Tiger Woods shot a very solid 2 under par round yesterday at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, and for me it was good to see him out playing well. Most importantly though is that you could see the return of his own personal confidence. He was loose, his shoulders were square and he seemed to handle the misfortunes of the round better than in the past 18 months.
Why all of a sudden? He had been wailing around the links since his life went haywire, his knee was still hurting him and inside he still felt the pressure to face the world with his former facade. Yet, fortune turned for him when caddie Steve Williams, Tiger’s long time partner in golf, asked if he could tend Adam Scott’s bag for awhile. Tiger agreed and then soon the relationship was gone. Tiger moved on, Williams had some unflattering remarks, Tiger didn’t comment on the remarks and that was it.
Like a relationship where one person in the couple says “I think we need to see other people”, when Williams left to caddie for Adam Scott, it was a clear scene of Tiger knocking at the door and saying “it is over”. Brutal heartbreak for a young teenage girl, and it appears brutal for Williams who then lashed out when the news broke, but for Tiger it was the final nail in the coffin of his past.
As good as friends as they were, and probably will be again, everytime Tiger looked at him, he was presiciently reminded of his past. When Williams would say, “I think it is a six iron here”, Tiger heard something else. Anyone who has been in a relationship gone sour knows this is true. For Tiger, it was closure.
Speculation about what has transpired in Tiger’s life since he last won has run the gamut on the internet, but what most have not thought about is the havoc it wrought on Tiger and his family. In the golf world, it has all been about him not playing well, his swing coach change, the putter not working, etc., but what was at play was Tiger trying to decide if he could go on with those in his life who were around before the fall. Hank Haney was the first casualty and now Steve Williams is the last.
A couple of months ago, I finally heard a commentator on the Golf Channel say what I have believed from the start. It had nothing to do with Tiger’s game, it was all internal.
Everyone in his immediate circle got hit with fragments from that grenade that went off and all of them will bear the scars, but Tiger is the only one we are waiting to see heal and return to form.
It appears that is in the works-Tiger is driving the ball in the fairway again and yesterday ground out a nice round with some good putts. Watch out PGA Tour.