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Oliver: Is Tiger the Tyson of golf?

| Monday, April 11, 2011

Tiger Woods made a dramatic charge on the front nine at The Masters Sunday, shooting an amazing 31 to get to 10-under par and forge a tie for the lead.

However, on the back nine, Woods couldn't continue his surge and finished the tournament at 10-under, four strokes behind eventual winner Charl Schwartzel.

The charge by Woods brought back memories of the days when the former No. 1 player in the world dominated the sport like nobody ever had.

But at the end of the day, his streak of futility continued.

Woods hasn't won a golf tournament since 2009. He hasn't won a major event since he captured the U.S. Open in 2008.

That's nearly three years since he last won a major.

Will he ever win another one?


With 14 in his back pocket already, will he break Jack Nicklaus' career record of 18 majors?


Woods' drop from prominence in golf has been nearly as amazing as his sudden rise in 1996 when he won his first two pro tournaments and then captured The Masters in 1997.

Woods could very well end up being the Mike Tyson of golf.

Tyson, who dominated the boxing landscape for more than a decade, dropped from the upper echelon of the heavyweight division and then wallowed in obscurity for four years before retiring in 2006.

If you look at the timeline, their careers have been fairly similar.

Tyson burst on the scene in 1986 and managed to out-shine the hype that came with him.

He won his first heavyweight title a year later and became the undisputed champion later in 1987.

Other than a brief hiccup when he was upset by James "Buster" Douglas in 1990, Tyson ruled the heavyweight division until the end of 1996.

His reign as the "baddest man on the planet" lasted more than 11 years.

After his first loss to Evander Holyfield, all of a sudden Tyson was no longer invincible.

He lost the rematch with Holyfield in 1997 in the infamous ear-biting fight and was more of a curious sideshow than a contender the last few years until he retired with a record of 50-6-2 (44 KOs).

Woods, after winning his first Masters, was the face of golf for more than a decade.

He was the top-ranked golfer in the world until 2010.

However, Woods has been more of a chump than a champ the last two years.

It's been nearly two years since Woods has raised any type of trophy.

His drop from dominance has been remarkably similar to Tyson's in that both came inexplicably when each seemed in the prime of their careers.

Tyson dominated boxing for 13 years. Woods did the same in golf for about the same number of years.

The only difference is the final chapter has yet to be written on Woods.

Although I doubt he will get a tattoo on his face and become a broken side show like Tyson has, I also doubt he will ever dominate golf like he did a few years ago.

I was rooting for Woods yesterday, hoping to see him beat the bevy of foreign golfers who gathered with him at the top of the leaderboard.

But I also felt that, if Woods had mustered enough to pull off the win, the feat would have been the exception, rather than the norm in his now fading career.

Just like Tyson at the tail end of his.

Woods is still a relatively young man. He still has several years left in his career.

However, the domination is over.

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