Plus my Stanley Cup winner!
Tiger is an emotional guy. Even before his personal life was excavated to reveal a different man, he did his fair share of antics on the golf course. Whether its this, or this, or even this (okay the last one was soft), he had a worse on-course behavior than Happy Gilmore. That was the one aspect of his game that was lambasted by commentators and former players. Avid Tiger Fans, or ATF’s, retorted by claiming ‘he is always on camera. It’s inevitable that he’s caught acting like a 6-year-old without his favorite toy. Put the camera on other players for an equal amount of time as Tiger and I’m sure you’ll see similar reactions to shots’ time and time again (I admit that statement was slightly contrived on my part).
Which brings me to my next point: Tiger is always on camera because he is the aura of his sport, personal life be damned. He glues audiences to their HDTV’s on Sunday afternoon while he’s in contention, myself included, every single time. His mastering creativity awe the spectators and inspire the youth. There is no question that he transcended the sport of golf unlike any figure before him (Palmer is a distant 2nd). He was an invincible force. Consequently, this led to his self-described “entitlement”, dysfunctional personal life, and awkward rebuttal to Lebron’s “Decision” for the most awkward nationally-televised event.
It has been a little over two years since that press conference, and Tiger hasn’t done much on the golf course. He has achieved only one victory and 8 top-10’s in 35 tournaments worldwide in that span. It may be considered a solid track record for the average tour pro, but we all know Tiger Woods is not the average tour pro. The man has 99 professional victories and owns 14 major championships. An incredible for a man his age (36). Although, given what has transpired over the past two years, he has made no progress on Jack Nicklaus’ record mark of 18 major titles since his epic triumph at the 2008 U.S. Open. Even with his post-open knee surgery forcing him out of the final two majors in 2008, I like most people envisioned at the beginning of 2009 he’d have caught that record by now…and then some.
His latest appearance in a major occurred last week at the Masters, and it was a dud. His T-40 finish left many spectators flummoxed over his performance, but it was his character on the golf course that pissed a ton of people off. This sums up the week that Tiger had as a golfer and as a person. It’s shocking to me that an Augusta official didn’t disqualify him from the tournament right there, given the righteous attitude that August National presents itself in the public.
Tiger separated himself from the field not just because of overwhelming talent, but his mental toughness. He lost that toughness from his fallout with the media, and has yet to regain any of it since. I honestly thought he won back some of that mental edge after his win a few weeks prior, and then would drastically change into FU mode on the golf course for the rest of his career and win 25 majors…I spoke too soon at that point.
In that awkward press conference, Tiger proclaimed that he’d be a “better person on and off the golf course” and “control his actions after any shot”. He promised to his fans that he’d change, and change he did not. Tiger has yet to live up to those statements, and that was on full display at Augusta. The clip above shows it’s evident the majors, despite being his personal playground throughout the major-ity (see what I did there?) of his career, prove too much for Tiger. Until he rectifies his mental edge from the pre-scandal days, he won’t win another major. The mental drag of the majors has placed too much strain on his god-given physical talent. ‘Tis a shame.
On a separate note, I’m happy for Bubba winning the Masters. If there is anybody that competes with Tiger on a creativity level, it’s this guy.
I’m picking the Penguins to win the Stanley Cup. They score goals in bunches and have a goaltender capable of upping his game for the playoffs. If there’s anything I learned from previous Stanley Cup winners it’s that is helps to ride a hot goaltender throughout the playoffs.
Sleeper pick: Nashville Predators. See hot goaltender statement above.