Teed Off (Aug. 18, 2013)
with Robert Bicknell
If I had to bet money, I'd say: Stick a fork in Tiger… he's done.
That's right, I said it. I don't think Tiger will reach or beat Jack Nicklaus's records and, for that matter, I doubt Tiger will even win two more majors before his career is over. So how does that grab you?
Before you start throwing brickbats at me for saying what some golf people, mostly those who make money because of Tiger Woods, consider heresy, let me say that I have some valid reasons for my belief.
First of all, Tiger's body is letting him down. He's not a youngster anymore and he's suffered a few injuries that required either surgery or rehabilitation. Either way, injuries of that nature leave both a physical scar, as well as a mental one. If you blew out your knee at some point, even though it got repaired, you still remember the injury and tend to baby it for fear of injuring it again. This is normal.
Tiger's swing would never be compared to Sam Snead, Fred Couples or Ernie Els. While those players have powerful swings, they were rhythmic and beautiful to watch. On the other hand, Tiger's swing more resembles an axe murderer with anger management issues. It is violent and powerful.
It a nutshell, it is a perfect way to injure yourself.
Tiger had a beautiful swing in college and then went to Butch Harmon for fine-tuning. While some argue that Harmon was the one who caused Tiger to injure his knee, I would argue that it was going to happen sooner or later anyway. You simply cannot generate that much torque without suffering for it later. Nevertheless, Butch gave Tiger a pretty good swing.
Tiger, being Tiger and never satisfied, jumped ship to Hank Haney who, in my opinion, did more for himself than he did for Tiger. A few wins and a major league scandal later, Tiger jumped to Sean Foley and more swing changes which, obviously, have not made much of a difference in Tiger's game. If anything, I feel it hurt him because he cannot find the fairway off the tee with a GPS and a Seeing Eye dog; his legendary short game seems nowhere to be seen and his putting is a disaster.
Mentally, I don't think Tiger fully recovered his mojo after the scandal and whatever momentum he did get back, he lost when he hit the flagstick at the Masters and spun back into the water. This is not the same Tiger Woods who dominated the Tour and sent terror into the hearts of his fellow competitors.
Sure, he will undoubtedly win more tournaments, but a major doesn't seem in the cards. There is just too much high-level competitors out there who don't fear him.
Respect him, yes. Fear him, no.
The other thing is that Tiger has so much money in the bank that he can do what he wants and never work another day in his life. That must also be weighing on his mind as he comes down the 18th fairway after posting another ridiculous round.
He doesn't need to do this. His legacy is secure.
The only thing driving Tiger is his chase for Jack's record and with every passing loss, the record seems more out of reach. I don't think he'll cave in anytime soon, but if he doesn't win a major in the next year, I wouldn't be surprised if he announces he's going to take time off to pursue other interests for a while.
The ego can only take so much pounding before it begins to crack. Tiger's been through hell over the last five years. Not just physical, but emotional and mental as well.
We can just watch and see how he reacts.
The big momma of all charity golf tournaments in Viet Nam is set to tee off at VGCC on 30 August. That's right, it's time again for "Swing For Life".
This event started them all and shows no signs of slowing down in its effort to raise money for the poor. From bloodmobiles, to medical clinics, schools, wheelchairs, eye and cleft palate operations, this event has helped so many people.
If you want to be a part of it as a player or sponsor, please contact the Saigon Golf Association, or Vietnam Golf & Country Club. — VNS