Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tiger Woods Is About to Return


It's still funny to me when I get questions about Tiger Woods from sports fans across the board. Just a day ago, a good friend of mine asked me if I ever thought Tiger would win another major championship. Another friend of mine wants to put up an absurd amount of money this year on Tiger winning less than two major titles.

It seems that in terms of "What have you done for me lately," people have quickly forgot that we are speaking of a man that is used to winning golf tournaments like a politician is used to speaking with their hands. Tiger wins, even if it doesn't happen for a year.

Now, I've said in the past that I don't know if Tiger will ever get back to the level that he has been in his career, and by that I mean, Tiger isn't going to win 10 tournaments in a season again. The fields are too strong, the young guys aren't as intimidated anymore and Tiger is aging, and has, to use an old bridge term, looking down into that cliff below as he was walking across. It's deep down there and the fear starts to set in. Tiger has seen a side of golf now that he never had before, and once you've viewed that letdown part, you can't unsee it.

But trust me, it doesn't mean that Tiger just isn't going to win anymore. He is going to win, and it is probably going to happen this week. Why? Because sometimes those old feelings are just too strong to deny. Tiger loves Torrey Pines, he has fond memories of it when he was still the man, limping around with the entire world rooting him on like he was a boxing lifting himself off the mat for one last round. He has had tons of success here in the past, and like your high school reunion, when you catch eyes with an old flame, something still stirs inside of you.

I think that the Chevron said a lot about Tiger both positively and negatively, but for three rounds he was the best golfer in an elite group of golfers, and if you can pull from just that, Woods has a lot to build on heading into this week.

These days it isn't about how much Tiger is practicing or how much work he's putting it. Now, for the first time ever, it seems that most of how he will play is in between the ears. He has to believe that he can do this again, consistently, and if he can convince himself of that he will be fine once again.

He's probably going to win this week. Not because of anything more than the fact that he needs it so much. He's a rare breed, and we hardly ever get to see the top talent in a sport, maybe ever, get knocked down the way Tiger has been knocked down the last 14 months. He needed some time away, he got it, and now he will be back with a vengeance. Tiger remembers all the criticisms and the negativity from the press. He doesn't forget that most have counted him out at some point, and if there is one guy ready to prove everyone wrong, it's Woods.

So, to my two friends, I'll leave you with this ... yes, Woods is going to win more majors, and no, if I was going to bet five figures on a golfer not to win two majors this season, it wouldn't be this guy. Sure, he probably won't, but would you want to be turning your remote on to the PGA Championship this year, with Woods holding one of the majors, hoping he doesn't claim another? I wouldn't, because unlike most, my only memory about this guy didn't come from last season.

Getty Images

4 comments:

greenfee said...

On the contrary I don't think "that most have counted him out at some point" I think Tiger fans have an absurd amount faith in him given his recent record and history.
The cliche about him having the strongest mind in golf is oft trotted out but I think the mental point is that his opponents no longer buy into the emperor's clothes idea that he is unbeatable.
For that reason I don't back him to win this week or to win a major this season.

Anonymous said...

Tiger or anyone for that matter winning a golf tournament is not dependent on players thinking you are unbeatable. That is nonsense.Golf is not a defensive game, you win by shooting the lowest score for the tourney. Tiger has always said that when his game is on, he does not believe anyone can beat him. That is called self -belief. The only other player that has said that is Phil. Players who calls a player unbeatable should quit right now

greenfee said...

Quote - "Players who calls a player unbeatable should quit right now"

Absolutely! But there is no doubt that prior to Woods' personal trouble other players were intimidated by him, so much so it hindered their ability to shoot the lowest score for the tournament.
They don't appear to feel that way now.

Anonymous said...

Golf fans and the Media believed that the players were intimidated by Woods. Elite players did not believe that. Woods showed that he was a better golfer in terms of winning golf tournaments regularly. Golf is played approx 90% between the ears. We can all surmise Wood's mind/emotions in 2010 therfore he did not win. Since he never won ,some of the players believe that his skill now is not any better than theirs or they may have surpass him.Once again, you cannot play defense in golf.