Tuesday, July 21, 2009
An Expanded Look at Tiger's Temper
If you didn't get a chance to check out my Winners-Losers column at FanHouse on Monday, I'll give you a quick dabble into what I said about Tiger Woods -- "It really took me a couple of re-watches of Tiger's second round to fully grasp what the commenters around these parts had pointed out -- Woods looked like a baby this week at Turnberry. You never hear me bash Tiger because, frankly, he is the best in the world at what he does, but his conduct at Turnberry was pretty self-involved."
Now, a day later, I wanted to expand a little on my take. First, and what I find the most important, is Tiger is as frustrated as he may have ever been with his golf swing. Sure, at times (see AT&T National) the things have clicked and everything is peaches and cream, but for the most part, the 2009 season has seemed like one big club slam from Woods. All of that escalated to the British Open, where Woods missed his first real cut in a major in his professional career (not counting the postmortem U.S. Open at Winged Foot).
I'm not a holier than thou writer and I've never said I was. I get pissed on the golf course. I used to break golf clubs and act like an ass and yell at myself and pout around the course like a 4-year-old. At times these days, I still get frustrated (I'm pretty sure an f-bomb or two spewed out yesterday when I made triple-bogey on an easy par-3). Yes, getting mad is part of golf. For me, it is almost more of my attempt to prove to other people that I'm not happy with a certain golf shot, in hopes that for some sophomoric reason, they know I'm better than that shot. For Tiger, it seems like pure frustration. Whatever it is, it needs to stop.
Unlike myself, Tiger has billions of people that follow his every move, including a lot of kiddos that would love to be the next Tiger. While Woods isn't exactly the one showing them the proper way to helicopter a wedge down the fairway, he is acting like, for lack of a better term, a baby on the course. What is crazy about the whole thing, is Tiger is Mr. Proper when he isn't struggling with his sticks. Commenters all week on my British Open posts were complaining about his etiquette, and I finally took my of blinders to see exactly what was obvious -- Tiger needs to shape up.
People get frustrated with this game, and when Tiger, the best in the world, isn't as solid as he wants, it has to be frustrating. The problem with it is, he gives off a terrible example to anyone that isn't a freak golf fan and makes people disgusted at his actions. We live in a society where anything can trigger people's distaste, and for a guy as clean-cut as Woods, getting pissed on the course might end up being his downfall. Rumors are swirling that Tiger is about to cut ties with Hank Haney, and maybe that's the answer, but for now, he needs to just calm his emotions on the course.
A few years back, Tiger realized that his excitement over certain shots (the 3:11 mark in this video, for instance) actually was bad for him, because his heart rate would get too high and he'd usually struggle to calm himself before his next tee shot. I feel like this theory has to work on the other end of the spectrum. If Tiger is slamming clubs and hitting his bag and being frustrated, it can't be good for him on his next shot.
All in all, I just wish Tiger could find a way to settle his negative emotions. It would make him look a lot better and I feel it would improve his game. That's all for now ... I have to get get my broken 3-wood fixed.
ADRIAN DENNIS, AFP/Getty Images