PGA 2015: Tiger, Tiger, Burning Out

22 Jul

“Tyger, Tyger, burning bright,”
Those days are gone but take no flight,
With crowded mantel that others crave,
The Woodsman can revel in bygone rave.

......Tyger.Poem.Wm.Blake.wc.thb

One would not be limb-walking to write that the bloom has now officially gone off Tiger Woods’ rose. He’s in full funk, game all catawampus.

After another dismal showing, this time at the 144th British Open (missed cut), won on Monday by American Zach Johnson by way of a thrilling playoff, it’s been made abundantly clear to even the most Pollyannaish of Woods’ supporters that the seemingly inhuman & unstoppable Tiger of pre-2009, before personal problems befell, is and will never be that same superlative sport star again.

Having been named the PGA Player of the Year as recently as 2013 (7) with five tour victories, at 39 (12.30.75), this era’s greatest golfer seems to’ve had all the air let out of his tires since that awarding and gone completely flat.

Woods has “miles to go” before gracing the senior (Champions (50)) but the way he’s mishandling what used to be a malleable PGA tour it can’t come soon enough for the former wunderkind and would-be Nicklaus (18) – Snead (82) surpasser.

It’s gotten so bad it appears he may be emotionally sabotaging his game from the get go, as evidenced by a post-British comment (“doomed…(by) second swing”), almost willing a Jack & Jill result down the hill, sans the crown lost years ago.

.....Tiger.4.23.9.T.Hipps.Army.wc.thb

With this sad state engulfing Tiger like a heavy fog, missing cuts with regularity of an over-sleeping greenskeeper, attempts by his detractors to deconstruct his tremendous legacy and it’s record of accomplishment (79 PGA / 14 major) have begun in earnest.

The line of attack: Woods wasn’t a truly great golfer as the quality of competition was such that any good golfer could take advantage, rise to the top and stay there for a long, long time. Imagine?

QoC can be a valid line of inquiry. I’ve used it myself for historical comparison. But who’s to say that some champions cannot, to some degree, play a role in shaping or affecting that competition?

On the Woods topic one must consider the real possibility that he and his near suffocating PGA dominance had a negative mental impact on the mind-games of many a potentially starry golfer from 1997 – 2009 (‘13).

Imagine what the average pro in 2000 was telling his wife, family on Monday mornings after a tourney: ‘Helen, you wouldn’t believe this guy, he’s a machine!’

....Nicklaus.J.Dye.9.27.6.FL.wc.thmb

The Golden Bear most certainly had a similar psycho-impact on his peers but arrived on the golf scene (‘58) at a time when competition was famously fierce. But the generations of which Nicklaus was part was arguably more adept at handling pressure than is our own. Early 20th century folk (Depression / WWs), some who grew up around outhouses and horse-drawn transport had a wherewithal we don’t see as much today, not on a broader, societal scale anyway.

Some feel the lucrative endorsement deals in a post-Nicklaus age, in a consumerocracy where golfers act as walking billboards, have played a bigger role in adversely effecting current player performance, i.e., motivation.

While that point holds some merit, to believe it explains Woods near total dominance for a decade that saw a dearth of serious, regular competitors to the Tiger challenge (Mickelson, Singh, Els, etc.), would seem somewhat specious.

The golfers Tiger faced have all, like he, been weaned on competition. A passion for winning won’t wane simply because money‘s flowing in, especially when your own trophy mantel is sporting few pieces, or few of the ‘Wow!’ variety.

And then Tiger had (has) the spiffiest sponsorships deals of anyone and it clearly did not cut into his own drive to win. It may’ve in fact encouraged it.

.....Tiger.7.4.7.wc.M.Burgess.USN.thb

Bottom line: The desire to win is engrained in the brain of every PGA player from the time they handle their first Playskool® putter. Tiger had no monopoly on that emotion.

One would be no nearer to ascending that proverbial tree and it’s limbs of liability by suggesting a fair percentage of those detractors are driven by one or more of the following motives:

1) Prejudice, be it either of the jealousy or racially-based variety;
2) Love of sport: A circumstantially-based belief that Woods partook in the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in his prime period; or
3) The California-born golfer named Eldrick Tont Woods has conducted himself too often with airs of arrogance, bratty course play and deserves comeuppance.

Whatever the motive, Eldrick’s record of achievement will withstand a battery.

So what to do about his gamey game, getting back in the swing of it?

The tried & trues have been tried and have proven mostly erroneous, so it may be time for Woods to embark upon a new path, venture onto Drastic Highway.

Go on sabbatical, re-charge the batteries, learn to live without golf? He’s young enough to give it a whirl and chance the comeback. Sponsors won’t likey.

...gluten.baked.wc.S03311251.15.thb

Find a new sponsor (Nike), if terms & tact permitting? Maybe marginally relevant to his funk but everything, excepting family and true friends, are subject to review.

Find a new club (religion) or new variety? Born-again PGA’er Bernhard Langer would say it changed his life.

Keep pluggin’ away? Persistence can pay off but then stress is a killer.

Work a change in diet? Bingo.

Woods looks kinda’ haggard these days, even before he tees off.

If he hasn’t, get off the gluten and HFCS. The move is helping millions. Can a wheat-free and low-sugar diet help him bag tourneys again? No promises, but he’ll feel, look a new man, born again, as it were. That’s when new life begins.

“As the old Scotsman said, golf is a humbling game (M.Rooney).” A truth.

A line from the movie Blade Runner (’82): “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long (J.Turkel).” And Tiger did burn bright.

......macroecono.lamcasinoroyal.wc.2011

Steven Keys
Macro Sport
Photo credits: T.Woods, 7.4.7, M.Burgess, USN, wc.cca; W.Blake, Tyger-poem, wc; T.Woods, wc, T.Hipps, 4.23.9; T.Woods, wc, 7.4.7, M.Burgess; J.Nicklaus, wc, 9.27.6, J.Dye; gluten.baked.spongy, S03311251; macroecono, lamcasinoroyal, wc, 2011.
Posted: 7.22.15 @ 7:22pm; edit 7.23 @ 3:45pm EST
Poem reference: “The Tyger” by Wm Blake, 1794 (“Songs of Experience”)
Copyright © 2015

 

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