Photo; Bunkers Paradise
The ‘Tiger Woods Watch’ sirens went off last week when it was announced that old Eldrick won’t be gracing the fairways at Augusta this year. This is my shocked face…
Tiger Woods has been done for a while and he’s never coming back. Ever.
Oh sure he’ll show up in Dubai to collect his seven figure playing fee and will make it to some PGA Tour events from time to time, but Tiger the Real Golfer is gone for good. The Masters won’t be fitting Tiger for any new garish green blazers. He’s done nothing on any golf course anywhere to make any rational person think that a return to form is remotely possible.
Yet for some reason sports pundits and golf experts seem loathe to state the obvious and they continue to spout out bromides along the lines of, ‘Well, you never can say never when it comes to a great athlete,’ or some such blather. There’s nothing wrong or outlandish with the assessment that Tiger is finished as a major competitive player any more than it would be in saying the same about an aging, oft-injured football player, NBA star or pitcher who’s undergone Tommy John Surgery.
The 41 year old will never regain the form that catapulted him to the top of the golf world as a 20 year old and kept him there until 2010. He old and broken down, with the ‘broken down’ part being the bigger problem.
Before his personal problems derailed his career, Tiger experienced some physical problems that affected his golf game. In 2008 he underwent knee surgery – won the US Open in a legendary performance, basically playing on one leg – and then needed additional surgery on the same knee, which caused him to miss the rest of the year. From this point, Tiger struggled on the golf course, except for a brief span in 2013, and experienced a series of injuries culminating in his 2014 back injury that caused him to have surgery.
Photo: Cebu Sports Blog
That’s quite a list of injuries for a golfer or any athlete not engaged in a sport where there’s running and/or contact…
On top of all of this physical woe – a slow and steady breakdown – Tiger was constantly tinkering with his mechanics and changing swing coaches. Considering the delicate balance of the golf swing, all of these adjustments could have very likely contributed to Tiger’s physical problems. The golf swing, especially one like Tiger’s, exposes the body to tremendous stresses, and making a series of changes to a long-practiced technique could lead these kinds of injuries.
Arguably, the constant attention to his mechanics also was a contributing factor to Tiger’s performance issues. When it comes to skill acquisition and performance, the worst thing an elite performer can do is to be conscious of the different aspects of the technique. Find articles or videos where Tiger discusses his swing and you’ll be treated to a litany of over-analysis of the kind that make it likely an elite will have problems.
Perhaps Tiger felt he was invincible and could achieve the perfect swing. Maybe nobody had the guts to stand up to him and tell him he was crazy, or maybe they did, which is why he had at least 3 swing coaches. Certainly, the nobody in the golf world really had the balls to call out Tiger on his mechanics obsession and how it contributed to his demise.
Everyone was afraid of Tiger until he crashed his SUV that Thanksgiving night.
Photo: Daily Mail
Now, it’s actually kind of pathetic that golf still makes Tiger Woods’ potential return such a big part of its promotional efforts and every time he pulls out of a major we get the same nonsensical analysis. Enough already. Move on.
Although I guess when you realize the vast majority of sports fans have no idea who won The Masters last year, it doesn’t seem to matter that there are a bevy of young, talented golfers out there playing and winning tournaments week after week. By keeping the myth alive that Tiger can return, golf is not helping itself.