Mendoza: Silence mutes the prowler’s growl

·2 min read

WHAT is it like on the golf course today with Tiger Woods back but not the fans?

Eerie to begin with.

Said Tiger to AP’s Doug Ferguson: “It’s a very different world out here not to have the distractions, the noise, the excitement, the energy that the fans bring. It’s just a silent and different world.”

It’s been five weeks since the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour’s return and, seemingly, the only change worth noting on the golf scene was Tiger wearing a mask.

Every one of his rivals was in mask, too, upon arrival at Colonial, Harbor Town and at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, even as a 20 percent crowd capacity, at the most, was recorded in each of the courses since action resumed on June 11.

That will be reprised in four more tournaments before the Tour Championship is held to end the FedEx Cup season.

No, not that Tiger has lost his fan appeal but rather, rules now forbid spectators from showing up in full force to avoid transmission of the coronavirus now plaguing the world. So, that makes Tiger a bit uneasy?

“I still feel he was starting to get a little sassy,” said Justin Thomas of Tiger. “I was telling him he’s scared to come out and play against all of us when he’s sitting at home, just trying to give him a hard time. But yeah, we’re excited to have him out.”

Tiger last played on Feb. 16 at Riviera, where he shot 77 and finished last. But that’s because he struggled with his recurring stiff back. He would rest four weeks in preparation for the Masters in April.

Then the pandemic struck, effectively knocking out the fans from Tiger’s line of sight. We all know that silence mutes his firepower. His birdies draw the loudest cheers ever in the game. Cheers energize him.

“I’ve had people around me, spectators yelling, a lot of movement inside the gallery with camera crews and media,” Tiger said.

It’s a whole new world now. No crowd. No fans. No cheers to accompany Tiger’s fist punching the air after a buried birdie putt, whether from near or afar.

Tiger’s rivals needed a virus to silence the growl. For how long, only the prowler knows.

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