The only thing that Tiger and I have in common is that we are both right-handed. In every other respect we are extraordinarily dissimilar. For one thing, he is absolutely meticulous in his preparation whereas I, frankly, can?t be bothered. For example, I no longer have wood covers or a thingy to slip over my putter when I?ve eventually holed out. Why? Because I lost them and can?t be fagged to replace them.
Tiger, on the other hand, leaves nothing on the last green, in the changing room or to chance. For example, Tiger never gets wet the way I got wet last month when it started tipping it down on the back nine during the May midweek Stableford. My waterproofs? Ah yes, they were still hanging in the airing cupboard after the March medal. They should be dry now and, provided that I can remember, will be crushed back into my bag some time soon.
Although I recognise that it?s pure jealousy on my part and that I should be thoroughly ashamed of myself, I must confess to deriving a considerable dollop of pleasure from the fact that, for once, the great Tiger appears to have messed up. I refer, of course, to Elin?s pregnancy and the imminent birth of their first child, close to the Open Championship.
What is particularly surprising to me is that, amongst his army of coaches, dieticians, personal trainers, swing gurus, financial advisers, PR consultants and miscellaneous experts, there was no family planner on hand. Not only does it threaten to mess things up, this time, but it also lumbers Tiger with the distraction of his son?s/daughter?s birthday every Open from now on.
But does it really matter if he?s rocking the baby instead of racking up birdies? Although for some the idea of an Open without Tiger is like the Eurovision Song Contest without Terry Wogan, a Big Mac without french fries or Colin Montgomerie without a scowl, to me it?s a rather appealing prospect.
Frankly, I?m rather weary of the “cananyonecatchtiger” scenario. Far too many recent Majors have developed into weary processions or dull duels for the rapidly forgotten runner?s-up slot. Without Tiger?s intimidating presence, many players will enjoy a whiff of true glory that they rarely sniff these days. Lifting the Claret Jug just means another point on the scoreboard for the world?s number one whereas it?s the fulfilment of a lifelong dream for the rest of the field.
Looking further ahead, many of his fellow professionals will be hoping that the birth of a cub will not only rule Tiger out this time but will prompt a seismic shift in his ambitions that will relegate accumulating Majors below tucking the children up in bed on his revised list of priorities. On the other hand, with another mouth to feed, he may grow even hungrier. Grrrrrrrrrrrr!