Perhaps Mr. Wood’s best chance at a major this year was The Open at St. Andrew’s. Sorry, the British Open. Sorry, The Open Championship. Sorry, The Open. He dominated there before, and it’s the home of golf. Tiger loves that kind of stuff.
In the past, an amped up Tiger meant wins. Now, he’s just like every other average golfer out there and seems to get tense under pressure. Two amateurs contended in The Open this year, and Tiger didn’t even sniff the cut. Geez.
Watch Tiger on the range and he looks great. He hits a nice high draw. Smooth. So what changes when he gets on the course? It’s crazy to think that Tiger has these kind of issues. It doesn’t seem to be physical as he can clearly hit the shots. Any golfer will tell you it’s mental.
This is why I have faith in Tiger winning a few more majors to challenge Jack’s record. I don’t think he’ll get there, but he will win 2 more. 1 Masters and 1 British. He won’t win the PGA at Whistling Straits this year, but I think he’ll make the cut. My how far we’ve come with Tiger. Nonetheless, 16 majors would still be pretty damn good.
If this were a physical issue, such as injuries or age, I’d be more skeptical. Tiger is fine, he could even stand to be in worse shape. He is quite the workout addict. Many golfers hit their prime in their late 30’s, so this isn’t football or basketball when 32 is considered old. Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson practically hit their primes in their 40’s.
With all the talk about what changed with Tiger from the year 2000 to now, I usually hear the same stuff. Butch. Partying. Cheating. I don’t hear many people mention his father’s death as a major factor. It was very sad, and obviously a sensitive subject. But to me, this is a huge factor for Tiger. It would be for anyone who was so close with their parent.
Earl Woods was Tiger’s father, best friend, mentor, therapist, manager, etc, etc. He was the one guy who was there from when Tiger was just a kid, to being a superstar. Earl was strict and demanding, and his influence on Tiger is well documented.
It makes sense that when Earl passed, Tiger lost that influence in his life. Maybe Earl was the one who kept Tiger in check. Maybe Earl was the one who would give Tiger sound advice. Like don’t switch coaches from Butch Harmon. Or maybe keep it down to 1 stripper at a time, not 8.
It’s like the Lebron syndrome. You’re just surrounded by yes men. Hangers-on that are too afraid of speaking up in fear of being kicked from the entourage. When your manager is your best friend, you get advice like: “The Decision is a great idea!”.
Where can Tiger go for such advice? It doesn’t matter, any 15 handicap at a driving range could probably give Tiger a quick fix. Quit thinking so much. Relax. Have fun. Play with confidence. You’ve won like 100 tournaments.
The issue is finding someone Tiger will listen. Since it is mostly a mental thing, this could be outside of golf specifically. Maybe a hypnotist? John Smoltz used one. Maybe Tiger could pull a Charles Barkley and just embrace his flaws.
Granted the louche persona may not fly as much in golf as in basketball. That’s honestly a racist thing. Golf fans generally think John Daly is cool, or harmlessly irresponsible at worst. How is he different than Tiger? Other than he’s white. Comment me as racist if you like, but that’s how it seems.
Anyways if Tiger can see some kind of hypnotist, therapist, nutritionist, life coach, or something to get his head straight, he’ll be good. People make is sound like he’s done, but he still has 15+ years of still having a realistic shot to win tournaments. Jack won his last major at 46. Tom Watson nearly won The Open at 60.
Over/under on more majors for Tiger? I’ll take the over.