Reflecting on a Toothless Tiger

As Tiger Woods makes yet another shining appearance at the PGA Championship today following yet another dramatic injury that forced him to quit last week, I want to tackle him and say: “Enough, Tiger. Go home and give it a rest. You don’t have to do this. You don’t have to catch Jack.”

I'm a bit teed off at Tiger Woods. He’s pushing Tiger Woods too much, as if he were channeling Captain Ahab. I love his past and his future, but his present? Enough already. He may do fine for a day or two, but I don't think his PGA Championship is going to go well. I hope I’m wrong, but I think I'm right.

I want to watch this final major of 2014 and relax into the excitement of the deep-and-dazzling field or Rory, Scott, Rickie, Rose, Bubba, Oosthuizen, Sergio, Kaymer and even Phil. I don’t want to tense up in wait of yet another train wreck. It’s not my cup of tea to see a great champion limping to the parking lot — when he shouldn’t even be playing.

Tiger’s Greek Tragedy

Even if he escapes injury, it’s almost as bad to be a part of this Tiger Greek tragedy of playing miserably, looking miserably alone and missing the cut once again. Or worse, to see him solemnly soldiering on through the weekend to a polite applause from an ever-dwindling gallery, the few fans too tired to follow the crush of Sunday’s contenders but who still want to be able to say that they once saw a toothless Tiger.

The excitement at the PGA is that, unlike a few years ago, this major has the rising stars to be dramatic without relying on Tiger’s drama. But the coverage, at least initially, it is going to be on Tiger, hoping that heavenly intervention will rescue his come-back-to-earth game, that he’ll finally spread his wings and fly with his form of old. He won’t. And we’ll be forced to watch yet another subpar performance that will fan yet another speculative fire about what's going to happen with Tiger Woods. I hope I’m wrong, but I think I’m right.

Let It Go

I don't want to watch that. Or rather, I have watched that too many times. Let Tiger work out whatever he has to work out, and let the rest of us watch the play, not the tragedy. And Tiger, let it go, man. I dare say let go of the old Tiger Woods. Let go of being No. 1. Reinvent yourself. Come back not as a better Tiger — that’s impossible and ego-driven — but as a guy truly humbled by injury and life and who is now unburdened of the past and revved up by reinvention. Wouldn’t that be cool to watch, Tiger as a Tim Clark-type, a savvy, somehow-get-it-done competitor who can hurt you not with his driver but with the rest of his game?

Or if that’s too much of a reinvention, come back content being usually the shortest hitter in the threesome, with a solid-but-not-spectacular drive that sets up wicked wedge shots and punishing putts. Because your drives these days just aren’t spectacular and are hurting only you. Heck, had you had a reliable driver in the last six years, you would no longer be chasing Jack.

“Letting go of catching Jack is the only way you’ll catch Jack.”

Let it go, Tiger, even let go of catching Jack. Letting go of catching Jack is the only way you’ll catch Jack. That’s the only reason you’re at the PGA this week, to get closer to Jack’s record of 18 majors. OK, but catching Jack distracts you from being Tiger. You’re getting a lot of attention for it, but it’s not working and it reveals a blind spot you have about needing to be in the spotlight. I hope I’m wrong, but I think I'm right. Try going more to the shadows to find solitude and truth.

The Quest and the Ego

Let it go, Tiger. Take time off and find the Tiger of today and of tomorrow. Sure, we all want the Tiger of old, but we all have to let that go. Ain’t gonna happen. You should never have come to the PGA. I can see giving it a try in the previous weeks to see how the back would do and the new swing would do. They haven’t done well, and they won’t. So shut it down. Give it a rest. Your Quest and ego are driving the bus, and it’s on the wrong road.

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