A Tiger Hater Comes Clean
By klangdon on 8/11/06
It's important that you know before you read the rest of this, that I am not a fan in any way of Tiger Woods. I didn't like him when he was an amateur and I don't like him now that he has been a pro for ten years. I don't like him as a player and I don't care for him as a person. I think he has a poor attitude towards the media and fans and I think he lacks a certain amount of class that the game of golf deserves. I say this, because I want you to understand that I am not one of those guys that you hear on television every Sunday making more out of Tiger Woods than what really he is.

It takes a lot for Tiger to impress me. A LOT! When someone you don't like does something impressive or positive you always find a way to discount it in someway and still be bitter. That's how I am with Tiger when he succeeds. But his win last week at the Bridgestone Invitational just left me shaking my head.

No matter how you feel about Tiger, even his biggest haters, like myself, just can not deny his talent. Let's just stop for a second and talk about what he has accomplished in just his last four starts. First, he wins the British Open without a driver. He cut that course apart and played like an absolute machine all week hitting the ball exactly where he wanted with almost every swing he took. But British Open golf has always been his strength and it's a different kind of golf. Not impressed! Next up was the
Alright Tiger, I don't like you, but now you've got my attention.
Buick Open. Again, Tiger plays solid golf all week and shoots 4 straight 66's to win easily. But that's his sponsor's tournament, so he's supposed to win! It was probably rigged, so again, I'm not impressed. Ok, the next major is the last of the year, the PGA Championship. Tiger not only wins, he wins by five strokes! That's not all; he breaks the record for lowest 72 holes in that major by not one, not two, but by SEVEN strokes! By the way, that was his record he was breaking. On top of all that, he comments to the media that he found a flaw in his putting stroke while watching highlights of his third round 65 and the correction helped him make some huge putts Sunday. Hello!! You just shot 65! Where's the flaw??

Alright Tiger, I don't like you, but now you've got my attention. Two straight majors and three wins in a row is not too shabby. But Tiger wasn't done. Those three wins didn't impress me nearly as much as his fourth win in a row coming last week at the Bridgestone.

Did you watch the tournament? I watched almost the entire coverage. You want to know why I watched so much? I watched because Tiger wasn't playing well and I had been waiting for two months to see that! Even the Tiger-loving media was commenting on how much he was struggling. He was all over the place, literally! He finished his second round Friday by hitting a ball over the clubhouse roof. That's right, over the roof! That sure makes everyone who's ever taken out someone's window or hit someone's car feel a lot better about his or her game! It's very satisfying watching the best in the world hit shots like that. The best part was, it didn't stop all week long. He kept hitting bad shot after bad shot. But guess what, when it all was said and done, Tiger won his fourth in a row. He didn't grind out a top five finish playing with his C and D game all week. He grinded out another win playing with his C and D game. I just sat there in amazement Sunday as I watched the final round.

I'm sitting on my couch thinking to myself, "how the heck is this guy even on the leader board playing like this." Next thing I know, he's on the 14th tee with a three shot lead! You got to be kidding me. Tiger was playing so poorly that he managed to squander his lead to Stewart Cink. His poor play continued from the final round into a playoff. Tiger made a bogey on the third playoff hole after saving par on the first two holes, yet somehow, he was still alive with a chance to win the tournament. And low and behold, on the fourth hole he makes a textbook birdie to win. Meanwhile, I'm picking my jaw up off the floor because I just cannot believe that he won a tournament playing like that. Even Tiger couldn't believe it. In his press conference afterwards, he looked like he had just shot an 86 and lost by 20 strokes. He made several comments about how much he struggled all week and how inconsistent he was. But the whole time, that big old trophy is sitting right beside him.

That's what Tiger does. He wins. He doesn't care about second place. He cares about winning. He is so confident in his ability that even when he hits a ball over a roof, in the trees, or into the thickest rough ever, he knows he can save himself from there. And then he steps up and does it. He hits that one great shot that he needs exactly when he needs it. It's amazing, but that's what he does time and time again. The Bridgestone Invitational was a perfect example of that hole after hole. But Tiger has an edge that has nothing to do with his profound athletic ability or his incredible focus. He has an edge that no other player on tour has.

Tiger watches nobody, and everybody watches Tiger.
As my buddy puts it, Tiger watches nobody, and everybody watches Tiger. Stewart Cink had three straight chances to beat Tiger and win the tournament and he couldn't take advantage of them. It's the Tiger factor. He makes every other player on tour feel like they have to play better than their best to beat him. We know what happens when you push too much in your own game, you play worse. I believe that is exactly what happens to Tiger's opponents Sunday after Sunday. They just don't believe they can beat him and he knows that he's going to beat them. Remember, golf is 90% mental and the other 10% is in your head.

So, as much as I can not stand Tiger, I would like to take my hat off to him and his streak of wins. After watching him manufacture a win last week when he was playing poorly all week, I have to give credit where credit is due. I gave him no chance in the world to win that tournament, yet somehow, he got it done. He found a way to win with the game that he had on that given day, and it wasn't his best. That is the lesson that us amateurs can learn from this. You play with what you have. You don't try to change your game on the course; you do that on the range. Tiger didn't fix his game all week long, but he found a way to win with it. Most pros would have struggled to even make the cut if they were hitting it as inconsistently as Tiger was all week, much less win. But he isn't most pros. He's Tiger, and he's reminded the golf world why his domination could very well last another 10 years. So, although I don't like you, here's to you Mr. Woods- you're in a league of your own.

[ comments ]
sspeck says:
since Tiger is trying to be so calculated about his return to golf - why not have some of his mistresses just happen to "show up" at the Masters - guess he would have a difficult time running from them on his own stage!!!
[ post comment ]
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