There was a time when Tiger Woods owned the course and owned the hobby.
His successes helped relaunch golf cards into the mainstream for the first time in years, and his 2001 Upper Deck Rookie Card was the most-graded card of any kind in the history of Beckett Grading Services. More copies of that one were slabbed than even the iconic baseball cards of players who broke single-season home run records. More copies of that were graded than even Ken Griffey Jr.‘s Star Rookie card from 1989 Upper Deck, which is arguably the 1952 Mantle of today for many collectors. More copies of that were graded than anything Bowman or anything else.
Now is not that time.
How much has changed? Woods is recovering from a back injury and has trouble walking at times — that’s what he does for physical therapy right now — and he hasn’t won a tournament since 2013. Golf cards? All those 2001 Rookie Cards are still in BGS slabs, but a perfect black-label specimen can be found for a lot less than you might think. There haven’t been any new golf sets since 2014 — despite the arrival of young stars like Jordan Spieth. And then there’s the whole off-course saga of Woods’ personal life.
Woods’ autograph remains an iconic one that’s sought by many but now perhaps without the high price tags attached like they once were — you know, back when it seems not a matter of if but when Woods would topple Jack Nicklaus’ majors victory record.
Now, that record seems out of reach — and Woods getting back on the course is even perhaps in question.
Don’t take our word for it, check out this extensive interview with Woods done by TIME magazine.
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