Tiger Woods and I have our similarities… Yes, there are also a few differences between us. For instance, he has 14 Major titles to his name and I am yet to win one. He is sport’s first billionaire and last year paid his ex-wife an estimated $110 million in a divorce settlement after a string of extra-marital affairs came to light. I haven’t achieved/screwed up on such a significant scale to this point.
But, let’s not look past the unusual acreage of common ground we do share. For a start he has two children under the age of five… so do I. He has a recurring leg injury that is detrimentally affecting his golf game… I have an arthritic ankle which I’m pretty sure is making my putts lip out. He has a fiery temper on the golf course – spitting, swearing, club throwing, not talking to his playing partners etc… Uncanny! I’ve done all those things. He has a difficult relationship with the media… I work in the media. Need I go on?
Anyway, the latest parallel between the former World Number 1 and me came to my mind at 3am this morning while I was in the kitchen preparing a Lemsip (As Tiger will attest, two children under five equals permanent illness.) Woods took a four-month break from golf after crashing into a fire hydrant and being forced to fess up to various off-course indiscretions. I have taken a four-month break from writing this blog.
Boringly, my reasons for stepping back have not been sex related. I’ve just been too busy: co-writing a book with my Golf Monthly colleague Neil as well as plotting various other ventures that may or may not ever see the light of day.
Draining the sickly sweet throat medicine as the first hint of morning lightened the sky outside my kitchen window, I had an epiphany, “I’ve missed writing my blog.” I know it’s self-centred and my fan-base is a little smaller than Tiger’s – Hi again Dave. Dave? Are you still there Dave? But it is rather therapeutic and careful analysis of howdidido suggests that I tend to play better when I’m writing more consistently about my game.
My best season came in 2007 when I very nearly got down to scratch. Looking back through my files, that was also the year I wrote most extensively on this website. It was also the season just after my first daughter was born, so the “nappy factor” could have had something to do with it.
I think the nappy factor must only apply for a first child. I did definitely play better just after Flora was born as I put golf into perspective – totally unimportant in comparison to a new baby. I played with a more relaxed approach and my scores tumbled.
But after Beatrice was born, things were a little different, let’s call it the “dirty nappy factor.” Jessie (wife) did pretty much everything to look after Flora through her first couple of years. I appeared every so often to give her a cuddle or read her a book. But, a second child really requires a second pair of hands… My hands!
It has helped me to put golf into perspective – totally essential as a few hours escape from the mayhem. It’s been the saviour of my sanity. As such, however, I’ve put too much pressure on my games and my scores have climbed due to my tense approach.
So, this season I plan to release some of that tension on the page. I’m going to write more and hopefully will figure out some things about my game and my mental state as a result. God, re-reading that sentence this might not be such a good idea!
Anyway there’s a weekday Medal on this afternoon and I’m going to give it a bash. I’ll report back asap.
Where next? Fergus reports back