Friday, December 18, 2009
Why All of "This" Will Make Tiger Woods a Better Golfer
I'm assuming since you're reading this, you're either my mom or a golfer, and you probably aren't my mom because she doesn't think the dirty joke you just thought of (you filthy animal).
Now, riddle me this ... you got a lot of stuff going on at work. Big project, due date is approaching, you aren't anywhere close to finishing and you're stressed. Now, on top of that, you are in a big fight with the wife and your kids have Christmas recitals approaching and you are forced to be Mr. Mom with all that. You are playing 18 holes because you committed to your buddies a while back and if you pulled out they'd never let you hear the end of it. So, let us rank your current situation, focus-wise.
1.) Work Project
2.) Pissy Wife
3.) Kids Stuff
That seems about right. Now, tell me this ... how do you think you'd play that day? You have 10 million things going on in your mind, none of which revolve around that white Titleist you are about to swing at on a tight par-4 with water on the right-hand side.
You're not going to play well. Nobody ever plays solid golf under these circumstances. Golf takes a certain amount of focus and when other things in your life are taking precedent over your score, it probably means you will not be keeping that score come the 5th hole.
How does this relate to Tiger Woods and his golf game? Well, imagine this, and I don't think it is too far of a stretch considering the amount of negative emotion Tiger showed on the course this season. You are perceived as a saint, yet you're doing things most would frown on. Your Rolodex of females has ballooned to the point where even your mistresses are getting frustrated with your other mistresses. Your wife may or may not know that you've been doing the dirty with others, and this is all having to sit in that mind of yours, completely concealed from the rest of the world, save a buddy or two. How are you expected to play your best golf? Sure, Tiger's B-game won six times this season, but he has been the biggest advocate for having to play his best in order to win major championships, and he wasn't able to do that this season.
Some of that could have been bad breaks, but the theory that this was on his mind, thus forcing him to never jump that last hurdle isn't ridiculous.
So, now his life is plastered all over the Internet, for all to see. We know who he is. We see what kind of person we have cheered for and loved and enjoyed. Nothing is much of a secret anymore. How does this not free up his mind? Sure, he might get divorced and people might look at him like a sleezeball from this point forward, but at least his laundry will be blowing in the wind. There are no more secrets, for better or for worse.
That's why, when Tiger finally gets past this, his game might reflect it. He might start playing the golf we saw back in the early 2000s, before he was married, when he went on runs when his game was flawless. It will make us love him again because he's doing what we loved. Dominating, in a game that shouldn't be dominating.
Don't believe me? Try swinging a golf club with 800-pound gorilla on your back, then try taking it back gorilla free. I bet you make a better pass when there is nothing bothering you. That's why, when Tiger decides to return in 2010, it could be bad for everyone else.
Stuart Franklin, Getty Images