There is reason Tiger Woods did not only win the Masters this year. It's the same reason Woods did not win the Grand Slam this year.
In an article a few days after the conclusion of the USPGA Championship, AP writer Doug Ferguson ask the question: 'Imagine how different it might have been for Tiger Woods if not for one perfect shot.'
Ferguson talks about Woods not winning any majors this year, and he line up four defining shots, made by Adam Scott (winner of the Masters), Justin Rose (winner of the US Open), Phil Mickelson (winner of the Open Championship) and Jason Dufner (winner of the USPGA Championship), that had them winning their majors this year.
And then it comes.
'The defining moment in another major-less season for Woods was his wedge on the 15th hole in the second round of the Masters. It hit the pin and shattered his calm', says Ferguson.
According to Ferguson, it follows, had Woods not gotten that 2-shot penalty for an illegal drop, the american would probably have won the Masters. And then he would probably had won the three other majors of the season out of shear confidence . Easy peasy. So, in hindsight, this was probably the year Woods would have done what he and nobody else in golf history, except for Bobby Jones, has been able to do since Mary Queen of Scots hit balls with a stick around Leith in the 1560's?
'None of this can be proved, of course', Ferguson quips, but tries to do just that in the next sentence. '[Woods] did have an elbow injury that kept him out of two tournaments this summer. And it's impossible to say what's going on inside someone's head, especially a golfer, and especially someone like Woods.'
Ferguson's conclusion is more or less that the Masters incidence this year ruined Tigers 'inner peace', as Woods was in the zone in March, taking titles (ordinary PGA Tour titles that other players win too, even though they don't win majors), but after Masters Tiger lost it.
Ferguson talks about a player with an inconsistent swing, no short game, an ice cold putter and a confidence the size of a dimple. This player would have done something in this years majors he could not do in 2000, when he played the golf of his life, or any other year since 1997, had he not hit a flag post in the Masters this April.
Vast quantities of intelligent writing about golf went out the window in 1997 when Woods won the Masters. Since then relevant writing about golf has been a rarity on so many levels. The funny thing, however, is that during Tigers break, golf reporters actually had to relate to the real world and golf reporting suddenly got interesting again. And it became relevant. The golf world had to relate to what happened and interpret it for what it was. analyse it for what it was. No 'what if's' or idiotic explanations on why this guy won and that guy didn't.
Courses were quiet too. No morons shouting. Actual golf fans had gotten their sport back. And tour golfers started playing the game they actually have in them, but reporters and commentators can't see or don't dare credit too much. Golf did good without Tiger. Even in the middle of a financial crisis the sport held its own with prize money still going up. The tournaments that crashed, did not do so because of Tiger Woods.
When Tiger came back more viewers returned in front of the TV set. All the people who don't know golf from Adam, but loves to bask in the glory of Tigers triumph was back. So was the morons at the golf tournaments. The "Get in the hole!!!" chant between fans was even broaden to "Mashed potato!!!" along with Tiger spitting on the greens again, while glooming out under his TW basketball cap and his not too golfer-like ensemble topped by his new street looking golf shoes. Also back is the stupid reporting on why Tiger Woods is not winning majors anymore.
What they fail to see, however, is the fact that everybody has gotten better, and nobody fear Tiger Woods any more. They respect him, but they don't fear him anymore. Tigers problem is, that he does not have his own 'respect' any more. Tiger used to thrive on the fuel of others respect, including his team of Las Vegas basketball posse. He used to fly on the fact that he thought he was God and could do what he wanted. It's not a uncommon fact that some people function better when they can be self centered a-holes while doing their thing. Tiger was a hard boiled winning machine, as long as he could walk all over who he wanted, flipping the verbal bird to the press, banging cheap ho's, patronizing other players and getting his way on all counts. In return, he did nothing for the fans or the tour. In fact, the tour was their because of him and the fans should be honored they could watch him play at all. No autographs no funny stuff, that the other players contribute with for the fans. The little nerd from college's revenge.
These days things are different. Tiger has to fit in now. He's not doing too well, either on the fitting-in part, or the part of (nearly) performing under the same restrictions of all other golfers. The fact is, Tiger is not that smart. He's crafty - and some might see that as a trade - but he's not intelligent and on a cultural level he has a very limited knowledge, spending most of his time watching basketball and playing TV games. A man that cannot put the world in perspective from an intellectual standpoint will very quickly get in trouble when his comfort zone of illusions are broken down. For a golfer that will canalize out into hes game, and that's why Tiger Woods is not winning majors, but just take titles in old safe tournaments on courses he can play in his sleep. Pressure this guy a little bit and he will vaporize in front of you, and that, Mr Ferguson, is just what Tiger Woods has done the last fire years.
Will Tiger major problems go on i 2014? If Tiger can grow u,p and grow as a human being, there might be a chance it won't. Until then, he can win all those pre-major tournaments he can muster and do whatever he can in a major. It won't matter.
None of this can be proved, of course, Mr. Ferguson, but don't you think this theory is as good as yours?
image: © Keith Allison