... at least, that's what was splashed across the front cover of this week's issue of a popular-but-probably-not-very-influential periodical which we know as SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
Above the cover-photo of 'Bama TE Colin Peek makin' the over-the-shoulder TD grab vs. Fla. is the magazine's name ... but ABOVE those words is the postage-stamp-sized photo of Eldrick positioned to the left of the banner headline: THE SADNESS.
[Tiny print: " -- by Phil Taylor, pg. 48 ... ]
Compounded with today's announcement that Eldrick will be taking a leave of absence from golf -- to, apparently, get his shit together -- what you have is grounds for black armbands and flags flown at half-staff.
That means "NOW," America ...
Oh, and while you're at it, rent a bagpipe ensemble to fire up "Amazing Grace," okay?
Forget that shit ... some of us are choosing Option "C)" >>> "take yer name off yer phone (name off yer phone ... ) / my wife went through my phone and she may be calling you (name off yer phone ... )
Why THE SADNESS, USSI (United States of S.I.)? We've had two weeks of hardcore hysteria and unmitigated silliness ... so why so gloomy, Gus?
If we don't take this Schadenfreude to the limit, then we're merely settin' ourselves up for Stage 2 in S.I.'s "process."
First ... the "sadness" ...
Then ... THE SORROW!
As one might expect, one of the pallbearers at the Death of The PGA was Rick Reilly, who used his higher-visibility platform known as the Disneyland Sports Pinwheel ('cuz he left S.I., uh-member?) to inform America that "the tour" simply won't be the same w/o Woody ... as if this latest development is some sort of Bad Day At Black Rock paradigm.
"Where were you, America, the exact moment that Eldrick used a tiny golf pencil to stab this nation right thru the heart?"
Notwithstanding the usual emptiness of Reilly's emptyheadness, it makes ya wonder: If the implication here is that one performer -- no matter his skill-level or the scope of his popularity -- has sunk the PGA Tour's relevance sans Tiger to a subterranean level of either billiards, motocross, Olympic biathlon and various equestrian events, well, maybe the sport isn't much of frickin' sport to begin with, eh?
Without Woody winning our hearts and taking our breath away with each swing of the club, sports such as bullriding and speed skating on Versus will outdraw the Greater (YourCity'sNameHere) Open or the Nabisco 14-Club Challenge.
That is, unless Shooter McGavin can regain the form that made him a top money-winner on the tour way back when.
"Damn you, people! This is golf!"
Those were Shooter's immortal words. However, for THE all-time, ultimate, put-it-on-my-headstone golf moment, let's knock down a few pegs Ty Webb's "Let's see ... Sonja Heine's out. How 'bout Danny Noonan?" gem from the no-brainer of a golf-as-a-lifestyle mosaic and rewind to that All-Time No. 1 Golf Moment when Bill Foster (portrayed by Michael Douglas outfitted in military-surplus-store attire) was taking a shortcut through the L.A. country club and, thereby, interrupting those old geezers' game.
As we recall, Bill used the shotgun from the cachet of weapons he was toting to blast the old codgers' golf cart, sending it rolling down the hill and causing one of the geezers to crumple to the ground, clutching his chest while in the throes of an apparent heart attack.
Geezer (gasping, whispering): "Pills ... my pills ..."
Bill: "Your pills? Where are your pills?"
Geezer (still gasping, whispering): "Cart ... "
Bill: "Your pills are in the cart?" (Looks off to the distance, watches the cart rolling into the pond, turns to geezer and smiles) "Well, it looks like you're outta luck 'cuz your little cart is going to drown. Now, aren't ya sorry ya didn't let me pass through?"
Geezer (still gasping, unable to speak)
Bill: "And now you're going to die wearing that silly little hat. How does it feel?"
We never did learn if that old geezer died (likely so), but, either way, that scene from "Falling Down" is a KILLER every time.
That ... and what took place at incident Whammy Burger.
"Well, Rick, I, uhhh ... wait a minute. Why am I calling you by your first names as though we're in some AA meeting. I've worked for my boss for seven years, I still call him 'Mister' "
"You can call me, Miss Folsom ..."
Sheila ... you, too, are KILLING me!
Oh, ri-ri-ri-right ... back to Tiger ...
Some of us don't give a flying f**k about golf because eveybody knows that watching or playing golf is an excuse to NOT make America strong again via either slo-pitch softball, 3-on-3 hoops or tennis.
That super-sized, lard-ass Son-of-Julius-Boros-Named-Guy-Boros might cheat death for a weekend by completing anywhere from 36 to 54 holes, but nobody wants to see him leg out a grounder up the middle or waddle to his left along the baseline as he reaches for that backhand.
Seriously ... how many times did Our Second Baseman Mark waste my time by B.S.'ing w/ the other guys in the dugout about some Callaway clubs moments before he grounded into the 4-6-3 DP?
More specifically, how many times was it 4-6-3 w/ me on first base?
Golf is an "activity" (like archery or gardening) which is less about actual participation than it is about golf conversation (lookit this new windjacket! check out this new putter! wanna get a club sandwich and some brews afterwards? is Tiger playin' at Kapalua this weekend?).
PGA-wise, Reilly et al. seem to be implying that the sport, errr ... "activity" cannot simply dial up enough Stewart-Cink-Crushes-Tom-Watson's-Fairy-Tale-Weekend scenarios.
Or that Phil and Sergio and Furyk and Els et al. have enough charisma or staying power or whatever.
It's pretty much like what would happen to tennis if we took away Federer. It'd be an injured Nadal and a sporadic Roddick.
Kinda like women's tennis ...
Or the LPGA ...
To some of us, THE SADNESS is that the media won't use Tiger's absence to broaden its coverage of the LPGA Tour and give a little more exposure (literally and figuratively) to the abundantly-talented pro golfers on that tour, not the least of which is Lorena Ochoa.
And, therein lies THE SORROW.
The retirement of Annika Sorenstam (Tiger's equal on her tour) remains unnoticed.
But, Natalie Gulbis sure has a rockin' bod, eh?
What time does Danica Patrick tee off?