Tiger’s smart to take it slow

Update: March, 11/2018 - 09:00
Viet Nam News

By Robert Bicknell

Depending on who you ask, the answers to almost any question will be different except when it is a given constant, such as the value of PI, the speed of light, etc. But almost everything else is open to interpretation, especially when facts have become considered to be “fake news” or “alternate facts”.

Yes, the world is going to hell in a hand basket and all we can do is hang on for a wild ride.

Now, if you ask the pundits, you will get very mixed reviews in regards to Tiger’s comeback. Some claim it has been far less successful than they expected, others claim that just finishing an event and remaining healthy is a success.

Obviously, one group are overachievers and the other are, well, just happy he’s playing again.

Tiger himself believes his comeback is on track and he’s happy with the results. Normally an overachiever, Tiger now has the benefit of age and maturity, and has become a realist. He set a realistic recovery schedule and he’s sticking to it. In the old days, he would have driven himself too hard and ended up back under the surgeon’s knife.

I think he knows how many bullets he’s dodged over the years and is now just happy to be out there competing again. Sure, he wants to win, but he’s willing to be patient and that alone is a huge difference.

Coming back too fast and not properly finishing rehab is a surefire recipe for disaster. Trying to push yourself too hard, especially when coming off an injury, is also a recipe for disaster. I’m a master at deceiving myself and playing through injuries, which is probably why I am always in pain.

There comes a time when you have to admit that you’re not young anymore and you need to find a different way to achieve your goal. Whereas in my youth I overpowered golf courses with my length, I now have to think my way around the course more. Take fewer high risk chances and just keep the ball in play. Still, it’s not easy when your heart says “bomb one” and your brain says “play it smart”.

So, I think Tiger is being very smart this time around and he’s not giving in to the crowd who expects him to take a vitamin and jump over a roof. He’s shaking off the rust and improving a little more very week. More importantly, he’s getting his confidence back.

I remember when he was under Sean Foley. He couldn’t swing the club. Literally. His mind was on the take away and the mechanics, instead of seeing the ball flight in his mind.

We call this “paralysis by analysis”.

If you have to remind yourself how to take the club back every time, you shouldn’t be out there because you’re not “playing golf”. In that case, get back to the range and groove the swing so it happens without conscious thought.

Tiger was impatient and rushed back out there and paid the consequences… a few back and knee surgeries. Oh, for the record, my own personal opinion is that Sean Foley sucks as a teacher. Sorry, but that is my opinion and I am entitled to it. He is more than welcome to say I suck as a columnist if it makes him happy. But I will always be a better teacher than him because my students improve and don’t have to get surgery afterwards.

Tiger is now claiming that old veterans can compete against the young lions and I can understand that because he is an older veteran and he’s trying to compete against the younger generation, who, by the way, isn’t afraid of him.

He sees Phil Mickelson win and that gives him hope.

With today’s technology, I agree that a really smart seasoned veteran can compete against the young guns. But they need to be smart about it. Don’t get sucked into playing the younger game.

There is an old joke about the “young buffalo and the old buffalo” which I will not repeat here. Ask a friend, they probably heard it and can tell you how it goes.

Suffice it to say that brains can beat brawn, but Tiger needs to ignore the pundits and just keep to his schedule and see how it goes. VNS