2016 Masters is a Better Tournament Without Tiger

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The 2016 Masters will be held April 7-10, at Augusta National. The PGA recently released the names of the 90 players that will be challenging for the coveted green jacket. This year’s tournament will be as exciting as any past Masters, with a list of golfers from around the globe who can put together four solid rounds and win the most popular golf tournament on the PGA tour.

2016 Masters is a Better Tournament Without Tiger

Tiger Woods, a mainstay at the Masters and whose name is synonymous with past victories, may or may not be present when they tee off in a month. Despite reports of his ‘demise’, he was shown swinging several clubs, and even declared himself on the ‘road to recovery’. Whether he decides to play in the Masters, or any tournament in 2016, remains to be seen. Could this be a good thing for the current tour?

Let’s not forget, that when Tiger broke onto the scene, he was the most talked about player that ever graced a golf course, and expectations were through the roof. He was the next coming of Jack, Arnie, Hogan, and other greats all rolled into one. There was no doubt that he would be one of the greatest of all time, and the 18 major championships that Nicklaus won, would fall by the wayside. Tiger is at 14 and stuck, last winning a major tournament was the 2008 U.S. Open – a long eight years ago. His age, his ability to regain his stroke with nagging injuries, most certainly will preclude him from winning another five to break the record, much less one.

There have been a bevy of very good tournaments since Woods has been sidelined with ailing injuries, and a host of different winners makes this season a must-watch for golf fans going into the four majors. The mere mention of a Tiger ‘sighting’ sends talking heads into a frenzy, and the constant chatter, unfortunately, takes away attention from some of the more celebrated up-and-coming stars of the tour.

Think about the potential battles that will ensue over the weekend, if the likes of Mickelson, Spieth, Fowler, Scott, or either Johnson make their way through the initial cut. Of course no one can rule out the surprise player in the crowd, or the no-name who makes a few great approach shots and putts that put them in contention going into Sunday’s final round. This can’t be done if Tiger is prowling around on or near Augusta. For all the glory Tiger has had in winning four titles here, his mere presence would be sure to steal too much of the spotlight for the week.

No one begrudges Woods, nor his attempt to make yet another comeback after years of ailments have taken a toll on the once number one player in the world. Time has moved on, like after Jack won in 1986, and the likes of Watson, Floyd, Crenshaw, and others have also had their day in the hot Georgia sun. There are new mavericks on the PGA tour, and fans have come to enjoy competitive tournaments each and every week. This has not changed going into the 2016 season, and the Masters will be a culmination of the weeks that have led up to this Super Bowl of golf.

The 2016 Masters will be a much anticipated and wonderfully played tournament, with many twists and turns, and an almost guaranteed fight to the finish. However, Tiger Woods won’t be on the leader board over the weekend and probably not even near Augusta at all. That’s perfectly fine for the other 90+ golfers heading into the tournament. They have the chance to make their own history, and cultivate a following of fans over the course of the summer months, and three other majors. Woods’ time has come, and probably has gone, but that doesn’t mean that a new ‘prowler’ will make everyone forget the first time they saw Tiger put on a green jacket.