Sunday, April 6, 2014

Don't Call it a Comeback!

Tiger Woods. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images, this photo is purported to be in the public domain.  Fair use is also claimed, full source is lsited below.

Greetings All:

"Don't call it a comeback
I been here for years
Rockin my peers and puttin suckas in fear..."

LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out

Although the weather isn't cooperating, spring's here.  That means baseball (cue the "Death Star/Darth Vader" music) "Go Yankees!"  It also means pro golf begins in earnest.  The Masters' tournament kicks off soon.  Two guys who will not be there are my favorite golfer, John Daly, and Tiger Woods.

I'll do a post on John down the road as there's just so much to talk about.  He'll actually be in the local area of the tournament, just not on the links.  There's a link below if you're curious about him.  However, today's post is about Tiger Woods.  Love him or hate him, his place in golf history (and popular culture) is secure.

For the record, I am not a Tiger Woods fan or foe.  I do respect what he has done on the links.  As for his personal life, that is between him and his wife, er I mean ex-wife.  I have never talked to him so this is pure conjecture on my part.  However, I strongly believe that he has profound regrets that his past acts have costs him time with his kids.  Such is life. 

For those of you who might I wonder In the book, Talent is Overrated, the author Geoff Colvin did a profile on Woods.  He acknowledges that Woods is an incredibly talented golfer.  However, Colvin argues that the primary reason for Woods success lies more with his training and work ethic.  Tiger Woods father, Earl Woods, a former Special Forces Soldier, trained Tiger to be an excellent golfer and practice with a ruthless pursuit of excellence.  I recall a line in the book (and I am para-phasing) "You cannot be Tiger Woods because your dad is not Earl Woods."

And Tiger Woods was known for his legendary work ethic. Perhaps the best contrast between John Daly and Tiger Woods is the story Daly tells in his book about how he invited Tiger to have a few beers with him.  Tiger declined, stating the need to practice/exercise.  When John bemoaned that answer saying Tiger could take a break, Woods replied, "If I had your talent John, I wouldn't have to work out...."  Personally, I'd have probably had a beer with John, but that's just me.

A few years' back, Tiger Woods seemed to have it all.  Fame, a gorgeous wife and cute kids, staggering amounts of wealth and wins, lots and lots of wins.  The conventional wisdom was not when he would pass Jack Nicholas' wins, but when. He was all but certain to be the greatest golfer ever.

Then it all came crashing down for him.  His marriage ended after affairs were exposed.  His game, always something he had control of, got away from him.  He missed shots, botched putts.  He stopped winning.  

Then there is the health aspect.  Although still a relatively young man, not overweight, not known for abusive intakes of food/drugs/alcohol and still a dedicated trainer, found his body giving out on him.  He recently announced that he would not be playing the Masters Tournament this year.  According to his website, the surgery was successful but that he will be out of professional golf until the summer.  

Although the medical aspect of golf is not something I have thought about much, it is a factor in the game.  Competitive golf is not about riding around in a cart, smoking cigars and drinking whatever.  It's a grueling endeavor that taxes ones' mind and body.  Tony Robbins has an expression:  "Repetition is the mother of skill."  That may be true.  However, repetition of golf swings (thousands of them in the case of Woods) all day, every day, will take its toll on even the most in shape and healthy golfer.

Still, one could agree with LL Cool J in reference to whether Tiger Woods is in a "comeback" mode.  After all, he is still winning and according to the Official World Golf Rankings he is #1.  This is a position he's held for an astounding 677 weeks.  

The photo below is one most of us are familiar with seeing, the victorious Tiger Woods.  I wonder if the question to ask is not whether Tiger Woods will come back, or has already come back, but what lessons he's learned.  Fair or not, he's a public figure and that has caused his most personally private (and painful) matters to be on tabloid display.  Then with his medical issues, he's seen for being what he is- a man.  A talented man with an amazing work ethic and drive to win.  He seems determined to get back on the path to victory.

I think the trick is to learn from set-backs.  Zig Ziglar put it this way:

"Getting knocked down in life is a given...getting up and moving forward is a choice."

The iconic photo of Tiger Woods,, public domain and/or fair use claimed
I think that Tiger Woods has elected to get up and move forward.  I think that is good for golf.  I hope he wins again.  I hope that some kid fighting for his PGA Card in Q School is dreaming of beating Woods.  And not beating a sore, injured Woods, but a Woods at the top of his game.

Perhaps we will again see Tiger Woods moving forward as he walks down the 18th fairway in some important tournament in the last pairing on the last day, chasing yet another championship.  That would be a victory for him over the course, over his physical pain and perhaps over the mistakes of his past.  I'd like to see that.  The only thing that would make such a sight better is to see Tiger's talented friend John walking down with him. 

Be well my friends,


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