Saturday, 6 December 2014

Tiger Woods: Paralysis by Analysis

Is it just me, or has Tiger Woods just left the building. Whoever showed up for the first two days at Isleworth looks like Tiger Woods, but surely it's just a brilliant disguise. This imposter chips like a twenty handicapper and can't make a putt to save his life. It just can't be the real Tiger Woods.

I have listened to the talking heads and assorted experts on the golf swing from the Golfchannel droning on ad nauseum about the swing changes he's trying to make and how he hasn't played for so long and how it's a long walk from the practice tee to the first tee and all the other excuses for his abysmal play. But let's be real. Tiger has played this course hundreds of times. He was a plus ten on this course and now he's dead last in the field?!

It has nothing to do with his back injury. If his back wasn't suitably healed, he wouldn't be playing, and besides, injuries didn't used to stop Tiger. I seem to remember him winning a US Open on one leg. It's got nothing to do with rust. He's been hitting balls in preparation for this event, and Steve Stricker was injured and hasn't played in just as long as Tiger. He isn't flubbing chips like a duffer out there.

There are two reasons why we are looking at someone who just looks like TW out there. One: he's suffering from paralysis by analysis. He is so caught up in the mechanics of his golf swing he isn't playing golf. Two: he's lost his confidence with the three most important clubs in the bag, the driver, the putter, and now, it seems, the wedge.

Actually there are other reasons for Tiger's decline, but the first two are the important ones. He just isn't the guy he was in 2000, and injuries have little or nothing to do with it. There are lots of guys with bad backs, knees, wrists, necks, etc., who are finding a way to put a score on the board. Tiger just needs to forget about his swing and start playing golf again. He needs to follow Bobby Jones' advice and learn by playing. He needs to stop working at it or on it and start getting into playing the game again.

I've suffered from paralysis by analysis myself. It's no fun. The only way around it is to get off the range and go play. Stop working at it. It's a game. Play it. Compete. Seriously, Tiger, do you really need a teacher? Did Picasso? Did Rembrandt? You were an artist with a golf ball. You were the best. Go play. Go paint beautiful pictures on the course. Have some fun.