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Friday, 3 April 2015

Does Tiger Have Commitment Issues?

It seems, at least with respect to the Masters, Tiger has some commitment issues. The end result is that we have been inundated with articles speculating, ad nauseum, about whether Tiger will tee it up at Augusta. Even I find myself unable to resist adding my two cents worth. The answer to whether he will play would actually seem to be no brainer. Of course Tiger will tee it up. What has he got to lose?

That answer is, of course, not really a no brainer if you happen to be Tiger Woods. Tiger has, from day one, been a winner. Second place, or just making the cut, isn't going to do it for him. He is programmed to win. He has, at least until his troubles, been the man to beat every time he teed it up. He expected to win. We expected him to win, and, for a long time, he delivered, making seemingly every putt he had to make. 

He didn't win every week, but he rarely disappointed. Then some relatively unknown Korean took him down in the PGA championship, when Tiger entered the final round with, what must have been regarded as, an impregnable lead. Then, as if to add insult to injury, his wife tried to take him down with a three iron, and Tiger was suddenly someone to snigger about, rather than to hold in awe. He was suddenly human. We knew it, and more importantly, he knew it.

Tiger now, more than a few years on, finds himself actually worrying about embarrassing himself. His confidence is gone. And, in this game, at least at the top level, confidence is just about everything. Now, Tiger isn't worried about whether he can win at Augusta. He's worried about the possibility of missing the cut, or shooting eighty two. Tiger is suddenly in the same position most of the rest of us are in when we tee it up. He just doesn't know.

He doesn't know whether he'll ever win another major. He's not judging things on whether his game is good enough to win. Now he just wants to be competitive. With that mindset, he'll never be the champion he was. Tiger is human. It ain't no crime. He's got plenty of company. It's just how do you learn to live with being just human when you were a golfing god? Only Tiger can answer that question.

Hopefully, Tiger will come to terms with, what seems to be, the fact that his days of dominating the golf world are over. Other giants of the game have done it. It is just the way of the world. There may be a few more wins in store for Tiger. He might just get his nineteen majors. But first, he just has to deal with his commitment issues. Go ahead, Tiger, commit. Put it all out there. Give it a shot. If you fail, it ain't no crime. After all, you're only human, and being human isn't such a bad thing. In fact, it can be a damned good thing once you get used to it.