Ever since he walked on the Mike Douglas show as a two-year old, Tiger Woods has been known as one thing, an amazing golfer.
As news (and the mugshot)spread about Tiger’s DUI arrest early Monday morning, I immediately had two thoughts.
One: Tiger, what were you thinking? Getting behind the wheel in that condition is a horrible decision that endangers people’s lives, including your own.
Two: Does Tiger even realize who and what he is anymore?
I believe that is the root of the issue here. As mentioned earlier, Tiger has been a golf prodigy almost since berth. He was the “can’t miss” star who actually exceeded expectations. Easily the greatest player of his generation. So good he really never had a true rival.
Tiger wasn’t just a golfer. He WAS golf.
And now that golf is gone, thanks to injuries and his own decisions, so is Tiger’s purpose.
Sure, Tiger has his foundation and many successful business ventures. However, all of that came from golf. The game and his greatness fueled the engine that created Tiger Woods, Inc.
Woods dominance also created an unbelievably high standard which he would always be measured by- his own.
We’re looking at a guy that has won 14 majors and 79 PGA Tour events, yet now in some ways seems like a failure. That’s unfair, but fans were expecting Tiger to finish with 20 something majors and 100 plus PGA Tour victories.
That’s how good he was.
I’m not sure what the answer is for Tiger. He’s trying to get healthy again, trying to be a single dad, and run his foundation. Most importantly, is getting the help he needs to get straightened out. It’s been a bumpy road for Tiger since he ran his SUV (and his life) into a tree back in 2009.
What’s happened since has been an embarrassing parade of mistresses, apologies, injuries, and now, the arrest.
Tiger has created most of this himself. It’s unfortunate now that some people will think of his mugshot before they remember the fist pumps after big shots.
Jack Nicklaus is the most accomplished golfer of all-time, but nobody ever played the game at a higher level than Tiger. He destroyed fields in the majors and set a new standard.
Unfortunately, lowering his personal standards has cost Tiger a bunch.
I think it’s because he’s having a difficult time dealing with who he isn’t now- a golfer. The game is gone. The competition is gone. In other words, Tiger’s identity is gone.
And it’s a lot more difficult to repair a reputation than it is a golf swing.