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Everyone knows by now that Tiger Woods will be absent from the U.S. Open due to leg injuries; however, the question is: do people care? The answer to this question is yes, people do care—especially Americans, about Tiger’s absence from the U.S. Open. The question to ask is: do Americans root for Tiger because they don’t want European golfers to win? In regards to European success, the numbers speak for themselves. As Simon Veness of skysports.com explains in a recent article of his,
“the fact Woods has so dominated the scene for the past 13 years has certainly skewed things in terms of the Uncle Sam quotient. But, take Tiger’s 14 Majors out of the equation in that time…the rest of the world wins 55 percent of the time when Mr Fire Hydrant is not in the field. A sobering thought for the country that stages three of the four.”
Europeans have won 55 percent of the time. This is more than half the time! This is quite dreadful for American golfers, especially since three of the four majors are in the U.S. as aforementioned by Veness. In the article, Veness also points out that out of the last ten U.S. Opens only four Americans have won. With all that said, Even if Americans are not rooting for Tiger because of the facts Veness points out, it is not surprising because Americans love a come back-story.
Despite Tigers noted troubles, as bad as they may be, people still root for him. There is no fact as telling as the recent report by Eben Novy-Williams, of bloomberg.com, that discusses the impact of ticket prices since Tiger’s withdrawal from the U.S. Open on June 7th. In the report Novy-Williams says “ticket prices for golf’s U.S. Open have dropped 20 percent on the resale market”. More specifically, referring to the resale market in the report, Novy-Williams writes, “Four-day tickets to the tournament on EBay Inc. (EBAY)’s Stubhub dropped today to $402 from almost $500 on June 7, when Woods withdrew”. The report, which was written on June 9th (2 days after Tigers announcement) “anticipates prices will continue to drop another 17 percent” before the start of the U.S. Open.
Not only do fans and people in the market that depend on television ratings and ticket sales care about Tiger’s absence, but so do his competitors. Recently, defending U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell said that he hopes Tiger is able to recover and have a chance to break Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major champion-ships won. In an article by Paul Mahoney, a contributor to Golf Magazine, McDowell says in reference to Tiger, “I hope for golf’s sake that he’s not finished…I hope this injury is not as bad as it seems and that he comes back and wins more majors and has a chance to beat Jack’s record.” The Golden Bear (Nicklaus’s nickname) shares McDowell’s sentiment saying recently in an article by John Dillion of the website express.co.uk, “Nobody ever wants their records to be broken, that much is obvious. but I certainly don’t want Tiger not to be healthy and not to have the opportunity to play to break those records.”
All in all, if Jack Nicklaus doesn’t want Tiger to finish his career this way, no one should. I think this sentiment is shared by many people, and not just by Americans, but, by many golf fans all across the world. It would be upsetting to see Tiger finish his career due to injury, especially since his talent cannot be doubted for a second. Tigers resume of 14 major speaks for itself. It would be unfortunate to see Tiger go out this way and have to ask the following questions: could he have won four more majors? Could he have won four more majors, which would have tied Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major championships won? Would he be considered the best golfer of all time if he tied Jack Nicklaus’s record? These are the questions everyone might be asking in the near future but right now people are wondering the same questions Graeme McDowell is asking, “Is he finished? Is he not finished? It’s an interesting one.”