Crouching Tiger can't get right

Jul. 20, 2014 @ 11:56 PM

Nobody’s scared of Tiger anymore.

Which doesn’t necessarily mean Tiger Woods is finished, just that we need to stop all of this waiting around for him to roar again.

New cats like “Roar-y” are raising their voices.

Rory McIlroy’s British Open win Sunday allowed him to join Jack Nicklaus and Woods as the only players since the first Masters Tournament in 1934 to win three majors before age 25. McIlroy is 25. Woods was 24 when he did it, and Nicklaus was 23.

Woods is 38 right now, and his goal to surpass Nicklaus’ 18 titles is looking iffy. Woods has 14 majors and hasn’t won one since 2008.

Not that Woods needs to win anything else to validate his brilliance. But it’s like the way we try to measure LeBron James based on the number of championship rings he has compared to Michael Jordan’s jewelry.

Listen, Jordan is Jordan.

But James could retire right now without jeopardizing his je ne sais quoi.

Unless you’re going to try to argue that Barry Sanders wasn’t a beast because he retired too soon.

Remember when Mike Tyson was going from ring to ring knocking the fool out of dudes? But then Buster Douglas put Tyson on his butt. Remember that, over in Tokyo?

Tyson never was the same after that. We kept waiting for Iron Mike to return. All we got from him instead was something akin to various brands of aluminum foil.

That’s the same way we’re waiting for Woods to prowl and prey, but all he ever does is purr a little bit.

And that’s OK. Life happens to all of us. We run into fire hydrants. We go through divorces. Our bodies get older and injured.

Yet there’s something to be said about leaving it all on the field. Competitors do that, so there’s no reason to expect Woods just to walk away from the game.

We, however, need to lower our expectations. If Woods winds up winning another major, then cool. Unexpected sports stories are the best.

And Woods roaring again would be a surprise. He finished in 69th place in the British Open. There were 72 golfers who made the cut.

Eldrick Woods might have some pretty good golf left in him.

But we’ve probably seen the last of Tiger.

John McCann is at or @johntmccann on Twitter.