Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tiger Woods Gave Us What We Wanted

Not a lot of people have Jupiter like expectations and deliver. In sports, you can probably narrow it down to three men -- LeBron James, Rafael Nadal and Tiger Woods. These three men are arguably the best at what they do, and day in and day out they produce the best possible product for, say, a 40 year old man going to his first basketball/tennis/golf game.

Woods did it again today. Basically teeing it up with the entire sports world on his back, Tiger came out unlike anybody else. Wrapped in a beautiful aqua Nike shirt, Tiger stripped his first tee shot, a little draw fairway wood, and followed it up with a dart to set up a birdie. His stats at that point in '09 -- one hole, one birdie. How do you follow that up? By tossing a bombed long iron on the second hold to around three feet for a kick-in eagle and a two-up lead in his match against Brendan Jones.

I played pretty serious competitive golf in my life. I've had the serious butterflies bouncing around in my stomach like an out of control racquetball. It is a scary feeling. I remember a moment in junior golf when Justin Leonard was watching my group tee off, and I was so nervous, I basically just swung with whatever my muscle could produce so I could leave the situation. Take those nerves and multiply it by Woods' yearly paycheck. That is what he deals with, year in and year out, and the guy never fails to impress us all.

I know I can get a little high on Tiger at times, coming off as a Woods lover more than an objective voice in this written world. At times I wish I didn't do that. This is not one of those times.

Tiger might not win tomorrow against Tim Clark. He could go out and struggle here or there and fall to a guy that made zero bogeys today. Nobody knows what the golf world will bring at the Accenture. It's just amazing to think that a guy can roll out of bed in the morning knowing that all eyes rest on him, and rise to the occasion like it's a friendly match against your father-in-law.

There is focus, and then there is Tiger's focus, and I don't think either are even close to each other.

Stan Badz, US PGA Tour/Getty Images


The Armchair Golfer said...

I really liked this post, Shane. You're right, there's nothing like playing competitive golf. I played some -- in high school and community college -- and there's just nothing like it. I mean, it's the easiest game to choke at, no question. I had days where I was choking all the way around just trying to post a decent number for my team. (I played basketball, too, which was physically tough but didn't compare to golf, which basically fries your brain and will bring you to tears, literally.) Anyway, you captured the brilliance of Tiger, who has definitely earned my respect over the years. He is amazing. And I grew up a big Jack fan. Nice post.

Shane B. said...

Thanks, sir.