Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Young Tiger Old Tiger

Rumor is that a just-opened Orlando restaurant recently served two famous customers. The mayor came into the restaurant to place his order while his driver waited in the car. Later Tiger Woods came to place an order. He sent his driver in to place his order while he remained in the car. 

(From what I’ve read, Tiger often drives himself around Florida. It would seem more likely that he would have the food delivered, or order ahead and have a restaurant employee walk the order out to the car).

The difference? The mayor wants to be with the people. Needs to. Tiger is a product of how he was raised…isolated. Due to his fame, he cannot go out in public without creating a stir. The restaurant might actually have been thankful that Tiger stayed in the car. And Tiger doesn’t have to win any elections!

Like the robo-QB from USC, Tiger’s past has created numerous issues in his life. Like most people, Tiger is messed up…perhaps MORE than most people. Can Tiger become the golfer he used to be? Many thought he was crazy to tinker with the swing that was beating everyone else in golf. When he built up his skinny upper torso, his legs couldn’t handle the load. Now he has all kinds of ankle and knee problems.

Not unlike Barry Bonds, on his journey to become the best ever, Tiger systematically destroyed his body, and the world around him. Interestingly, Nike’s support may have kept Tiger from completely destroying himself. Phil Knight, selfishly interested in protected his cash cow, may have had a hand in protecting Tiger. Barry Bonds did not have that “support system.”

Woods compares to Elvis, or Michael Jackson. Howard Hughes, if you will. Brilliant as youngsters, they eventually became prisoners of their wealth and fame. After delivering never before seen world-class performances, even more and more was expected. While we marveled at the young Tiger, the old Tiger is often a shadow of his younger self, struggling to regain his spot at the top of the golfing world.

At the Ryder Cup Tiger was out early on Sunday to encourage his teammates, even though he wasn’t teeing off until the last pairing of the day. Captain Davis Love only had good things to say about Tiger. Love said the entire team gave input on pairings and strategy, and said Woods asked to play in the anchor position.
I’m no expert, but it appears that Tiger tries too hard. Other golfers have said the same thing. It seems his temper only hurts his game. Though Woods won three times this year, he seems to only play well for two or three rounds of a tournament, then falter on Sunday.

Winning 18 majors, or being the all-time best at anything, is an extremely difficult process. So many roadblocks can spring up along the way. Injuries. Opponents. Personal distractions. Drugs. Accidents. Other team-related issues. The careers of the greats are fascinating: Aaron. Bonds. McGuire. ARod. Ripken. Mantle. Chipper. Maddux. Clemens. Montana. Young. Favre. Peyton. Brady. Vick. Gretzky. Jordan. Kobe. Shaq. LeBron. Dwight Howard. Some make it. Most don’t.  

Will Tiger pass Nicklaus’ record number of majors? For a time it appeared he would soar past Jack. Now if he does break the record, it will be a painstakingly slow journey that could take ten years to accomplish.

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