I guess the plan was that a Special Forces/Navy Seal body would propel him to new heights while reducing the risk of injury despite the fact that his swing was remarkable more for its violence than for its elegance. I suspect I am not the only one to wonder whether the transformation from lean-and-wiry to muscle-bound was facilitated by supplements or even chemicals. In any event, the result is now on full display: Tiger Woods now has a body that is dragging him down, not elevating him. He reminds one of a pro football player who can no longer find the means to stay on the field for an entire season, and it is not going to get any better.
I also suspect I am not the only one to find it a bit of a relief that I have to spend less and less time stifling my instinctive response to the personal side of the Woods phenomenon: disgust and revulsion over the spectacle of an athlete so totally self-absorbed, so irritatingly disrespectful of his opponents, so surly with any reporter who might dare to ask a question he deemed either unintelligent or unfawning, so short-tempered and foul-mouthed, so clearly impatient with anything in the world other than his own place in it. I cannot be the only one relieved from having to consider the man’s personal life – or double-life. I am glad I will probably not have to spend any more time watching the pro golf establishment figure out obsequious ways to bend the Rules of Golf in order to excuse Woods’s real or feigned ignorance of them.
Sure, I will also miss the occasional thrills. While there were remarkably few occasions when he actually came from behind, when he rallied to victory, there were ample displays of awesome, front-running superiority, and there was the remarkable one-legged U.S. Open victory. There was also the remarkable consistency: his most un-breakable record is almost certainly his record of making 142 consecutive cuts. Much of the drama was the result of Woods’s self-conscious theatricality, but a big part of it was the sheer excellence of the performance, the near-predictability of his making the big putt. But now, all that is left is an unremarkable (and unreliable) Sean Foley 1.0 golf swing, a game that disappears in the majors, the emergence of an injury whenever things start to unravel, and a nasty personality with which we are now all too familiar.
Thanks for the memories, but at this point, if I want to watch unqualified hubris I’d rather watch Patrick Reed, and if I want to see a top golfer who conducts himself with modesty and good humor, I’d prefer Phil Mickelson – who endures a far more serious physical infirmity than Tiger’s and has won two more majors than Tiger since 2009.