Gracious ending

Tiger Woods' career is far from over, but when the time comes will he get a similar treatment as Jack Nicklaus did at St. Andrews in 2005?

By Associated Press

The greats have always grabbed my attention.

Whether it was watching Nolan Ryan throwing no-hitters in his 40s, Jack Nicklaus crossing the bridge at St. Andrews for the last time or Peyton Manning throwing 55 touchdowns last season, I’ve always cherished getting a chance to see them do their thing in their final days.

Of course it isn’t just the old guys winding down their career. Today it’s Mike Trout with the Angels, Miguel Cabrera with the Tigers in baseball, Rory McIlroy in golf and Drew Brees of the Saints and Adrian Peterson of the Vikings.

So when I was watching the PGA Championship on Thursday and Tiger Woods opened the first round with a couple of bogeys and finished at 3-over par I was trying to figure out what category he falls into these days.

There was a time I wouldn’t miss a Sunday round with Woods was playing. It was such a treat to watch him finish a round. There was no one else like him. Greatness at its best.

It was just a pleasure to watch.

I’m just not sure what I am watching these days.

Is it him working his way back to a certain level of greatness that defines the second half of his career? He will never reach level of play that allowed him to dominate since the late 1990s, but he could still reach No. 1 in the world and win say 10 more events before heading off to the Senior PGA if he puts it together again.

Or is this the Tiger where he is making the cut but never really in contention we are going to see rest of the way?

I have always hoped he’d make it back to a certain level of greatness since his downfall began after his personal life got out of whack. Then my buddy asked whether I thought Woods would surpass Nicklaus’ record for 18 career majors and for the first time I said no without hesitation.

I’ve always held out hope that he would challenge just because I thought it would be compelling to watch.

Now, I don’t think there is a chance. He may put together four rounds and win another major or maybe even two.

I just don’t think he will win the five needed to surpass Nicklaus. I think the rest of his career will be more like when Tom Watson or Freddy Couples put themselves in contention in recent years only to fall short.

So while he there isn’t a symbolic bridge at Valhalla Golf Club for Woods to cross this week it sure feels like he should because it seems as if he will never be great again.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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