Teed Off (Mar. 2, 2014)
with Robert Bicknell
A few people diehard fans of Le Tigre claim I have been drinking "Haterade" because I don't think Tiger Woods will achieve his goal of eclipsing Jack Nicklaus's record for major tournament wins, but it has nothing to do with hating, disliking or anything else. It has to do with the fact that the guy simply isn't the same as he once was and shows no signs of recovering his form or his intimidating presence.
Also, look at the talent out there…
Adam Scott, Jason Day, Jordan Speeth and, of course, Rory McIlroy lead the charge of the next generation of superstars looking to become a dominant force of the Tour and they're doing a good job of it.
Right now, when these guys tee it up with Tiger Woods, they're honored to be playing with a "legend", but they don't roll over and die because he's there. It's sort of like younger people patting us old folks on the head before showing us how better than us they are.
They pay homage to the past, but will not become hostage to it.
Rory stumbled because of the pressure dumped on him by the media and his rapidly rising star. The problem with rising stars is that they either go super nova and shine bright or become a black hole of despair. Rory was in danger of lapsing into black hole status, but seems to have recovered enough to get back on track. I suspect his engagement to his long time girlfriend had a lot to do with his return to stability. While I love to get on his case due to his equipment, any good pro can play with almost anything. Sure, better sticks will help him perform at a higher level, but he can adapt enough to make pars and birdies with them.
It also seems that becoming friends with Tiger is like the kiss of death. A couple of big names appeared in commercials with him and then dropped off the planet. So, if Tiger asks you to join him for a beer or an ad shoot…run.
Adam Scott is another one who looked like he had super nova potential, until the media got onto his case. I still think Scott can be one of the best out there, but he needs to recover his equilibrium after his Masters win. There is a lot of pressure following a major win, as well as a lot of additional media coverage, so it's no wonder these guys start to collapse and start to pull their little world in after them. However, I think Adam Scott is still young enough to bounce back and start winning again - once the media finds a new darling to pester.
One of the problems with stardom is the fickleness of the media and the fans. Sure, they love you when you're hot and they will tout your abilities to the highest heavens, but the moment you start to falter, they will rip your legs out from under you faster than you can say "Jack Robinson".
Maybe it's human nature to build up our heroes and then tear them down when its discovered they have feet of clay, but it certainly isn't fair to the hero. Who knows how he might have rebounded if the media didn't start their feeding frenzy like a pack of starving jackals?
Tiger, of course, is a great example of a super nova collapsing under its own weight into a black hole where not even light can escape. He built his image rock solid and controlled every bit of information related to him and then killed himself with his off course antics. Sorry, no pity there, but I always thought he should have fired his marketing manager and capitalized on his bad boy image.
Jason Day and Jordan Speeth are waiting in the wings as well and show signs of being able to compete with the best of them. The good thing is they are still young and will continue to learn and amass experience which will serve them well when they get into position to win a major.
Mickelson and Tiger won't be around forever, so it's good to have many talented players lining up to take what they feel is theirs.
And take it they will… — VNS