Parsing Tiger Woods

I try very hard not to write about Tiger Woods in this blog. There are far too many out there doing that too-easy job (and that is why I think so many writers pull for Tiger. He makes their job easy).

Still, on occasion, I just can’t resist the urge to join the crowd of Tiger Woods scribes. Here are two Tiger quotes that had me scratching my head:

The first stems from the two shot penalty he was assessed for an oscillating ball during the BMW Championship. Tiger was addressing the additional scrutiny that he receives due to being on television all the time:

“There are certainly a lot more viewer call-ins. I get it from the first time I step on the range on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, all the way through, and virtually every shot is on something, and some of the top players are getting it. Most players don’t get it until they’re in the leader groups on Saturday or Sunday.”

I know what Woods is saying on the surface here, but I also see another implication. What’s he’s saying is that other players are breaking the rules, too, but not being caught. And if not for the television scrutiny, he too would be able to get away with it.

The whole exchange reminds me of nothing less than the kid in the front row who complains that he’s being unfairly singled out when caught cheating on a test:

“It’s not fair. You only catch me because I’m in the front row. Everyone else is cheating, too.”

Tiger asking the PGA Tour to limit television viewers’ call-ins is like that kid asking to be moved to the back row.

I’ll be generous and give Tiger the benefit of the doubt here. It is not cheating. It is carelessness. He wishes he could be as careless as other players but can’t because he’s always being watched.

Even that doesn’t sound good, though.

I would love to see television give Tiger his wish and not show any more of his rounds. The only reason sponsors give Tiger the billions they do is because their logos on his equipment get more television time than with any other player.

The second suspect Tiger quote was after he collapsed on the final four holes of round two of the 2013 Tour Championship.

“I just ran out of gas,” Woods said. “I’m tired.” He went on to talk about leg fatigue and being thankful for a week off before the President’s Cup.

Tired? The fittest man in golf? The guy plays a pretty limited schedule. Not Steve Stricker limited, but certainly less than golf’s road warriors. Going into the Tour Championship, he had played 15 tournaments over nine months. In contrast, Rickie Fowler has played 23.

It’s age. At 37—almost 38—none of us had the energy we had in our twenties. And as I’ve said many, many times before, Tiger is an OLD 37. He’s been playing competitive golf since he was three. He’s also had four knee surgeries, and a host of muscle and joint injuries as of late.

But for me the biggest indicator that Tiger is an aging athlete has been that the putts are not falling as they used to. Reading biographies of the great golfers, one thing that has always struck me was that the full swing rarely is the first thing to go. Rather, it is the putting stroke. They got older and the yips set in.

I’ve been saying this for five years now—ever since Y.E. Yang stole Tiger’s major mojo at the PGA Championship. Now, other golf writers seem to be coming around to my way of thinking. Indeed, a recent article by Paul Newberry seems to have been ripped straight from the pages of GolfBlogger: Tiger Woods still a great player, but he’s got no chance of breaking Nicklaus’ record. Everything in Newberry’s article is a repeat of what I’ve been saying here for years.

It is good to be that far ahead of the “professional” golf writers.

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1 thought on “Parsing Tiger Woods”

  1. Unfortunately with Tiger’s stature in golf he’s always going to be watched more. It just comes with being who he is and what he’s achieved in the game.

    I wrote a post about him 3 weeks ago on Golf WRX that he is no longer the lock in big tournaments that he used to be. The statistics prove this and the YE Yang major was perhaps the start of it.

    He still might grab another major but there’s no doubt the rest of the golfing world have caught up and it’s going to be a lot more difficult for him.

    Cheers

    Reply

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