with Robert Bicknell
OK, let me start off this week's column by apologizing in advance. In late January, I dislocated the middle finger of my left hand - which rendered me almost speechless. Those who know me will get that joke immediately.
However, the damage was worse than thought and it required me to have surgery this morning to repair a torn ligament and damaged tendon. They had to put a pin in there to hold it all together while it heals.
I am apologizing in advance because I am not sure when the pain-killers will kick in and after that, who knows what the hell I will write, but there's a good chance it will be even stranger than normal.
Also, because I can only type with one hand and one finger of the other, the copy editors and proofreaders at Việt Nam News will have a headache for sure. So apologies to them too.
Speaking of recovering from injury (hey, ya like the way I segued into this?), Tiger Woods made an appearance at his latest club, Bluejack National and he looked anything like the debilitated, broken down player the media reports portrayed. If anything, Tiger looked pretty spry.
But that doesn't mean he's coming back anytime soon. In fact, he still refuses to set a date.
This is actually pretty smart. He can enjoy playing with his kids, getting healthy on his own time schedule, finding his game again and, most of all, enjoying himself.
Let's remember that Tiger Woods is human after all. For most of his adult life, he was focused on tournaments and practically lived out of his suitcase. He probably spent more time in hotels, airplanes and golf courses than he did at home - including the "off season".
So why shouldn't he take time to enjoy himself now? There is no rush to get back. He knows the day he decides to come back the press will show up.
He won't miss a step and certainly won't lose money, but what he will gain is more time with his kids and more time to find himself.
Tiger's game went to hell, not just because of his physical injuries, but also because of the mental ones too. There is no denying that golf is 80 per cent mental, so both your heart and head have to be calm, but Tiger never found peace after the scandal.
Then, he tried his best to come back, but the harder he tried, the more pressure he put on both himself mentally and his body physically. Something had to give and it was his health.
So, now he seems, judging from his recent appearance at BlueJack National, to have found some peace. He's finally living his life on his own terms and this is a very good thing.
He doesn't have to schedule time for his kids between tournaments and meetings. He doesn't have to do whatever his agent tells him to do. He doesn't have to hit balls like a machine trying to get back as fast as possible.
He is his own person now and, again, that is a good thing. In fact, if and when de does come back this time, I think he will be a force to be reckoned with because he is at peace with himself.
He's got nothing to lose and nothing to prove. He can play golf for the love of it again with no pressure, and that makes him very dangerous.
Many of us in the business sacrificed our family life to manage clubs, or play on the Tour. This is not an easy life, especially here inViệt Nam if you have school age kids. They need to be close to good schools and, unfortunately, most of the clubs are an hour away from the cities. This means we have to wake up before the kids do, haul our butts to work, then come home (hopefully) in time to tuck our kids into bed at night.
When I stopped managing and just started teaching again, I saw my family every night and I loved every moment of it.
So, while I have never been jealous or envious of Tiger Woods' fame or money, I am envious of his ability to kick back, be himself and enjoy his kids.
I'd say he earned it. — VNS