Golf | 13 Feb 2017 | By Michael Vlismas

We need to move on from Tiger the golfer

We need to say goodbye to Tiger Woods the golfer. Really, we need to.

Three back surgeries and four knee operations later, and we need to say goodbye. We need to stop holding our breath for the comeback.

Can Tiger do what Jack Nicklaus did and win a Major at 46? Can Tiger do what Roger Federer has done and come back from injury and being written off to win a Grand Slam?

We need to leave room to be pleasantly surprised if this happens. But we have to say goodbye to expecting it.

We need to say goodbye to Tiger Woods the golfer. And we need to start finding a new way to embrace what Tiger Woods can still do for golf, and so much more.

After his withdrawal in Dubai, Woods spent some time doing media work. And in one of these opportunities, he said, “This is the changing of the guard. My generation is getting older...”

We need to change the way we look at Woods’s role in this game.

As arguably the greatest icon golf has ever had because of his ability to cross cultural barriers as well as make fans out of people not even interested in golf, we have to believe he still has a major role to play in the game.

What golf needs to figure out is how best to use this.

But it’s not in whether Woods plays a tournament or not, or whether he will indeed be able to tee it up at the Masters or not, or even if he is able to ever win again.

That’s for this generation to take on.

During a particular interview in Dubai, Woods kept using the words “Done deal” in various contexts.

Golf has to accept that as a playing force, Woods is a done deal. That’s not to say that he cannot or won’t win again. It’s not to say he may not even win another Major. It’s to understand that this is not where his impact in the game still lies.

What golf needs to do is move on from the “done” part of this, and start thinking about the new “deal” to be made with Woods.

If Joost van der Westhuizen’s passing has shown us anything, it’s that what a great sportsman does after his career can often be his greatest legacy.

And here, a 41-year-old Woods still has massive value to offer.