Friday, December 2, 2011

A Day With Tiger

  In October I had the pleasure of working a Tiger Woods Foundation clinic for Nike and consequently was able to meet Tiger for the first time after years of following him at tournaments.  While the picture that undoubtedly means far more to me than Tiger was the highlight of my day there were a few enlightening things that arose from his clinic.

Now this was no ordinary clinic.  Not only was it Tiger Woods, but it was a question and answer session with only a handful of shots hit.  I actually found this far more intriguing than a clinic focusing on the golf swing.  His demeanor and focus even during the handful of shots taken proved a few things to me:

1) He's back.  Tiger is always going to lose a drive here and there, and by lose a drive I mean 30-40 yards off line.  That's been constant throughout his career and even the best have weaknesses.  But his iron game is far superior than anything else out there right now and according to him, it doesn't hurt.  When asked what kind of trajectory he was looking for with his new swing he striped an 8 iron within feet of his target with a low but piercing dart and replied, "Something like that."

2) He's confident with his putter again.  Some analysts were thinking about a possible switch for Tiger to a long putter.  Those analysts not only were unrealistically harsh on his putting, which admittedly was not his best the past few years, but also didn't know Tiger at all.  When asked his thoughts on the long putter he stated his firm belief that they should be outlawed and claimed he had discussed possible Rules language with the R & A.  If he did, it didn't come through in the 2012 Rules changes.

3) He's focused on winning.  Coming close doesn't matter, championships do.  This was evident at his excitement to meet fellow volunteers helping with the event from the Division II National Championship squad at CSU Monterey Bay.  Sure he mentioned his intention to win again, but his attitude toward "fellow champions" and his emphasis on how important winning is spoke volumes about his attitude toward 2012 (or at that time the President's Cup, Aussie Open and the Chevron going on now).

That day in October was one of the best golf days I've had in recent months with my motivation in the industry waning and it led me to one overpowering prediction:  Tiger wins the Masters in 2012.  You heard it here on FarbTalk first.

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