by Jeff Skinner
Here’s a crazy question: Who would you rather be right now, Louis Oosthuizen or Tiger Woods? Ask that question a year ago or even a week ago and most likely you would have gotten this response: Who is Louis Oosthuizen? Immediately after that the answer would have been “Tiger Woods of course.”
What a difference some time, an Escalade and a Claret Jug make. Before Tiger’s life imploded on the front pages of the tabloids he was the “Golden Child.” He was the absolute best in his profession. He had earned enough money to take care of a few dozen generations of his family and everything he touched turned to gold. He was an endorsers dream and admired by millions both in and out of golf. His biggest problem was making room for all his trophies in his trophy room. Since he has been exposed as a sham and a philanderer he has fallen into the darkest period of his life.
Louis Oosthuizen on the other hand has burst on to the public scene with no fanfare. With Oosthuizen’s Open Championship win he has exactly one more major than Tiger this year. Add in his European win and Louie’s total is two more than Tiger has.
So here are the vitals on these two. Tiger is 34 years old and has 71 professional victories including his 14 majors. He has about a half a billion in the bank, two young children and a costly divorce in his near future. He still has some sponsors but nowhere near the amount he had pre-scandal.
Louie is 27 years old and has two professional victories including his Open Championship. He just earned over a million Euros at The Open and is playing this week at The Nordea Scandinavian Masters. He splurged and traveled there by private jet for a change. He has a wife and a young daughter. His only sponsor right now is Ping but rumor has it his phone hasn’t stopped ringing since he kissed the Claret Jug.
I’m sure many wouldn’t mind trading lives with Tiger with the thought that all that money can ease the pain of many problems. If and when Tiger can get his life together his golf game will probably follow but he’ll never be what he once was. He has already reached the pinnacle of his career. He will still try to hunt down Jack’s major record but even if he does pass it and wins nineteen majors he will still be the Tiger that had is life stained and tainted by his indiscretion. Sadly, Tiger’s best days are behind him. It may sound strange but they are. He’ll never be the “old” Tiger Woods.
Trading places with Louie right now might be a better deal. He’ll be reveling in his major win for a year and new sponsors will be flocking to him. If he can somehow win another major in the next year or two he’ll be ordained as the next Ernie Els. His personal life is stable and he looks to be ready to take the next step in his career. So he doesn’t have a billion dollars but he has a pretty good upside. He is at the start of his career; Tiger is stuck in a slump both personally and professionally.
At the start of the Open Championship Tiger was the favorite and no one knew who Louie was. Things have changed now. At The start of the PGA next month I bet Tiger will still be the favorite and Louie will have a few new sponsors. But we’ll all know who Louie is. He’s the one with his whole life right out in front of him.