Settling into my comfortable chair at home last night I was looking forward with anticipation to see could Tiger finally deliver on the promise of the previous weeks good golf, live from Pebble Beach. The story that Tiger was back and ready to pick up where he left of before he reversed into a fire hydrant and set himself on fire. Here was the new and much improved Tiger ready to win again on the main tour because of the great work done with coach Sean Foley, WRONG……..
The guys I play golf with regularly know that I don’t buy into this story that he is back or that he can rediscover the past glories, ever. What Tiger, Sean Foley, CBS, Sky Sports and the rest of the golfing world fail to relise is that until Tiger calms the demons inside his head he will not become the great golfing genius we all remember and would like to have back.
Without going back to the sex crimes story from a few years ago in detail, I ask people to remember some thing that was deeply troubling and contradictory in Tigers behaviour at the time. On more than one occasion he told us he was a family man, that he craved the trappings of a solid family life. His privacy, Elin and the children were guarded in a ruthless fashion, everybody lauded this. Here was a super star sports man with strong family values. Someone for the African/American and American population to look up to and take example from, an Icon.
Meanwhile Tiger was suffering from one of the greatest failings powerful people suffer from, entitlement, I will do things because I want to and because I can. Powerful people do things because they can, they have lost their moral compass, rock stars, sports men, politicians and business men suffer from this feeling of entitlement. How did Tiger square this position with his family values? When finally confronted with the contradictory behaviour, sleeping with every women with a heartbeat, was that the behaviour of a dedicated family man? This led to his very public humiliation.
To me this has shaken Tiger to his very core, when you take away someones foundations, in Tigers case give them away, when your values and principles are removed people have serious issues. When your values and principles turn to quicksand you are in big trouble. This is the basis for a lot of behaviours which can lead to addictions, without great support and professional help the behaviours lead to all sorts of end results, Whitney Houston’s death over the weekend being one consequence.
So back to my comfortable chair and the spectacular views of the Pebble Beach coastline. Tiger V Mickelson on that golf course would have any golf fan salivating. Phil shows up, plays really well and Tiger, well he didn’t. In an straight match play he would have lost 7 and 5, annihilated, crushed, beaten out the gate. Uncharacteristic mistakes, 3 missed putts from inside 6 feet, that usually took 18 months for Tiger, not one round. When he held out from a bunker on the twelfth hole, normally a momentum builder from which Tiger would normally win, nothing……
No great Tiger surge, no fist pumping, no making what looks impossible for mere mortals on the golf course, normal for Tiger. Why, he lacks confidence in his new technique when it matters, according to the golf experts. When in reality doubt and worry, that he will never repeat past glories are now causing havoc in his head and of course this is a result of his own actions. This is not Sean Foley’s fault by the way, the swing is no longer the issue, it is Tigers past actions are the issue.
My belief is that he can’t square this in his own mind, he is still unable to comprehend that he was so stupid to have behaved as he did. Why? Why? Why would he do this? Why did he throw away the family he craved? Having suffered and studied addiction myself I have an insight, small I admit, into this area. Until Tiger gets to a place in his mind where he can accept this, be comfortable with his past, he never will reclaim the position of greatest golfer ever.
Until Tiger gets the correct help, for his inner well being, not his golf swing, he will remain lost. I wish him luck.