As you know, I am on a political path til October and, knowing me, it won’t stop then but it will taper off. A man’s gotta do….
But, even now, when the politics is in full swing, I occasionally deviate. This blog is a 180 with a slice. I wanna talk about Tiger Woods.
This poor jerk is the modern equivalent of MacBeth. A tragedy unfolding like dominoes falling. OMG! This guy had been born, raised, trained and focused on golf to a greater extent than even the most dedicated of professional athletes. Maybe Walter and Wayne were close but even they were somewhat limited by the seasons. Tiger did not stop swinging a club from almost the day he was born.
Malcolm Gladwell has stated that ‘outliers’ or exceptions or specialists in anything from piano-playing to golf, from hockey to computers get there by putting in a minimum of 10,000 hours of focused work all before they are mature enough to qualify as adults. Bill Gates, Gretzky, Jobs, the list of prominents goes on and on. They put in the time.
And Tiger put in more than most. He passed 10,000 hours while still pubescent.
And, it paid off. He was clearly the best to have ever played the game if you count just the athleticism. He had a golfers body, a golfer’s timing. He had ‘feel’. He had focus. He had it all.
And he got it all. Winning. Championships. Course records. Money. Fame. Blond beauty for a wife. He even has a beautiful smile. The whole American Dream in a champagne glass. What could go wrong?
Well, it seems Tiger never really grew up. Not enough, anyway. And he wanted to play some other games. With women. With gambling. With everything. Worse, he had a pretty pent up sex-drive and very little to hold himself in check. Not even wife and kids. Tiger went wild.
The results of that are predictable for anyone, let alone someone prominent.
And so then his American Dream blew up. Classic tragedy? Not quite. All the kings horses and all the king’s men put him back together again. He kept playing golf. He kept his endorsements. And he was simply ‘managed’ by his managers in all other aspects of his life but for the principal one – golf. That started to unravel. Tiger stopped winning.
His body started to fail him, too. But, it could be said, he failed it. Hard to know that one. Regardless, Tiger reached the pinnacle of the game in all respects but maturity and, it could be said, respect for the game and for himself. Tiger self-destructed. He beat himself.
At the latest tournament in which he played, Tiger shot an 85. That is the equivalent for him of almost playing blind-folded. In fact, there are some blind golfers who have shot better than that. It is shocking.
“Geez, Dave, everyone has a bad game!”
I know. And I hope he pulls it together. I really do. Tiger was (a while back) good for the game. He still has time even if his professional trajectory is declining. But golf, more than any other sport I have ever participated in, is mental. That makes it the hardest.
When you think about it, a calm 85 year old with a good optometrist can sink a 50 foot putt. And I once played with two old septuagenarians who could not hit the ball more than 150 yards downhill with the wind at their back. They crushed me. You need some physical ability to be great but couch potatoes can shoot an 85. Tiger is off the rails. It is a modern American tragedy and it is painful to watch.
Mind you, he’ll likely sell the movie rights for a gazillion so I’ll go back to whales, ravens and politicians now. Thanks for bearing with me.