I really don't do this very often, but I was thinking about Tiger Woods. If you are a fan of golf you've probably read about Tiger parting ways with his caddie Steve Williams. Depending on what source you read it sounds like going their separate ways wasn't exactly a mutual decision.
The gist of what I got out of it was, Steve was asked to caddie for someone else...he asked Tiger, Tiger and his people said "okay", but maybe weren't really excited about it...Tiger's still on the DL so Steve is asked again...this time he doesn't ask he just caddies...well, seems like the Tiger camp was miffed about it, throwing words out like "loyalty" and pretty soon Williams can decide whatever he wants because he doesn't have to worry about being on TW's bag anymore.
Now don't worry, I'm not going to get all "Golf is Just Like Life" on you, (but I could!)...what has struck me lately is how much buffers and folks running interference in life must be the things that allow a person to be successful at golf.
I watch golf week after week and see player after player going along and then, seemingly out of no where the wheels start to get loose - sometimes they can wobble in, but other times is just a crash and burn situation. In his hey day (and it seems so strange to talk about TW in the past tense), the guy seemed to have so many wheels that even if half of them fell off he was still going to cruise to victory.
Of course he went through some bumpy patches but it didn't take long to smooth things out and then have the need to find more trophy space. Then "it" happened at Thanksgiving and ever since we've sort of been watching this soap opera of sorts, not sure whether we're watching the last episode or not.
In the past year we've talked about I don't know how many "he's the next Tiger" - just off the top of my head... Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and the latest, Rory McIlroy....and I think we can even throw in Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Luke Donald. But so far, none of these guys have done anything like TW in any certain span of time. I can attest to this because I keep picking these guys on my fantasy golf teams and they are doing NOTHING for me!! (except for Matt, of course!)
My conclusion on this is that life must get in the way of golf, even for the best players in the world. I mean something must cause them to all of a sudden be pushing all of their drives right or pulling all of their irons left. People talked about Tiger's steely eyes and almost creepy concentration (okay, maybe I just think it was creepy). He had a found a way to lock out all of the chaos and then it could be all about golf. He was a winner, but at what cost?
I don't think it's that way for many other people - maybe it's because they don't have the right "people" to make all the stress and chaos go away, or maybe they don't want to. I'm guessing life has to be a little harder and maybe a little lonelier when you block every thing and every one out for the sake of success.
What sparked this you might ask? Well, I've been seeing chaos infiltrating my life for the past few months now...I'll admit I've let it in, but in some ways it's felt like I haven't had a choice in it. The chaos has kept me off the golf course more than want, and I've seen it in my game. Just tonight, I had 4 pop up drives - what would normally be an autopilot swing for me just isn't there - thankfully I was able to focus and wobble in with a few decent drives, but it wasn't the same.
The golf course is where I escape life, but this year, so far, it hasn't been able to fend off the chaos...so can you imagine what it must be like to be a professional golfer with family obligations, sponsor obligations, not to mention needing to make a living on a pure golf swing?
As I think back on Tiger's life and how insulated he must had to have made himself to be as successful as he was could now be the very thing that is now his unraveling. Sure he has injuries, but I've got to believe, even if he was completely healthy, there are just too many cracks in the mortar to keep him shielded from, well...life.
I learned awhile ago that golf, for many professional golfers is just a job. They have a talent, they can make money, and that's about it. It's not about the passion, the character building, or the life lessons...it's about doing it for the sake of doing it. That revelation really impacted me...I've have spent my life thinking these are the luckiest guys in the world to be professional golfers and they just see it as a grind week after week...I know this may sound weird but it felt like a slap in the face to golf to me!
So even though I said I wouldn't do it, I'm going to (sorry Sam!)...just like life, we get out of golf what we decide to put into it - and tonight I was reminded that golf is just too dang important to me to allow chaos to jump on my cart. That's not to say I can erase all of the outside forces that might impact my concentration or patience, but I know I have the power to choose to enjoy the time at my happy place.
I wonder if Tiger will ever feel that way again...believe it or not, I hope so.
Filed under: Golf, Cathy Erickson, life