The PGA Tour will have to find a new face for the sport of golf, at least for now.
Eldrick "Tiger" Woods announced Friday through his official website that he'll be taking an indefinite break from pro golf to try and "repair the damage" that he's done to his family through a string of affairs that have recently come to light.
Woods says he's taking time off so that he can focus on being a better "husband, father and person," but a British newspaper says part of the reason he's leaving golf (for now) is that his wife, Elin Nordegren, has given the billionaire an ultimatum: golf or her.
That's what was first reported by The Sun before being picked up by media outlets around the world on Friday. They say Nordegren has drawn up a strict list of "rules" for Tiger to follow if he wants to fix the marriage - adding this quote from a source:
"They have agreed to try and rebuild their marriage, but Elin will be the one calling the shots. It will be a long time before [Woods is] travelling the globe playing golf unless Elin's by his side."
Later on Friday, Woods posted this statement:
"I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I want to do my best to try.
I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What's most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.
After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.
Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period."
Yeah, giving up golf is a big sacrifice for Woods, but lets be honest with ourselves here. The guy's a billionaire - he's basically playing for fun right now anyway. This is basically like him getting grounded and not being able to go hang out with his friends once he's done his homework.
His marriage is probably the bigger 'investment' to focus on right now anyway; if his wife leaves him, she'll leave with half his stuff, not to mention the millions upon millions of dollars she'll likely receive. Not that money is the reason he should try to patch things up with the wife, but I'm sure you understand where I'm coming from there.
Here's the other issue: how will the absence of the world's number one golfer affect the PGA? Can golf 'survive' without its number one draw?
Time Magazine has an interesting piece dealing with just that - they predict there will be a larger audience than expected tuning in to watch the next few tournaments.
Why? They say people will tune in to see how the networks handle the situation, what certain commentators say (whisper) about Woods, what other golfers have to say, and (in my mind, the weakest of all those arguments,) what a tour without Tiger "feels" like.
For me, the biggest thing to watch for is who will be the next up-and-coming pro athlete to be built up as the next wholesome, never-do-wrong guy...