Tiger Woods is a Cry Baby

Before we get started I would like to ask you a simple question.  Who is the number one golfer in the world?  I am talking about the single best player that is on the face of this planet.  The guy that wins over 25% of the tournaments that he enters.  The guy that took eight months off for a knee surgery to come back to the tour still ranked number one in the world.  The guy that is only a few majors away from breaking Jack’s record of fourteen majors.  He is the guy that wears red every Sunday and makes more money than most of us will in our lives to play a game.  The man that I am talking about is Tiger Woods.  (I will come back to the fact that I just called him a man here in a few minutes.)

Tiger took some time off last year to have his knee worked on for a fifth time in hopes of fixing the issue once and for all.  You might remember the major that he went up against Rocco Mediate in with what doctors called a “broken leg” due to the amount of damage that was done in his leg.  That week he walked around the course in pain after nearly every shot and actually took the time to explain how he finally knew it was time for another surgery.  (The moral of the story is that in his insane seven days a week work out routine he was running one of his ten miles when all of a sudden his knee gave out.  He was basically running in a bone on bone scenario.  He played that US Open with bone on bone and actually broke pieces of the bone in his leg during that week because he was walking on it.  Doctors even told him the week before the tournament not to play as he could damage it even more so than it was.  He played, he won, and shut up a lot of naysayers with his victory.)

But Tiger came back and it took him a bit to get a win.  He finally did win and managed to place in the top five in a couple of other tournaments along the way.  But when he won two weeks before the British Open this year, he was ready to head to Turnberry (a Troon course if you didn’t know) a week early to get ready for the insane winds and links style format that would await him the following Thursday.  He played a few rounds, but was not prepared for the winds that Thursday and Friday would bring.  His knee, mind you, is fixed.  The surgery was a total success and he actually took two more weeks off than he should have.  He was ready when he came back earlier this year, so his knee had zero affect on his performance.

But Tiger comes out of the gate with some bogeys and finds himself a couple under par the first day.  No big deal, the lead was only a couple under, and he was just a few shots back.  Tiger would shoot in the high sixties on Friday and be a couple back going into the weekend.  Well, Tiger did not shoot in the upper sixties; he shot in the upper seventies and managed to come into the clubhouse at a nice number of +5.  For those of you that might not play golf, that is not a good score to have in a major, or any tournament for that matter.  He would need a handful of guys to bogey at least one hole on the way in for him to make the set +4 cut.  Tiger had only missed one cut in a major prior to this week and it was in a British Open.  He has now missed two cuts in majors.

But outside of the uncharacteristic play that tiger had this week, it was his behavior on an after shot by shot basis that shocked me.  Let me explain.  Tiger has a temper.  Tiger gets mad.  Tiger slams clubs, uses more profanity than a sailor, and has the tendency to yell at “fans” and media people while he or she shoots pictures during every single step he takes on a golf course. (Could you imagine living a life like that where every thing you do, every step you take is caught on camera?  Well, this is why he is currently in the spotlight right now.)  Tiger spends his entire day on Thursday slamming clubs and cussing up a storm only to get the majority of it caught on tape.  (Can I even say tape anymore?)  And Rick Reiley made notice.  Rick is a sports writer for various big named outlets, mainly Sports Illustrated and ESPN.  He has made a lot of coverage on my boy Tiger (kind of like MGB) and has spent many years covering his career.  And Rick (no relation) had a few things to say that I can just simply not agree with.

In Rick’s article, he states, “He’s grown in every other way. He’s committed, responsible, smart, funny, and the most talented golfer in history. I just thought we’d be over the conniptions by now. “

I have to beg to differ with Mr. Reiley on this one.  Sure, I get it that Rick is respected and I am in the beginning stages of starting my blog presence, but he could not be more from wrong on this.  Let me tell you why.

Tiger is in the spotlight twenty-four hours a day.  He has to live his life in almost total secrecy.  (I mean, a guy that still talks on a Razor cell phone does need to keep some things in hiding.)  He cannot go to the mall or go out to dinner with his family.  He cannot go to a movie on a Friday night or go on a double date with his closet friends without signing autographs, posing for pictures, and being the center of attention everywhere he goes.  That is point one; he is a celebrity that just happens to be the best golfer ever to play the game.

The second point is that he is a ridiculous competitor.  He thrives, he lives for competition, and if he is not winning or in contention to be winning he is upset.  He is not upset at you, or the cameraman, or the golf course, or the weather; he is upset with himself.  He is not even upset with his caddy.  Tiger is the one hitting every single shot and he is the only one that he can blame for missed shots.  So when he hits a bad shot, with the history he has in the game, the practice routine that he holds, and the absolute sheer talent that he has, he has every right in the world to get mad.

I am a decent player, carrying a one handicap for a few years now, and can go shoot in the low to mid seventies any day of the week.  And I still get mad when I hit a bad shot.  I do not practice a fraction of what he does and I still break clubs, still yell profanities, and still get mad at myself for missing birdie putts and blocking a drive right into the woods.  Why do I get so angry?  I get angry because I care.  I get mad at things that I can, and even sometimes cannot, control.  If I hit a ball right I want to know what I did wrong.  And yeah, I get mad because I expect to be shooting in the low seventies.  (I once heard someone say that you cannot get mad until you are your handicap or more.  Meaning that if I am only one over par and I hit a bad shot I have no right to get mad because at the end of the day I am supposed to have a couple of bogeys on my card.  I try to live by that when I play today, but it rarely works.)

And point three that I would like to make about Tiger is that it is getting close to his prime for the game of golf.  Most guys hit it between thirty-five and forty years old.  Tiger, granted is only thirty-three years old, but he is getting there.  And the one big record that I know Tiger wants more than anything is that Grand Slam.  That is where he would hold all four major titles in the same calendar year at once.  He has the Tiger Slam, meaning he held all the majors, but he did it over two years.  And the year that he was going to do it, in my book anyway, was next year.  He gets three courses that he can not seem to loose on for majors next year, being Augusta for the Masters, Pebble Beach for the Open, and St. Andrews for the British.

All things aside, Tiger his human.  Sometimes on the golf course it might not look that way, but Tiger puts his pants on one leg at a time like everyone else.  (Does he make gold records when he puts his pants on?  Name that skit and win a prize!)

All that I am saying is give the guy some space.  I appreciate your take on this topic, Rick, I really do.  But you are wrong.  He is simply reacting as he sees fit and is trying as hard as he can to be a normal human being.  You have to expect a little bit of anger, though; after all, he is a Tiger.