Tiger: a whisker away. Or not.

Right now, everyone in sports is whispering behind their palms about the great Tiger Woods missing the cut for the British Open.  When you’re Number One, you have to expect this reaction.

The last time Woods missed a cut was the 2006 U.S. Open.  Today marked only his sixth MC since turning pro.  With 2-1 odds having him winning at Turnberry, the whispers and speculation aren’t going to go away too quickly.

Woods wasn’t having a horrible day from the start, which might add to why his self-implosion was so, well, cataclysmic.  Woods was one-under par on the day, breaking even overall for the Tournament, but when he reached No. 8, the meltdown began.

Bogey, bogey, bogey, and so on.  Until he ended the day with a very subpar (pun) +5.  As other golfers finished their rounds, it became clear that Woods didn’t actually miss the cut by much–one stroke, as it turned out.

That’s the thing about sports.  Sometimes things aren’t falling your way, sometimes you’re off.  Sometimes Lady Fortune turns against you.  The shocking part about today and the fall of Tiger is the fact that the “sometimes” factors don’t usually apply to him.

Golf’s current prominence in the eye of the sports viewing collective has a lot to do with the general consistency and golfing prowess of Tiger Woods.  Some tune in only to watch him.

It’s incredible what he’s done for the sport, as well as what he’s done in terms of the sport, but he isn’t the game.  And sometimes the hero falls.

With no Tiger on the prowl, 59-year-old Tom Watson is atop the leaderboard along with relatively unknown American Steve Marino.  Marino was an alternate who got the call after Shingo Katayama withdrew because of injury.  Marino actually had to have his dad FedEx his passport in order to play in his first Open.

Watson was scheduled to be an analyst tomorrow, but he’s gone and fired himself by staying in the game.  He won his first Open Championship in 1975 and was supposedly playing for nostalgic purposes. Possibly vying for a win at Turnberry might be nostaligic for Watson, but it’s a hell of a storyline for those needing to fill the void that Tiger’s departure may have created.

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