My latest Sympatico column went live this afternoon:
How the mighty have fallen.
When he returned to golf at the Masters in 2010 after five months away from the game, many thought Tiger Woods would struggle for a bit before finding his form. Perhaps the ramifications of his sex scandal and eventual divorce would hinder his legendary focus, but in time most thought he’d once again be golf’s most dominant player.
How do we reconcile those thoughts with the state of Tiger Woods today? Winless since November, 2009, he withdrew after only nine holes at last week’s Players Championship after shooting 42, citing injuries to his reconstructed knee and Achilles tendon. And in another indignity to his once bullet-proof career, Woods will fall out of the Top 10 golfers in the world this coming week, a position he’s held since his incredible first Masters win in 1997. That’s 736 weeks among the best golfers in the world, if you’re counting, almost 100 weeks longer than the next closest, which is Greg Norman.
With his struggles, the vultures have come out. Once it seemed certain that he’d eclipse Jack Nicklaus’ record of 14 majors. After all, he only needs four to match the Golden Bear, but at the age of 35, and with his personal troubles now matched by physical woes, that record might be safer than anyone previously expected.
The blame game is in full swing. Some pin Woods’ problems on a psyche damaged by the media attention given to his dalliances with porn stars and waitresses. Others suggest the physical damage to his knee might be the key to his problems. It isn’t the first time many have questioned whether Woods’ all-out swing was built for longevity. Still some pundits see Canadian swing coach Sean Foley as the scapegoat, and fail to understand why one would rebuild a golf swing that won six majors under much-maligned instructor Hank Haney.
The full column is here. (Link is fixed)