by Robert Bicknell
If you asked me a few years ago if a situation would arise where I would find myself sympathetic to Tiger Woods, I probably would laughed, but then, both his and my own situations changed and this is why I am sure the Universe has a collective sense of humor and I am a frequent target of its mirth.
Both our plights have been already covered. Tiger’s in every magazine and golf programme on the planet, and mine last week, so no need to rehash that.
What I find irritating is all the pundits coming out and claiming “Tiger isn’t the same”, “Tiger doesn’t look sharp”, "Tiger not prepared for this major…”
Yes, more pearls of wisdom from writers who “are not prepared to write about anything except Tiger because that would involve research and actually working”.
What many of them fail to consider, and having looked into the abyss myself (and found it looking back at me. Ugly mutha!), is that Tiger’s priorities have probably changed considerably since his DUI.
Let’s look at this semi-rationally (I can only do “semi-rationally” because I have a butt full of morphine and, let’s just say. I’m not only having out of body experiences, but out of my mind experiences as well).
Tiger has more money than he will ever use in the next two lifetimes. He’s got so many entries in the Record Books that they might as well just rename it after him. He has two great kids and still makes money just by showing up. He was at the edge of the abyss, looked down and was able to pull back in time to save himself. It must have been a horrible experience for someone so used to being so favourably in the limelight.
More importantly, he was faced with a situation where playing golf again was probably not even a consideration and the best he could hope for was a pain-free life (and, again, I can sympathize), but then something amazing happened... like Houdini, he escaped the worst of it, but in doing so, he changed as well.
I’ve said many times that Tiger has matured into an “elder spokesman” role in the game, and I think that’s where he is most content right now.
Tiger seems happiest just joining the Majors, or a particular event that he enjoyed in the past, and really doesn’t give a damn if he wins or not. The majors are the world stage and where Tiger feels most comfortable.
OK, sure, he WANTS to win, but if he doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world for him. I’d be willing to be doorknobs to doughnuts that, right now, he gets joy just from teeing it up with the boys and that’s good enough. Another day in the sun.
He doesn’t need to prove anything to himself or anyone else.
Besides, if he misses the cut, what happens? He jumps on his Private Jet, flies hope to his huge mansion. Takes his yacht “Privacy” out for a spin with his family and Barbeques a few steaks. Sounds like a pretty good life to me.
OK, so if Tiger isn’t a contender, and Phil Mickelson feels out of shape (his normal shape is round, but then he went and lost 7 kilograms, so now he’s kinda in-between), then who are the most likely guys to be in the final pairing on Sunday?
Well, Brooks Koepka is an obvious choice due to the way he’s been playing, but he might have a bit of a Tiger Hex on him after spurning Woods’s test message for a practice round. It actually got a laugh out of Tiger, which shows how far he’s come over the years because, in the past, you’ve had nuclear heat fallout.
Barring Woods capturing lightning in a bottle, the media would collectively lost their minds if the final Sunday pairing was Rory McIlroy and Koepka, but out of the two, I’d still have to put my money on Koepka simply because he’s like a machine out there, whereas Rory seems to have a trouble keeping everything together when the heat reaches full boil.
Either way, it's gonna be fun to watch… especially with a butt full of Morphine….LOL.