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A realistic move for Tiger

Update: October, 16/2016 - 09:00
Viet Nam News

By Robert Bicknell

Well, at least he’s honest...

After getting the entire golf world excited by announcing he would participate in the Safeway tournament and Turkey event, Tiger Woods decided he’s really NOT ready to compete on the PGA Tour again.

OK, not EVERYONE in the golf world was excited. There are plenty of people like me who frankly couldn’t give a rat’s pitoot about his return. If he does, he does. If he doesn’t, no big deal. Wake me up if he wins another major.

Tiger says his health is OK, but after reflection, he says his game is “vulnerable” which means, it will not hold together under pressure and he doesn’t want to lose more sponsors by missing more cuts.

Perhaps seeing the level of golf being played at the Ryder Cup made him realize he’s not the king of the hill any longer and that is a fair enough statement. The world didn’t stop just because he took a hiatus. Everyone else stepped up their games, or matured enough to let their talent shine through.

And everyone stopped rolling over and playing dead because he was in the field.

Rory McIlroy seemed to have found himself again. Patrick Reed showed everyone that he’s not just bluster but actually has a lot of game to back up his boasts. Phil Mickelson found his competitive juices and took Sergio Garcia to the limit with both making great saves and a bucketful of birdies each.

Tiger might be feeling much better physically, but the oldest truism in golf is that the game is 80% mental and only 20 per cent physical, so if he doesn’t have confidence in his swing and his ability to control himself in critical situations, he might as well stay home and play US$5 Nassau.

Personally, I am not sure if Tiger should even try to come back.

He will never dominate like he used to. He will most likely never beat Nicklaus’ record for majors and there is no guarantee that he will even win again.

The downside to Tiger’s return is much greater than any potential upside because the one thing he has left is his legacy. To come back and flail away trying to make cuts is not the way he wants to be remembered, nor is it the way anyone wants to remember him.

The other question is why he would want to try and come back.

He’s already past his prime, he has all the money he could ever need or use, he has an incredible record. His body is beat up and his swing is still a far cry from anything he had in his heyday.

The only reasons I can imagine would include being pressured by the PGA Tour so they can start getting more viewers and sponsors. It’s a known fact that when Tiger Woods is featured for an event, the TV viewership increases and, therefore, so does that amount of sponsorship. Everyone wants more bang for their advertising dollar and Tiger helps them get it.

Also, I think Tiger got bit by the bug again during the Ryder Cup.

It must be quite painful to see the boys playing and not being a part of it. Staying on the sidelines is not an easy thing to do for any professional athlete, especially when one is accustomed to winning. Michael Jordon used to demand the ball in the last few seconds of a tight game because he knew he could deliver. He was born to win.

So was Tiger, at one time, so not being in the thick of things must be driving him nuts.

At 58 years of age, I cannot perform the way I did as when I was younger. Sure, the heart still has the competitive fire, but reality has to take hold at some point. We simply cannot compete with the younger kids who have no physical injuries or emotional scars. Tiger needs to face this fact too.

And let’s not forget he still has a freight train full of emotional baggage to haul around.

At some point, every professional athlete has to take a realistic look at himself, then decide if it’s time to hang up the spikes or not.

Making a rash decision in the heat of a testosterone-fueled Ryder Cup isn’t the best move for Tiger. — VNS




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