Never in professional golf has a score of 82 been so historic, unless you are Tiger Woods.
The former world No.1 (now fallen to 62 overall) shot this gargantuan score two weeks ago at the Waste Management Open in Phoenix Arizona. Shooting the worst score in his professional career resulted in a missed cut for Woods, something that has occurred very often since his return back to golf after indefinitely, leaving the sport for rehab and injuries.
Woods withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines due to back tightness on Feb. 5.
Woods was able to make it through 11 holes, shooting two over par before his back gave out.
Even though Woods pleads that his back was only tight because of the weather delay, resulting in is withdrawal, people are wondering whether they are witnessing the end of the Woods era in golf. [pullquote align=”center”]Woods can physically come back, but will he really ever be back?[/pullquote]
Recently Woods made a statement on his web site that he would take a leave of absence from the sport that almost revolves around his presence.
“The last two weeks have been very disappointing to me, especially Torrey, because I never want to withdraw. Unfortunately, lately injuries have made that happen too often,” Woods wrote. “Right now, I need a lot of work on my game, and to still spend time with the people that are important to me. My play, and scores, are not acceptable for tournament golf. Like I’ve said, I enter a tournament to compete at the highest level, and when I think I’m ready, I’ll be back.”
Woods can physically come back but will he really ever be back?
At his panicle, Woods seemed to be more machine than man when it came to play on the course. Showing little emotion and that “eye of the tiger” (literally).
These days when you watch Woods you see more grimaces, scattered bleeping at the tee box, and a fair share of club throwing. Similar to the behavior of weekend warriors who cannot figure out why their game is not getting any better without any practice.
Is this really the end of Tiger Woods? I think so, and there are many reasons why a man who could not be stopped has finally been brought to a sudden halt.
Golf is a game that is not only played with the body but the mind also.
Woods seemed to have grasped the concept of a trained mind when it came to his golf game in the early part of his career. Woods pulled off shots that people could only recreate in video games. His demeanor and laser focus could not be compared too.
Not only was he sound psychologically when he made mistakes, but his sheer presence alone made the best of golfers fold when paired with him.
Wood’s last major win came in the 2008 U.S. Open when he defied all odds by winning the tournament virtually on one leg.
Shortly thereafter Wood’s psyche would be altered with the scandalous activities he partook in off the course behind his wife’s back. This led to a divorce and rehab for Wood’s in an attempt to clear his image.
At that point in time, Wood’s psychological game ceased to exist as his image and life were torn down because of his outlandish actions.
The second factor to Wood’s current problem is his ever changing swing and revolving door of swing coaches.
Each swing coach has a different philosophy for why they would like their student to swing. For Wood’s this could have easily been an overload of information.
Butch Harmon, Wood’s first swing (from 1993-2004) coach created the early legacy of “Tiger Woods”. His emphasis on accuracy and distance control were what made Woods so deadly in his early years on tour. Woods won eight of this 14 majors under Harmon.
As the old saying goes “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it?” could have easily applied to Woods. As of this season Woods will be on his fourth swing coach in two decades.
Jack Nicklaus, the man who holds the coveted 18 major PGA tour wins, never changed swing coaches in his career. Perhaps Woods would have his record and more if he stuck with the same philosophy.
Finally, the most obvious reason Woods will not reach Nicklaus’s 18 majors is the nagging injuries to his back.
The golf swing is not a natural motion by any means and for Woods’ violent swing, it seems to be only making things worse.
Many do not know that Woods bulked up in the early 2000’s because of military workouts he trains himself with. These high intensity workouts leave to question whether they contributed to his back problems.
Some rumor that steroids could be a factor to not only Woods’ bulking up but the quick deterioration of his body.
Speculations aside it truly is a shame to see a prodigy come so close to fulfilling what most believed to be his “destiny”, but only coming within striking distance of the actual goal.
With all of the scandal in the sports world today Woods’ legacy will be just another “what if” story.
Mike Murphy is a second-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at MM802071@wcupa.edu