It was almost 3 years ago when I wrote a full post that was all about Tiger Woods. It’s not that he hasn’t offered a wealth of stories or gossip to share, but as my Mom always said…
“People who live in glass houses…”
“He/she who is without sin…”
“If you don’t have anything good to say…”
So “Mum” has been my word since that fateful Thanksgiving 2009, until now…
After watching Tiger get taken down at the Accenture Match Play by a man ready to give up golf for good (64th ranked player Thomas Bjorn) and then seeing him struggle at Doral during the first 3 rounds this weekend, I kept thinking to myself, “Eldrick, what have you done to Tiger!?”
The first 3 days at The Blue Monster were tough to watch, especially on the putting green. What was once a nice smooth stroke, rarely misread, was suddenly short and choppy, causing more misses inside 10 feet than I can remember ever seeing from golf’s miracle worker.
I wanted to see if his current 15 month slump was just a blip in the Tiger radar, so I started going through his stats starting in 1996.
Certainly there have been some ups and downs during his swing/coach changes, his dad passing away and his knee surgery. But what we might consider life changing events, only made minor dents in Tiger’s overall statistics. He still won tournaments, scored a number of top 3’s and lots of top 10s. But not this time…
Everyone said it was his mental fortitude that was his biggest strength, but after watching Tiger crash and
burn smoulder over the past 15 months, there’s little doubt in my mind that although the former world #1 may be rebuilding his swing for the 3rd time, what Eldrick needs to do is rebuild Tiger Woods from the inside out.
Back when Tiger the phenom was hitting the headlines as an amateur, Dr. Jay Brunza, a retired naval commander, sports psychologist and friend of Earl Woods, was Tiger’s mental coach and often caddie. I remember reading an article about how Brunza boasted that he was able to hypnotize Woods almost instantly.
Other stories went so far as to say that Tiger could hypnotize himself “on command”. Allegedly you could tell when he was doing it by his blinking. Hmm….
Well, I don’t know much about self-hypnosis, but anyone can see that Tiger’s game is suffering beyond hooks and slices; it’s a mental implosion that is keeping Tiger out of contention.
Today Tiger closed with a 66 and tied for 10th when McIlroy got wet off the 18th tee. The new putter seemed to help his putting too today – only 25 putts in 18 holes.
But one round of 66 does not a cure make.
You know what they say, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” And, given how impressive Tiger’s mental strength once was, then perhaps one sports psychologist isn’t enough.
Bring on experts extraordinaire: Dr. Bob Rotella, Dr Karl Morris, and Dr. Gio Valiante – I’m thinking an intervention may be in order.