Wayne Riley: Are We Finally Moving On From Tiger?

The game has struggled to find a replacement for Tiger Woods, but the talent on display at this year’s Majors shows the sport is no longer living in the shadow of the great man

are we finally moving on from tiger
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The game has struggled to find a replacement for Tiger Woods, but the talent on display at this year’s Majors shows the sport is no longer living in the shadow of the great man

Wayne Riley: Are We Finally Moving On From Tiger?

Obviously, Tiger Woods was an unbelievable asset to our game and the players owe so much to the great man.

But let me ask you this: does golf miss him?

confidence in golf

Does golf miss Tiger Woods?

You might think it is a silly question, but this season’s four Majors did a great job in showcasing the immense talent that exists today.

Sergio’s victory at The Masters was awesome and everyone was so happy for him.

Well, unless of course you had a tenner on Justin Rose, who played some phenomenal golf and will surely contend at Augusta National again.

Sergio Garcia wins first Major

Sergio Garcia won his first Major Championship at the 2017 US Masters

It took Sergio so long to win one of the big four, so it was a massive story to start the Major year off.

The US Open, for me, was a great event.

The scoring was good and low, and I think the USGA has done a great job with the tournament. It was well worth watching and working on.

In the past, US Opens have sometimes been tedious to say the least.

Birdies are hard to come by and pars are gold. So as a spectator it can be like root canal surgery without anaesthetic. Not this year.

Brooks Koepka was a deserved champion.

Brooks Koepka Wins US Open

He won the tournament with power mixed with finesse and that enviable, Dustin Johnson-style slow walk that indicates Koepka is a man comfortable when the pressure is on.

The fact he’s able to saunter along as if he’s having a Sunday knock with his mates during the final round of a Major suggests he’s going to put himself in that position time and time again.

Related: Wayne Riley Q&A: Life on tour

The Open Championship was probably one of the best I have ever been involved with.

For me, it was right up there with the first Open I played in, when Seve lifted the Claret Jug at St Andrews in 1984.

Southport put on a show that was first class. The spectators were unbelievable – mad to say the least.

Needless to say I felt right at home!

To hit such a wide on the 13th on day four, as Jordan Spieth did, and then go on to win shows a mental strength like no other.

Jordan now has three of the four Majors, and at such a young age. It’s so impressive.

He is certainly one of the best putters the world has ever seen. What an asset to have. He is pure class on and off the golf course, and that helps explain why he’s arguably the most popular golfer in the world today.

The USPGA was played at one of my favourite golf courses in the US, Quail Hollow.

And a wonderful championship it was. The whole week was action packed.

Related: Wayne Riley: My favourite UK courses

My choice before the start of the tournament was Rory, but that shows you how difficult golf is to predict.

I might stop bothering, given how many incredible players are golfing on the big blue marble these days.

Rors will have to wait until April to resume his quest for the Career Grand Slam, and while he might not get over the line at The Masters in 2018, he will eventually. You and I both know it.

The same applies to Spieth at the USPGA.

It was fairytale stuff for Justin Thomas, the son of a PGA professional who’s coached him for his entire life, to lift the Wanamaker Trophy.

I am an Australian PGA professional so I know how much that must have meant to both of them. He is the real deal – slightly built, but he hits the ball so far.

Thomas is a great mate of Spieth, so the belief will flow through the both of them. They feed off each other and victories make the other crave adulation. It could be a Major-wining concoction for years to come.

Related: Why Justin Thomas' season is one of the best in history

A quick side note here: I don’t know how you’re feeling about the 2018 Ryder Cup as Europeans and I don’t want to offend anyone as an Australian who’s made a home over on this great continent, but the USA team is shaping up to be mighty strong indeed.

Europe has been hugely successful over the last decade or so, and now I think it could be the USA’s turn. But as we covered earlier, what do I know about these things?!

The game of golf is in a great place.

The oldies are winning Majors, the youngsters are winning Majors and a whole host of relative newcomers and veterans are putting themselves in position to make a charge.

Jon Rahm wins Irish Open

Jon Rahm wins Irish Open

Men like the Raging Bull, Jon Rahm, who can really sniff it right now.

There are so many legitimate contenders each and every week. It’s a great time to be a golf fan.

Oh, I seem to have forgotten about the original question. Well, do we miss Tiger?

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