Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Theory on Tiger Woods

It's obviously been harder to find the time to post these days, but as an observer of current events, and as a golfer, I'd like to offer my humble opinion on the world's reigning #1 ranked golfer.   I initially posted when the news came out here, but as time has passed and the details have followed, I will refrain from commenting on the already obvious.

Some of my short and sweet thoughts are as follows:

1.  TW does not owe me an apology.  I never looked at him as my hero, nor should you.  Be your own hero, no one is perfect.  No one. 
2.  It makes you wonder if you ever really know someone.
3.  Unfortunately, I think it will come out that TW used performance enhancing drugs PEPs. 

While all the usual debate has been done, the most fundamental question to help understand TW's behavior is "why?"  What is the motive?  I truly believe that TW has never been the same since his father passed.  Tiger's whole motivation in life was to dominate a white-dominated sport as a person of color.  And this motivation came specifically from his father Earl, who molded his son into a vehicle to truly change the world.  I think the mission was accomplished, but now you see the cost.

The revelations about TW's addictions make sense.  Addiction, no matter what you are addicted to, is all about medicating the pain you feel.  For TW's addictions to become as strong as they were, that he would engage in behavior to risk the world that he "owned" is truly telling.  But if I were to put myself in TW's shoes, perhaps his purpose and sense of direction died when Earl passed.  Perhaps the pain Tiger feels is that the celebrity he has created and manufactured has reduced him to what feels like an object, a means to an end to sell product and generate dollars for everyone around him.  Any being would probably medicate themselves and engage in behavior that dulled this pain too, given that everyone around you sees you as an asset, not a person. Now that the only person Tiger actually trusted and believed, the person who created the image to "just do it," is gone.  Maybe the image and standard isn't what Tiger actually wants anymore now that he's woken up.

I also unfortunately think that it will later come out that TW used PEPs.  The use of these drugs to live up to the standard built by TW could easily drive someone to seek any advantage to maintain their status.  Where there is smoke, there's fire, and while innocent until proven, it just seems that lately there's too much smoke where a fire should be.  I think if TW is truly honest with himself given the bottom he's hit, when he faces the pain he feels, he will come forward with everything and believe me, it will be all fit the pattern.

As a final note, if you think this is that far fetched, think about what Andre Agassi has recently acknowledged.  While the parallels around their stories about their over-bearing dads are not deliberately brought up in this post, I think the actions Andre went through to conceal his disgust for the image he "was" during his heyday is no different than what has begun to unfold here.  Wearing my golf hat now, the greatest question for golf fans is this:

Do you think Tiger will be the same golfer he was when he comes back?

Maybe.  But this blogger believes that the answer is no.  The motives that drove TW to be great, to dominate a sport so completely, may be gone if he truly deals with his pain.   But he will probably be a happier person to have finally let go of the things that drove him to engage in the things he has.  And that is the reason why we should all watch and care about the outcome.

Just my humble opinion.