Four year ago, the only golfer who GolfPeach had heard of was Tiger Woods. Now, she would love to see him return to his former glories...
‘Another Tiger Woods Win Will Knock Every Other Sport Out Of The Headlines’
Four year ago, the only golfer who GolfPeach had heard of was Tiger Woods. Now, she would love to see him return to his former glories…
“That fierce focus was what his opponents feared the most in his heyday. The key stage in his recovery will be the day he truly thinks he can win again because that is when the other leading players will begin to think the same and be afraid once more”.
Four years ago, Tiger Woods was just about the only golfer I’d ever really heard of. I had little interest or enthusiasm for a sport I had never played or even wanted to. I had no idea that I was about to become hooked on the game and would soon be posting and blogging about it on a weekly basis. I didn’t know anything about golf, but I did know who Tiger Woods was. And that’s why his return is so important.
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During the four years in which I have graduated from beginner to addict, Tiger has played fewer competition rounds than me. In fact, I have actually won more times than he has. His last triumph was in 2013 and since then he has experienced surgery, arrest and community service. In these same years in which I have started to learn my Rorys from my Roseys and to watch and even study the world’s finest exponents of the game, Tiger’s most famous image has been a police mug shot. Until now.
Golf has never lost faith in Tiger Woods. It cannot afford to. When, as a 21-year old, he won the first of his Majors by a whopping 12-stroke margin at Augusta in 1997, the whole economy of the professional game changed overnight. A superstar had been born… perhaps golf’s only superstar. Prize funds doubled over the next four or five years and so did the television viewing figures for golf whenever the name of ‘Woods’ appeared on a weekend leaderboard. Over a decade on from the last (or should I say the most recent) of those 14 Major triumphs, the flagging golfing economy wants, maybe needs him back among the contenders.
Nicklaus, Player and Darren Clarke all won Majors in their 40’s… Tom Watson so nearly won one at the age of 59. Woods revived his winning ways just five years ago before injury ushered back his demons. He’s 42 now. Another Championship win at this stage of his career would knock every other sport out of the headlines. A 12th placed finish at the Honda Classic won’t shorten his Masters odds by much, but there was a consistency about his scoring and a steadiness about his play that augurs well for the latest ‘coming’. Tiger can’t ever do anything ‘under the radar’ (as he found out to the cost of his reputation and marriage eight years ago) but this was a much quieter comeback and more promising for that.
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As a relative newcomer to all this, I am fascinated to watch the body language of a man who once dominated his sport like no other in the history of golf. Can anything other than a return to the very pinnacle of the sport possibly satisfy him? And why put himself through the mental and (I guess) physical pain of trying to get back to where he was? Even with the exodus of sponsors following his infidelities in 2009, surely money cannot be a prime motivator? He topped the US money list in 2013.
There must be more. I have heard a lot about the raw will to win and the intimidating competitiveness of his prime years, and I can only assume there is a fire still burning and stoking his pride. Golf can be grateful for that… just as it can be grateful to his late father, Earl, for putting a golf club and not a baseball bat in his hands as a child. You get the feeling that Tiger would have excelled at whatever he turned his single mind to.
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Woods’ stats of late are impressive, especially his driving distance and putting – as seen here.
Of course, he needs to be swinging well to succeed but I think Tiger’s mind is the 15th club he needs to bring out of the bag. That fierce focus was what his opponents feared the most in his heyday. The key stage in his recovery will be the day he truly thinks he can win again because that is when the other leading players will begin to think the same and be afraid once more.
That feeling of invincibility is probably what suffered most from being outed as a cheating husband. He must have thought he could do anything until the fateful night he drove into that fire hydrant. I have a strange perspective because that is how I remember him, discovered and disgraced… the staged public apology, the gaudy confessions of the porn star and the cocktail waitress. I didn’t follow golf when he was on top of the world so I have no strong recollections of his glory days, only his fall from grace. That was the only Tiger I had heard of four years ago. But my sons and many of my new golfing friends remember the ‘great’ Tiger Woods in his pomp and are hoping he can climb back to that sporting peak. It’s a climb I’d love to see now that I can appreciate and enjoy it.
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