Tiger Woods won his 75th PGA tourney this week and depending on where you fall on the Tiger Spectrum, it meant he’s back and will win two majors this year and break Jack Nicklaus’ record or that he’s never going to win a major again because look at the way he stumbled over the final nine holes. Lots of demons, explain the naysayers.
Who knows if it means anything about Woods’s chances of winning a major this year or five more over the next 10 years. At worst he’s the second-best player of all-time and the second-best player in the world today. He’s not what he was in 2000, but in 2001 he was no longer the player he was in 2000. Each time he tees it up, I hope he wins and I hope he passes the Bear and not just because I’d have to pay off some bets if he never gets to 19. I like watching greatness, even when it comes with all types of complications.
He remains an amazing talent, a polarizing figure, and the butt of bad jokes about Perkins. He lives in a cocoon and still seems hyper-sensitive about media criticism. But there’s one place Tiger can always turn if he needs a comforting word or an encouraging message. There’s one place where people really do think wayward drives are just part of the process and everything’s going to be okay in the end.
It’s the comments section on TigerWoods.com.
I admit to visiting Tiger’s website on a fairly regular basis, sometimes while searching for info, other times out of sheer curiosity. The site lists all of Tiger’s career stats and numbers and they’re all remarkable. It provides live updates during his rounds. There’s news about fitness, Tiger’s golf tips, and info about his charity organization. Pictures, video, all that. And on each news story, there are comments.
These comments are, really, unlike anything else on the Internet. They’re moderated, so there’s nothing like the terrifying comments that exist all over the Internet, from YouTube to newspaper websites to Yahoo! News. An occasional negative word slips in, as someone asks why Tiger can curse on the golf course but those words aren’t allowed on his site? Others defend him and the group moves on.There are no racist rants or political arguments and no one blames immigrants for anything. But they also aren’t simply short lines like, “Go, Tiger!” Instead the comments seem to be written by a big brother or a big fan or a concerned therapist or a Buddhist monk.
And Tiger, repeat after me. Patience is a virtue, so do try to harness this for future tournaments. Always keep in mind there’s “many a slip between the cup and the lip” so it’s never over until it’s over. Patience will help you to have less regrets in life. Again, congratulations and keep healthy.
I picture Tiger logging in at home, repeating after Marj. He’d been looking for a key to his season and now he’s found it with a line about a slip and a lip that sounds like something left over on a late-night writers’ table from his 2009 scandal.
Dear Tiger, Dreams don’t have a deadline. My mantra for you this and every year is: Keep the faith … Believe… Let go. Let God. I believe and will continue to do so until you say “no mas!” I’ll keep rooting you on.
Tiger’s first action this year came in Abu Dhabi, where he missed the cut after an improper drop cost him two strokes. The comments eventually take on Phil Mickelson’s accounting complaints, but after Tiger first missed the cut the motivational speakers came out in force.
Words from wvskybird:
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Go forward from here and continue following the dream. The circumstances of the tournament took a bizarre turn. Go home and prepare for next week’s tournament. …Some personal and private items about you are in the media right now. True or not does not matter. Tune them out and stay focused. Don’t replay them over and over. Take whatever action they require and then file them away.
The personal items must be about the Enquirer’s report that Tiger was looking to get back with his ex-wife Elin. Or perhaps was about the report Tiger’s dating Lindsey Vonn. But forget that, Tiger. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
Imagine how sick Tiger must get when he watches a replay and hears Nick Faldo, Johnny Miller, Brandel Chamblee, Peter Kostis, Paul Azinger and others criticize his swing or mentality. He must want to say, “Uh, guys. Scoreboard.” Now imagine him reading career advice on his own site:
You were doing fairly well, and then you went to that driver. Your driver has always been your biggest problem. Also, you have to stop making bogeys, right after making a birdie. Look at your cards.
*Tiger breaks out his cards from winless 2010 and 2011 seasons. Sees a lot of bogeys after birdies. Light bulb goes off. Vows to not do that anymore.*
Remember when Tiger led the U.S. Open last year and it seemed he’d finally win another major, but then it all fell apart on the weekend? The commenters were there after the terrible third round, offering their support.
I will not critique your game play, nor will I try to chastise you. At the end of any tournament, you always critique yourself better than anyone else. When you have a problem and correct it, then apply the modifications appropriately, that is all you can do.
Is that Scientology?
Daddybear — real name, or at least real username — offered up a Father’s Day-themed poem as Tiger prepared for the final round of the Open:
You’re a Dad and you’re doing great
At fatherly duties you star
You deserve to celebrate
The Terrific father you are
Tiger had a disappointing performance in the 2012 Masters, which came after his victory at Arnie’s tournament, a triumph that seemed to signal a big year ahead at the majors. Instead he wandered around Augusta as if he’d never seen the joint before and had more curse words than birdies. He threw some clubs. Some folks criticized him on his site, but others had more practical advice.
I’m sure after the Masters your reassessing where you are in your game, and swing. I’m a 4 handicap and have played the game for 20 years, for the most part I understand the golf swing and what a successful golfer needs to achieve throughout the swing.
He also has leather-bound books and his apartment smells of rich mahogany.
Even Par85 continues: Your a feel golfer, you know how to hit fade, draws, your muscle memory tells you how to hit that shot. As a golfer I know this is the hardest thing to do, but clear your mind and let your muscle memory hit those shots on 16, that 158-yard 9-iron draw. That’s not a technical shot, draw the club back and feel your way through that shot.
It seems unlikely that Tiger ever reads any of these words of encouragement or advice, although perhaps the web operator forwards him some of the best ones, in an email titled, “This will put a smile on your face!” It is fun to picture Tiger moderating the comments, while sitting in a dark room by himself watching a DVD of the 2000 U.S. Open, or creating fake monikers to post words of praise about himself, complete with just the right amount of misspellings to make people think there’s no way a Stanford guy could have written the message.
Athletes interact more than ever with the public, on their own sites and on Twitter and Facebook. Kobe Bryant — another guarded superstar — has recently emerged as an entertaining personality on Twitter, something Tiger has yet to achieve on his own account. Tiger’s website allows fans to feel like they’re chatting with the man himself. They can be strange, ridiculous and corny. But at least there’s another group of people in the sports world who believe he’ll win 19 majors. And to get there, all Tiger has to do is listen to their advice.