Jason Whitlock: Tiger’s return has motivated younger golfers to elevate their game

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Jason Whitlock and Colin Cowherd discuss how Tiger Woods' presence motivates other golfers to elevate their game.

- Wentlock, he's your guy after this rough finish. Are you less confident in Tiger heading into the Masters?

- I'm not less confident in Tiger at all. Tiger Woods against really good competition had a top five finish. Rickie Fowler finished below him. A lot of really good players finished below him. Rory McIlroy wins it. Justin Rose is right in there in the top five.

I'm not less confident in Tiger. Tiger's right on schedule or ahead of schedule. What I am though, is more convinced that these young guys, Rory, Justin Rose--

- Spieth.

- Jason Day. These guys have been dying to play against this Tiger Woods and to have this type of attention on golf. And I think they're going to elevate their play, not melt because Tiger's there and all the cameras are there and all the attention is there. I think they want Tiger Woods in contention, so they can beat him and get the accolades and the attention that they-- this the PGA they thought they were joining years ago with Tiger Woods.

They thought they were going to be along the ride for the rest of history that Tiger was going to create. And I think the younger guys are going to elevate their play, not melt the way people talk about Tiger's peers melted when he was at the top of the leaderboard. I think they're going to elevate.

Rory just did it, shot a 64 on Sunday, was incredible on the back nine, ran away from this thing and Tiger Woods and everybody else. I think that's what I'm looking forward to at the Masters, the young guys stepping up to the pressure.

- I don't know if they will. You know, here's the funny thing. On Tiger's comeback, we've said, well, you know, he's a victim. He's going to face himself. Young guys in shape, long off the tee. But Tiger also has an advantage, because he's really a different generation. He may look in shape. He's old school.

These are new school guys. These are replications of Tiger. Have you noticed something about all these young guys? Tiger made all these young guys richer and richer-- wealth punctures drive.

Rory McIlroy disappeared for two years. Jordan Spieth just missed a cut Tiger got these guys money that wasn't available. I'm not sure they're a s is Tiger. Tiger's got an old school drive I don't think they have.

- I think your point is accurate. But I think you're missing something. Tiger got them the money. But what they were also supposed to get with Tiger was the fame. And they haven't gotten it, because Tiger hasn't been there to give them the fame of they beat Tiger Woods.

And so I do-- this is an ego-driven deal as much as it is you're right in my view, Tiger's peers got spoiled by the money. And they were along for the Tiger ride. And it was great. And they made more money than they could ever imagine.

These guys came in, the young guys. They came in just in time. They came in making so much money that the money doesn't move them. They want the fame. They want to be as famous as Tiger Woods. Again, a lot of these guys, Justin Thomas, most people couldn't recognize him in a police lineup.

- But I don't believe fame drives people, just like I don't think money does. When you are at your best as a columnist, it wasn't about fame, and it wasn't about money. You had-- you had people in your life-- it was about your childhood. It wasn't about the money on the wall.

- You're talking about-- I'm a 50-year-old man, Cowherd. What about these kids out here that are addicted to social media? You don't think that's about their ego and fame?

- Oh, by the way, you know why they're not going to beat Jack? Because they're driven by fame. Tiger wasn't driven by fame. He was driven by his father, the chase, his love for golf. Like, if fame's you're driver, that's not much of a vehicle. I mean, I don't think that takes you to the next level.

- I think for you and I and that generation, it's not much of a vehicle. But for these young people-- again, when I look across the board and what's driving the actions of a lot of these athletes-- and I don't want to go political here. But it's just a side point. If you just look at what's driving a lot of the social justice warrior athletes, even a LeBron James, a lot of it's about fame and, you know, popularity over social media. Again, they're addicted to Instagram and Twitter and Snapchat and all this.

- So you think they can snap their fingers, these-- these Jordan Spieths and reignite?

- No, no, no, no. Yes. Yes. Yes, I-- but I don't even think it's a reignitement. Look, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Justin Rose, all these-- it's not about a reignition. It's about, when that moment comes at the Masters, and all that pressure and all that attention's there, I think these guys are going to be like, damn, this is what I wanted all along. It's finally here. Tiger's brought us back here.

And I think they're going to elevate their play, because again, they want to sit and tell their kids or grandkids or tell the people over social media or tell advertisers, I took out Tiger Woods when Tiger Woods was playing well. Elevates their fame. Elevates their ability to draw just as much as sponsorship and advertising as Tiger Woods and make his kind of money. These guys want to be Tiger Woods. And to be Tiger Woods, you've got to take him down. They love this.