Monday, August 9, 2010
The Existential Golfing "Why?"
I'll say this. I almost feel sorry for him now. Almost.
Tiger Woods is in a world of hurt. That much is apparent if you look at his face. The eyes give it away. The eyes always do. They are the window to the soul.
Tiger, has a troubled soul.
Here, look at the following series of pictures. These are the eyes of man who is more than just unhappy with being "18 over par, when my handicap is supposed to be zero."
These are sad, sad eyes. You can see the sadness right through the action shots of him hitting his shots.
Pundits are scrambling to explain why a guy who has been Secretariat on a course like Firestone, could finish essentially DFL this past weekend, and look horrible while doing it.
The short and easy answer, is the one Tiger gave himself following Sunday's slapfest 77. "It's been a long year.... a very long year."
We know what he's saying, even though he won't say it.
But is that all it is? Is a pending 6-figure-plus divorce and shared custody of his two small children enough to render golf's Superman into Clark from accounting with a 5 handicap?
I say, no way. The problem runs deeper. Tiger has lost his "why?"
You know, as in "why" am I playing this stupid game. The existential "why?" The very same nuclear question I myself have grappled with as a golfer, and maybe you have too.
Think about it. "Why" does Tiger play golf? Before, the answers were straightforward and clear.
a. He's great at it.
b. He loves to dominate.
c. He's climbing Mt. Nicklaus
d. He loves making money.
e. He's doing it for the kids.
f. He can be married to a blonde hottie.
g. He can get lots of side action.
Now, every one of those reasons has been either totaled, or at least severely dented.
a. He's no longer so good at it.
b. His peers no longer fear him.
c. The summit of Mt. Nicklaus is shrouded in fierce storms.
d. It will take years to earn back all the money he's about to surrender.
e. His kids may end up not liking him very much.
f. The blonde wife is gone.
g. How are you going to get the same kind of side action now?
So if you ask me, I'm sorta impressed Tiger can even break 80 right now on a tough course. If you were in such a deep fog of "what am I doing, and why am I here" how would you handle it?
I think the enormity and finality of what Tiger did to his own world, has finally come crashing down upon him. For the first part of this golf season, he was able to suppress that.
Thud. It's here. It's real. It's not going away. He's just gonna have to deal with it.
Somehow, Tiger Woods is going to have to come to peace with who he is now - and there are redeeming qualities beneath the churlish veneer - and who he wants to be going forward.
He has to find a new, and compelling "why" for playing this game at the highest of levels.
He'll also have to summon off of his legendary will, determination, and focus to get those last four majors in the ten years between now and age 45.
Here's a shocking photo I bet you thought you'd never see! Tiger Woods, teeing off on Sunday on the first tee, before a "friends and family" sized gallery.
Also, CBS had a nice montage of just how all-over-the-place El Tigre was on Sunday. Let's see if the copyright department shoots this one out of the internet sky or not.