Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Moving On

As bad as things are, it can always be worse.

Golf is having a bit of an identity crisis right now. When Tiger Woods came along if there was ever a doubt prior then - at that time the world of golf embraced the long ball to great exclusion. The ball has gotten out of control, at least coupled with the modern driver. At any rate Golf has become very closely equivalent to Men's Professional golf (which it definitely is not) and Men's Professional Golf sadly has become Tiger Woods - or at least tied all of its future to Mr. Woods. Orthopedically speaking Mr. Woods is nearing the end of his career as we have know it to date. He is a man and men have limitations. As Clint Eastwood in Character of Dirty Harry Callaghan once said "A man has got to know his limitations". I've often called this the Clint Eastwood school of golf instruction but it applies to a great many things.

As an Orthopaedic Consultant and former surgeon I can tell you that there is little in a 35-year old world class athlete that needs the sort of "rest" that we seem to constantly hear that he needs. And oh yes, "pain" is irrelevant to all of this. This is the man of the "broken leg", never forget that. Somehow we are to accept these two irreconcilable positions. The Golf World collectively holds its breath every time Mr. Woods is about to speak. This time we are told that he will not be competing in the Open Championship, no surprise as he had reportedly not hit a ball through last week save with a putter. There's much more afoot, but no one is asking Mr. Woods “What will happen when inevitably you do NOT reach the proverbial 100%?" His knee is indeed crocked and there is no role for a knee replacement for those of you unaware what those words actually mean. Tiger then gives us the line that Jack was competitive at 46, but Jack continuously played in nearly 40 years of Major Tournament Golf. Age is meaningless. (Had JWN just played in one major in 2006, he would have played at least one major per each of 50 years!) Herein lays a fact of life Tiger has to come to grips with, that is that no matter what sort of will we have, we have to deal with reality testing and Tiger must come to grips with the fact that he cannot and will not reach the 100% he is loftily seeking.

There was so much inconsistency in his press conference in Pennsylvania last Tuesday at Aronimink; it appears that damage control preparation may be prefacing his non-return but if that were the case then he would be reality testing. Why any further surprise today? From last week - how can one reconcile three "Intense" 60 minute works-out daily for explosiveness to return yet nothing but a putter is in use to date? WE should all reject this notion from the outset, it is just another in a long line of posturing. The mantra of continuing to make progress is a transparent lie to those who have worked with athletes. Most likely suspect is that there is not a swing that has yet to work with the limitations imposed by that knee. There has not yet been found a swing with which Tiger can go forward as he did in the past, he must adjust or go away.

No matter what, it is time for golf to wean from the teat of Tiger Woods. It's been a good run, but golf is bigger than professional golf and that part of the game that is not Professional Men's Golf is just fine. We tend to forget that and get focused on the men's pro game far too much; it is a game of the common man and woman. It has been very fine before and will go forward without him as well.
You heard it here first, If Tiger cannot find a swing that works with his knee, it's maybe completely over. It's certainly over as it was at the turn of the century. I am not a man to listen to B.S. on my own time, I listen to it for a living.

Now get out and play golf.


Dan King said...

Golf is hardly fine. It takes too long, costs too much and is in a quest to make a inherently unfair game fair. Before long we are going to be nostalgic for six hour golf rounds. Some of the blame can be laid at the men's professional tours, but the USGA and R&A deserve much of the blame for their complete lack of concern for the destruction of golf.

Regarding Tiger, I was a big fan early on, but I'm not going to miss him much if he never plays again.

the redanman said...


Nice to hear from you, I don't often enough and even better this week of the Open, 12 years after we were in Carnoustie.

I of all people cannot deny that golf is too slow, but That wasn't the point of this bit. It clearly costs too much and it has become much more a game of haves and have-nots with no middle ground again in America to be sure. Visitors extreme tariffs in Australia are way out of line, but golf needs to move post-Tiger to even begin to address some of these issues. Known for his slow play, slow-playing competitors and also severely polarizing the groups of golf via money ($25MM design fees!) we need to shed Tiger to move on. thanks for weighing in.