Tiger’s comeback

Viet Nam News

By Robert Bicknell

OK, so Tiger’s first comeback event is behind him and while he did show post an impressive 65 in the second round and posted more birdies than anyone else in the field (24), he also posted 8 bogeys and six double bogeys. Therefore, I think it would be premature to declare his comeback as a success just yet, especially when he finished 15th out of 17 players.

Of course, if you read some of the gushing reviews in many of the golf magazines, his return was a resounding success. They do that because its much easier for them to earn a living by writing anything which includes Tiger Woods. If they posted an article about Tiger shopping for socks at Kmart, it would be cover material and the writer would eat for a week.

Tiger makes their life easier.

While I am notoriously difficult to please and a born nitpicker, I will admit that there were a few things I saw which gave me some hope for his future…

First of all, he kicked the NIKE putter to the curb and stuck his trusty Scotty Cameron back in the bag. It was fun watching him drop in some bombs with confidence again.

Secondly, his irons were crisper and less forced. He didn’t look like he was trying to hit 200 yard wedges anymore. This is a good sign, perhaps maturity, or forced upon him by his numerous back surgeries. In either case, it was a welcome change and will allow him to play longer without injury.

The driver was a little different and not just that he had the TaylorMade M1 cooking instead of that Nike garbage, but the swing was a lot different as well. When he was working out with his last coach (whose name temporarily escapes me because I had such little respect or regard for him… ah yes, Sean Foley), he was doing so many convoluted moves I was surprised he lasted as long as he did. I’m even more surprised he didn’t end up in a wheelchair with the unnecessary compression he was putting on his lower spine. If Tiger had stuck with Butch Harmon or even Hank “He wouldn’t give me a popsicle” Haney, he might have avoided the back surgeries.

I’m not saying Foley caused Tiger to injure his back, but then again, I’m not saying he didn’t either…

His new stance is a bit more vertical than before and he has more hip rotation than before. This is a good thing and helps protect his back. He needs to remember he’s not 20-years old anymore.

I think once he gets the rust off his game and rebuilds his stamina, he might be in contention more often. I still don’t think he will catch Nicklaus in regards to major wins, but at least he will be out there on the Tour and generating some excitement.

For those reading and wondering if I am becoming “pro-Tiger Woods”, forget it. I’m still a doubting Thomas.

However, I am happy whenever someone who suffered an injury makes a successful comeback. I think he should be given a chance to prove himself and, if he can, get back on a winning track. But the question is, if he gets on top again, will he eventually slip back into his bad habits which cost him everything before?

I am hoping that was a one-time thing where his fame went to his head and he felt untouchable. As we all know, he wasn’t and got knocked off his pedestal so hard the last time something landed that hard it wiped out the dinosaurs.

Golf is all about taking responsibility for one’s own actions.

He has had a long time to think about everything and make whatever amends he needed to do and hopefully changed his moral character as well. If he did that and got back to winning, he would have my respect as well. But I will wait and see.

Tiger, the player, was easy to respect. Tiger, the person, wasn’t. Being a champion is a lot more than just collecting trophies and paychecks. It means setting an example for younger kids to emulate.

Tiger Woods, the player, is in the history books. Now we need to see if Tiger Woods, the person, earns a place as well.

We shall see…VNS

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