I am amazed at the continued backlash and constant criticism directed at Tiger Woods and the state of his golf game. I get it, I understand that the American public feels betrayed and are appalled with his behavior off of the golf course. But focusing on his golf game for a minute, anyone who’s played and knows anything about golf, knows that the game can be fleeting and fickle at times. His off the course problems have no doubt had a significant effect on his performance on the course. But some of the articles I’ve read are borderline vicious and somewhat ridiculous.
A few things have to be taken into consideration here; after all of his off the course problems, he jumped back into tournament golf last season at the Masters, one of the most scrutinized and toughest venues in golf. While going through his swing changes there will be moments of brilliance followed by moments of failure, until the changes become natural to him. He finished 4th in two majors last year which would’ve been considered a good year for most golf professionals. I know, he didn’t win an event in 2010 for the first time in his illustrious career, and his measuring stick is golf legend Jack Nicklaus. The bar for Tiger has been set so much higher than for everyone else, by his own doing. But by comparison, Jack went win-less in 79’ and 81’, finishing in the top ten only 11 times in 28 events. I wonder if the media made as big a deal of those dry spells, as they have Tiger not winning in a year of personal turbulence, while competing in only 16 events?
The second biggest hindrance to his game after the swing changes with swing coach Sean Foley is his psyche. There was a persona about Tiger Woods that intimidated other tour players. His public apology made that disappear; he instilled a certain fear while on the course that was lost I believe when he stood before the world and apologized with regards to his personal behavior. Most people in and outside of his inner circle felt as though it was necessary to save his public reputation and sponsors. I beg to differ, people had already made up their mind as to who he was, what type of person he was and what they thought of him at that point, and many of his sponsors bailed like he had leprosy anyway. He looked weak, passive, and vulnerable to the delight of many and his on course mystique had been instantly erased, I believe that this still plagues him. Any competitor knows that confidence is the most important element to success beyond skill or talent, and even with great talent, it does you little good if you aren’t confident or borderline cocky as he was. He’s under even more of a microscope than ever before, and instead of the steely focus he brought to the game in the past, he seems to be looking over his shoulder and paying considerable attention to what others have to say about him. Until he gets his swagger back, his I against the world mentality and quite frankly his I don’t give a rat’s you know what what others say, thinks or believe about me, he will continue to struggle, no matter how much he practices or how hard he works at it. Funny thing is, you could almost sense this coming, in sports we love a great story of an athlete’s rise to fame, but once they reach the pinnacle there’s almost a concerted effort and delight in their fall, it’s news. I bet he realizes now that he will never be able please everyone, live up to their expectations of him, nor will everyone like him. Part of his naivety was that he believed the world loved him, but with great success comes much hatred and jealousy, what a wake-up call!
I am sure his dad would instruct him on where to tell the world to go, to go back to being who he really is, a fierce competitor who does things his way, kicking ass and takes names. He seems to be very uncomfortable in his own skin right now, and to be brutally honest with you, that’s the way most people in the golf world and media like it, it affords them continued criticism and contributes to the demise of his dominance in world of golf. Control is a powerful thing and in many people’s eyes he had way too much of it for their liking.
Even at 35 yrs of age he possesses natural talents that supersede that of the majority of professional golfers today. I find it highly unlikely and ludicrous to think that his best days are behind him. Once he figures out what his real issues are and he will, and finds stability in his personal life, he will be as dominant as he once was, much to the dislike of those who are reviling in his current struggle.