Friday, May 13
‘Tiger Is Down, But Is He Out?’
(Video: Part 1 of a 2006 “60 Minutes” interview with Ed Bradley. Remember this guy?)
I GOT AN EMAIL from a friend today who asked the question: “Tiger is down, but is he out?”
It’s a great question. Perhaps the question. How would you answer it?
If only Tiger had stayed home this week. A hobbling nine holes, an ugly 42 and another WD at the Players. What does it all mean? The speculation is endless.
Tiger is down, no doubt. Maybe we won’t see him for a long while. But is he out? I don’t think so. At least not as in finished. Yes, the road back looks a lot longer. There are so many physical and mental issues that apparently need to be addressed. It’s like Tiger is lost in the tall pines to the right of the 11th fairway at Augusta National, a place he’s visited all too often. Will he play a brilliant recovery or will he scuff it? Will he ever get back to the fairway?
That guy talking to Ed Bradley, above, is gone. I’ll call him old Tiger. We last caught a glimpse of him at Torrey Pines in 2008. I’m convinced we’ll never see him again. If you watch and listen to him, I think you’ll agree. He sounds and looks nothing like the new Tiger.
The world belonged to old Tiger, but since that Ed Bradley interview it has been one huge loss after another: first the death of his father Earl, then his physical sturdiness (knee problems), then Y.E. Yang, then his wife, then his image and aura, and then, inevitably, his swagger, his game and his confidence.
Much of the last five years, especially the last two, has been about devastating loss for Tiger, both on and off the golf course.
This new Tiger is clearly not as good as the old Tiger, and never will be. No one has ever been as good as that guy. But can he be good enough to win again on the PGA Tour, win majors and chase Jack Nicklaus?
There’s no strong evidence right now to suggest that he can. If Tiger’s legs can carry him, I think it will come down to what’s inside him, that intense competitive fire. If he still has that, then he has a shot. I think it’s still in there.
−The Armchair Golfer