Tiger Woods recently acquiesced to a interview with Time Magazine. I find the bittersweet tone of the whole exchange interesting. A few excerpts:
On what he has to prove: “I’ve done a lot more in the game than I ever thought I could. And to be in my 30s, and to have done this much? I never would have foreseen that.”
On his relationship with the media: “I have a lot of good friends in the media. Guys I’ve gone out to dinner with on countless occasions. With respect. There’s also a flip side of people that I really don’t care for. Hey, they made their career being negative and being outlandish. They’ve made a career out of it. But that’s their take. They’ve almost created a character, per se.”
On what he would have done differently in 2009: “In hindsight, it’s not how I would change 2009 and how it all came about. It would be having a more open, honest relationship with my ex-wife. Having the relationship that I have now with her is fantastic. She’s one of my best friends.
On his relationship with Lindsey Vonn: “We never had time together….It’s a relationship that was fantastic, but it just can’t work on that level. It just could not work. It was doing an injustice to both of us.”
On what he thinks about his legacy: “The greatest thing that could happen is to not be remembered. What I mean by that is, the kids right now, they don’t know that Michael Jordan played. They see a Jumpman [logo] and they think, that’s so cool. I’m talking young kids, really young kids, single digits in age, they have no idea who Michael Jordan was, but the Jumpman logo is cool. Now, for me, they don’t understand who that is. My learning center, kids go through it and they don’t know who I am. They don’t know what I’ve done. But it’s a safe haven for them to learn and grow.”
On turning 40 and getting back to the top: I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% healthy, but as close as you can to that point, that would be nice. As long as I don’t have the pain, then I don’t think there would be an issue. I will probably play through a little bit of pain, aches and pains, as you get older, you have more aches and pains. But I don’t need another surgery, period. Let’s just not go down that road ever again. No more surgeries. Seven’s enough. Four knees, three backs, that’s enough.
On his rehab: I walk 10 minutes on the beach. That’s it. Then I come back home and lie back down on the couch, or a bed.
I was particularly struck by the last snippet. That Tiger is struggling to walk in December doesn’t give me any hope that he will be contending this year.
Reading the entire interview, I get the sense that Tiger thinks it is over. He has become quite introspective, thinking about what his career has meant, and what his legacy will be. That’s not the attitude of someone who thinks they’re still in the thick of things.
I never thought Tiger would pass Jack. But I am sorry that it has come to this. As a fellow back pain sufferer, my heart goes out to him.