Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Woods Gambles His Future For Open Trophy. Worth It?

Do you think Tim Finchem is saying quietly to himself, "He played with what?". Yup, the franchise played 91 holes at full speed and walked 21 miles with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a double stress fracture of the tibia. Is that considered brave? Nope, it means he has a high tolerance for pain. With that threshold, might as well finish the year. Why stop now? Have the surgery after the Fedex Cup.

There's no question Mr. Woods ignored the good advice of some of the top doctors in their field. I'll bet that his doctors are so good they have to treat themselves. There's none better. If Woods was an NFL quarterback the diagnosis would have shut him down for the year. Because the team would care for his well being? No, to protect the franchise. Because he has another 10 to 12 years or more to rack up major trophies. If Woods was a superstar in a team sport he'd have been shelved and operated on last summer when he tore the ACL. And no, they wouldn't have asked his opinion. Which begs the question, why didn't he have the ACL fixed right after last years Fedex Cup? He might have rehabbed and made the US Open. Golf's an individual sport and he owes us no answers. He can play or not play whenever he chooses. Still, the timing of all this fails to make sense.

It can't be about money. Even if Tiger pulled a Daly and started getting his mail at a Vegas casino, money wouldn't be an issue. No, its about ego. A large ego is somewhat necessary to achieve unknown heights in a solitary sport. Big ego convinces you that you can defy the laws of physics and biology by willing them away. Don't confuse self confidence with ego though. Too much ego is what allows us to make short term decisions that are in our interests alone. My guess is that Woods wanted to play in this year's Masters and that mind set carried over to the US Open in a ridiculous manner. Watching all of this unfold is like when I was a kid and watched Evel Knievel jump 20 school buses or some other death defying stunt. Were they great achievements? Well, yes, they were Herculean. Was it a dumb thing to do? Well, of course. Tiger just jumped 20 school buses. Fun to watch. Really dumb thing to do.

Can't you just see Tim Finchem at the operating room door saying, "Are you sure you went to the Duke University Medical School?"

Til' next,


  1. I, too, originally thought it was a dumb move, but now am reconsidering. First of all, it's Tiger who doesn't fit any kind of mold. Plus, he knew he was going to have the ACL surgery and be out nine months any way. Why not play the U.S. Open at Torrey, a course he loves? It's a dumb move if it has done some sort of worse or permanent damage to his leg, but many say he'll be able to come back strong. Time will tell.

  2. Yeah, I'm not sure exactly how to figure him out. My biggest question was if the ACL occurred last summer, why not fix it right at the end of the season, perhaps make the Masters, but definitely make the US Open. Plus, be ready for 3 majors in '08 rather than 2.

  3. You don’t become a champion without wanting to go out there and play competitively. I can imagine many situations where one would risk/hide a few injuries just to play in their high school team to hear their friends cheer them on.

    Here we are talking about a man whose life probably feels empty if he is not playing at the highest level and more importantly at the top of his game. He might make the choice of opting out of a few tournaments a year but if someone else was to tell him that he “cannot” play, his competitive ego/urge would refuse to accept that. No wonder then that once he had set his mind on returning for the U.S. Open he was bound to play, irrespective of how his knee was, he was going to will it to play. That is why he rated that win as perhaps his very best.

    Unfortunately he has now taken the decision to stay away for nearly a year and that is disturbing in itself. I don’t care about how Tiger is feeling but golf just isn’t fun without Tiger in the field.

    Just can’t wait for him to get back into the fold.

  4. True, I understand his fire for competition. It just seems that upon learning of the severity of the injury, he was risking more permanent damage. Had he fixed the ACL last summer, when it happened, he'd have recovered for the US Open and he'd being playing now.

    Regardless, hindsight is 20/20. Or at least 20/40.