with Robert Bicknell
Well, it looks like our vacation from Tiger Woods dominating the headlines of the golf world have come to an end. Like Kanye West, he posts a Tweet and the internet explodes.
For those of you living in a cave, two or three people posted news that Tiger Woods has trouble even sitting down and has to let other people drive his car for him while he reclines in the passenger seat.
Tiger's representative denies it completely and Tiger tweets a video of him hitting a shot on the golf simulator in his home, claiming he's on track (for recovery) but still not setting any timetable for his return.
In some ways, this approach makes a lot more sense to me.
In the past, Tiger was hyper-positive and everyone (read: Tiger fans) waited breathlessly for the second coming. In hindsight, he rushed his return for various reasons and performed worse than he ever did before. This time, however, he is giving no timetable for a return and has actually downplayed the whole thing – which gives pundits plenty of ammunition for the guessing game they love so much.
Personally, and having suffered through many golf injuries over the years, I can tell you that coming back is not always a given, and never easy. Once the problem is accurately diagnosed and fixed, then you have rehab lots of rehab and trust me when I say it's not fun at all.
Even after the rehab, you're forced to confront the elephant in the room – what caused the injury. Was it a fault in the swing mechanism? Was it simply bad luck or something which could not be foreseen?
This elephant also wanders into the "Hmm, maybe I can change my swing for the better now that I have so much time off" territory. That alone is a can of worms which should most often be left unopened and buried deep – unless it was the swing motion which caused the injury in the first place.
OK, in regards to Tiger's injuries, his knees are a mess because of the tremendous torque he builds up and then violently unleashes with his hip turn.
Something gotta give when you rotate that hard.
Surgery, cleaned out the knee, reattached the ACL, etc good to go. Next injury... His lower back.
Tiger changed his swing quite a few times over the course of his amateur and professional career. Most people will agree (and probably Tiger too) that his best swing was during his college days.
Needless to say, most every commentator hated the swing Sean Foley was giving him and many (including me) predicted back problems if he kept at it. It gives me no satisfaction to be right in this case, but anyone with half a brain could see what that swing would do to him.
Even a player who generated much less power and torque would feel the effects sooner or later, but it Tiger's case, when something blows, it blows big time.
And this is where we are today.
When I watched his swing on the simulator, I wasn't overly thrilled as he was still springing up hard through the impact and follow through zones. This is probably going to eventually put him back under the knife again. The body isn't supposed to move that way.
Tiger had amazing athletic abilities, the touch of a surgeon and the creativity of Seve Ballesteros. With today's equipment and golf swing technology, Tiger might benefit by stepping back from the power game and focusing more on finesse. Power he has, he doesn't need to to get longer. But he does need to beat people mentally and that comes from self-confidence and knowing you can make the shot when needed.
Tiger always had that ability and needs to find it again, but without destroying himself in the process. If he can do that, he might have a ecent chance at a comeback.
No, he will never be the same as before - dominating every event he teed up in, but nobody ever is. Those days are past and he needs to re-invent himself in a different direction.
Oh, and the difference between Tiger's posts and Kanye's is simple... Tiger, injured or not, remains relevant. Whereas Kanye is a howling jackass and posts outrageous items in hopes people will consider him relevant, but fails. — VNS