer he continues to play, the more he will diminish his legacy.

I don’t want to remember Woods as an old man who refused to retire; I want to be able to look back at Woods as one of the greatest golfers that ever lived.

And the only way for that to happen is if Woods puts down the clubs permanently.