Just another entitled athlete, say some. I don’t agree. Yes, Tiger has it all, fame, fortune, major titles, endorsements the list goes on and on. He’s missing one very important thing these days. He lost his secret weapon, his father, Earl Woods on over 11 years ago. Earl Dennison Woods was a US Army infantry officer who served two tours of duty in Vietnam, and retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was a college-level baseball player and writer, and most importantly he was Tiger’s foundation, his confidant, his rock.
His rise through the amateur ranks of golf is the stuff legends are made of. He’s one of if not the most mentally tough golfer of all time. As Earl Woods said in the 2008 US Open Nike commercial, you don’t instill anything into a child, you encourage the development of it.” He’s mentally tough and always has been. He would purposely try to distract his son while as a point of building his mental capacity to a point where there would be no equal in the game of golf. But somewhere between his late father’s illness and subsequent death and today, Tiger lost his mental edge.
Since his death in 2006, Tiger has struggled personally and professionally. He’s tried to find others to fill the void made Earl Woods left his life. He’s tried coaches, caddies, workout gurus, the list goes on and on and all met with the same fate, he fired them when they choose to try and help him with something besides his game.
Black Friday 2007 was the first derailment, revelations that all was not perfect in Tiger’s world. A low speed accident at his home due to a fight with his wife Elin over text messages from a mistress, sending his personal and professional life into a downward spiral. A sex addiction scandal that lead to his first golf hiatus and his eventual divorce. A scandal so far reaching is has done irreparable harm to his brand causing him to lose valuable endorsements and more importantly the respect of his fans, friends and family.
As he began his return to form on the links, we all thought the worst was behind him, that he’d found his way and he was ready to be the Tiger we’d seen so many times on Sunday in the final group. Alas that was not to be, while his golf game rebounded with 5 tournament victories in 2013 including The Players Championship and PGA Player of the Year honors, his physical condition continued to deteriorate.
In 2014 his back injuries began, now after four back surgeries and multiple other injuries, has he become addicted to the pain killers that make his life bearable? It’s been reported by several news outlets that weeks before his Memorial Day arrest for DUI, Tiger had trouble physically standing for more than ten minutes at a time. A pain I hope to never endure. While the loss of his father has nothing to do with his body breaking down after countless, violent swings, the nature of his off the course actions certainly are.
I along with all golf fans hope this is the bottom for Tiger and that he finds his way back to form. His reign at the top of the golf world was legendary, what he’s done for the sport in terms of reach and audience can not be compared. Golf needs Tiger Woods as much as Tiger Woods needs competitive. Here’s hoping that Tiger can get himself well both mentally and physically, that he can find his way back to competitive golf for the good of himself