With Tiger’s recent withdrawal from the TPC, many question what it means for Tiger, both short term and long term. Where exactly is his career going? Will he now be able to catch and pass Jack in the major title hunt. Is his domination of the game really over at this point? What a difference a year or so can make. I’ve got some thoughts on this one as you can imagine, so if you’re interested, please read on……
First of all, I think it is going to be tough for Tiger to break Jack’s record on major victories. Why you say? He still has plenty of shots left. Yes, you are right about that. But right now, I think that Tiger’s game is starting to come around but he still has two key things working against him. One is that he still doesn’t have the laser focus that once made him almost unbeatable (more on that in a minute). Two, he has some health issues he has to overcome and, unfortunately, one of them has to do with his knee. And given the way that Tiger swings a golf club, that is not good news.
But I believe he will eventually get himself back to 100% healthy. It just takes longer at 35 than it did at 25. Which is why I don’t think he will make it, time is just against him at this point.
The mental part of it, I believe, is the more daunting part of his golf challenge for Tiger. If Tiger has really changed and is trying to build and keep relationships with his children and ultimately will remarry, it will be tough to have the focus he had in the past. I used to marvel at how such an ultra successful athlete could be so focused and driven as Tiger was. Well now I don’t wonder any more. He was so focused because everything else didn’t matter to him. I’m not saying that you can’t be a world class professional golfer (or athlete in any sport) if you have family and aren’t an egomaniac, self centered, totally indulgent type person. But I do believe that Tiger’s focus and total belief in his invincibility (which I would think are attached to those other unflattering terms I just used) made him the dominant golfer in the world that he once was.
Now many of you out there may disagree with me on this and that’s ok. But I believe that Tiger will be better off and golf will as well if he doesn’t get to that level again. And could he break Jack’s record without that level of focus? Sure he could, but I just think it’s unlikely given where he stands, his age, current health, etc.
So even if Tiger doesn’t break Jack’s record, I believe he will win again. And will be recognized as one of the greatest golfers to have played the game. But if he discovers a life outside of golf while he is doing that, I believe he will be happier in the long term with both his life and his career. So I don’t think his career is shot, it just is heading in a slightly different direction…..maybe that is.