As the golfing world prepares for this week's PGA Championship -- the final major of the season -- all eyes will be fixed on Tiger Woods. Will Tiger win his 15th major this week? More importantly, will he break his five year win drought in the majors? Earlier in the week I wrote a column for Yahoo Sports suggesting that many golf fans believe Tiger has to do exactly that in order for his year to be considered "great". The idea is ludicrous, of course, considering that his year is already great due to his five tournament victories in 2013.
However, it was Tiger himself who said that the only way a golfer's "really good" year becomes "great" is by way of a major victory. Talk about having lofty standards.
Such has become the case for Woods and the measuring stick by which he is now measured. He is the epitome of golf greatness -- as far as anyone of this generation is concerned -- and we expect nothing less from the World No. 1. Tiger basically has to win every tournament he enters in order to appease any fans who are teetering on the "Is Tiger Worth My Time?" fence.
That facetious question is enough to make my head hurt. While Tiger's doubters may not explicitly inquire about Woods in so many words, there appears to be this cloud of indifference surrounding a man who many consider to be the greatest of all time. Just ask his new girlfriend, Lindsey Vonn, for example.
At what point did we, as fans, become so jaded that we have the audacity to ask if Tiger is living up to our own inflated standards? What is the psychology behind a legion of sport fans who need their superstars to win at all costs in order for that player to remain great? Couldn't we just all buy a new shiny sports car like the rest of the world trying to compensate for something?
In terms of this week's PGA Championship, Woods is faced with his final opportunity of this golf season to live up to an expectation not entirely his own. Yes, Woods (and any player worth his Tour card) should strive to win "the big one" every year. Still, I would doubt that Tiger truly expects to win every major he plays. There is a difference between confidence -- of which Tiger has enough to fill an ocean -- and unrealistic delusion.
Tiger Woods does not have to win this week's final major. While that proclamation may seem trite or obvious, it bears repeating for his fans and doubters alike.
Tiger Woods does not have to win the PGA Championship.
That being said, nothing would help his case of historic greatness more than to show the world that he can still be as great as we all want him to be.