Alan writes, “Given that Tiger has taken four green jackets with three different golf swings, one more reinvention is not inconceivable. Can he reclaim his destiny and break Nicklaus's record of 18 major championships? That quest seems incidental in the face of the question that still festers: What happened?”
The simple answer is there is no simple answer but there are some clues. Starting with did he still have the desire?
Tired of being Tiger Woods
Alan writes, “In 2006 and '07, Woods talked more and more about becoming a SEAL, and Haney became so exasperated by what he felt was an unhealthy obsession that one day in 2007, while they practiced in a bunker at Isleworth, he played his trump card: "Are you out of your mind? What about Nicklaus's record? Don't you care about that?"
"No," Woods replied. "I'm satisfied with what I've done in my career."
Looking back, Haney now says, "That was a big wow. I finally understood he really doesn't give a s---. It was obvious in the way his work ethic fell off and in his attitude on the course that he had lost a lot of his desire. On some level he was just tired of being Tiger Woods."
Alan also comments on how Tiger’s father predicted his son would win 14 majors and some would say it became a self-fulfilling prophecy but also begs the question why not target at least 18 to match Jack Nicklaus?
2009/2010 – The turning point?
Alan Shipnuck quotes Jason Gore. "At tournaments he would look at you and burn a hole right through you, like you didn't even exist. He did that to me all the time, and I've known him probably longer than anybody on Tour."
Alan continues, “After the scandal Gore could sense that Woods felt a strong need for connection: "He realized there's more going on in this world than birdies and bogeys. He started asking about my wife, asking about my kids. It was nice to see him be, you know, normal."
As to a specific point in time where Tiger began to lose it, Alan comments on how Tiger was “Y.E. Yang'd”. Referring to Tiger’s 2019 loss which would turn the tide.
Toppling the Tiger
Ross Starkey covers this momentous moment very well when he writes, “The year 2009 is as important in golf as Lex Luther’s discovery of the effects of kryptonite was on Superman. It was the year YE Yang broke Tiger.
As the rest of the world, realised Tiger Woods wasn’t unbeatable, it set in motion a chain of events that, six years later, golf is still coming to terms with.
YE Yang didn’t just become the first Asian man to win a major championship, he also became the first person to topple a 54 hole Tiger Woods lead in a major championship.
On that Sunday at Hazeltine in the 2009 US PGA Championship, Yang out-Tigered Tiger. Never before had we seen Woods play as timid as he did during the final round. Never before had we seen a player so unfazed by the prospect of going head to head with Woods and never before had we seen a player play more like Woods than Woods.”
Spieth - Shades of Nick Faldo
Given that it’s been written that it was while watching the Masters Sir Nick decided to start playing golf and likewise Jordan Spieth. Alan writes, “When Jordan Spieth was 11, one shot changed his life, but it wasn't one he struck. Back then Spieth was a pitcher with a filthy curveball and a shooting guard who could fill up a stat sheet. "I was just starting to pick golf as my No. 1 sport and fall in love with it," Spieth says. "That really cemented it."
Here’s the link to Alan Shipnuck and Ross Starkey
Quote of the Day
“My failures have made me look at myself in a way I've never wanted to before.” – Tiger Woods