Some Thoughts on Tiger Woods

For those of you who have been arguing with coworkers who believe there is no overarching meta-narrative to this blog: I’m sorry to say that this post is going to give them plenty of new ammunition.  BUT…I’m not going to make any definitive statement because, who knows, some future post might explode onto the scene that will tie this whole thing together.

I’m an avid fan of the PGA Tour.  I love to watch the final round of a golf tournament on Sunday afternoon (and the third round, and the second round…).  I watch all the big events, all the mid-size events and I even keep up with the little ones.  I remember when Luke Donald won the Southern Farm Bureau Classic over Deane Pappas.  Sometimes I even watch the events on the other major tours.  I play fantasy golf every week.  If there was a way to make money playing fantasy golf I’d like to think I’d be a rich man.

This has been a great year for golf.  The three major tournaments thus far have all been won by top-tier golfers.  Phil Mickelson’s win at the British Open was spectacular (even if my DVR plan was spoiled by an overly excited caller – you know who you are).  And as of yesterday Tiger Woods has won five times.

Here’s my thinking on Tiger:  I don’t like him.  I don’t really find it at all interesting when he wins a tournament by 30 strokes.  I’m happy to admit he’s very good.  I’m even glad when he plays, I think because I truly enjoy hoping he’ll lose big.  My take on him is that he’s back though probably not better than ever.  I think run-of-the-mill tournaments just don’t mean that much to him.  Even the much ballyhooed World Golf Championships have no history.  Jack Nicklaus won exactly zero WGC events and is still considered to be the greatest golfer of all time.  Tiger has now won 18 and I doubt Tiger (or Jack) cares very much.

The truth is Tiger has reached a point where he’s playing to win one (or more) of the four major tournaments each year.  And I think this is where Tiger isn’t back.  I think it’s in his head.  He’s no longer unflappable (does this make him flappable?) on Sunday, or Saturday for that matter.  He can get it done for four rounds at the Greater Players World Golf Fed-Extravaganza but he’s obviously rattled when he gets close to winning the Masters.  He’s lost the edge.  He cares too much.

Here’s my prediction: I don’t think he’ll win this week at the PGA Championship.  I think he’ll probably win a Masters or two sometime in his 40’s and we’ll all cry and reminisce about his illustrious (though tainted) career.  I don’t think he’ll break Jack’s record of 18 professional majors.  I expect he’ll win 16 before twilight.  I don’t have any insightful psychological reasons to give you.  It’s just hard to win major championships and he’s not as good at it as he once was.

Therefore, I’m not picking him on my fantasy team this week.  I’m going on record to predict a non-win.  I have no spiritual conclusion to add at the end of this.  I just wanted to give my vast army of blog readers something to discuss other than meta-narratives AND offer some thoughts that have been rattling around in my mind.  Having done so I can now go back to anxiously awaiting the news regarding A-Rod’s suspension.

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