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Posted by Jason on Thursday, July 21, 2011

Missed Cuts and Cut Caddies

The recent news that Stevie Williams, longtime caddy and friend of Tiger Woods, was kicked off the bag got me thinking about what this could mean for the rest of Tiger's career. As the saga continues to unfold, more and more people - the media especially - add their two cents to the equation as if they have a cure-all for a guy they obviously don't know as well as they thought.

Why even waste your time analyzing the situation?

I realize Tiger is as polarizing a figure as there is in golf and probably any other sport, for that matter, but none of us know what's best for the guy. Before he hit the fire hydrant (metaphorically AND literally), Tiger Woods knew how to win golf tournaments better than any of his peers, both past and present. He would will himself to do amazing things. That mental ability doesn't just go away, not when you think about yourself as highly as Tiger does. Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't feel bad for the guy. He made the bed he's lying in, and right now, the mattress has springs sticking out all over the place.  But I think he'll fix it.

I find it funny that the media rips on him and tries to spin the Steve Williams story to make Tiger seem like an even bigger villian than he has already been made out to be. The fact of the matter is that the people ripping on him for wiping the slate clean from Elin to Hank to IMG Consulting (though Mark Steinberg is still his agent) are the same media members that said maybe he should just start anew from top to bottom. The same people who said (and I'm paraphrasing here) "Let the guy surround himself with new people and let him have the opportunity to make new decisions, or at least surround himself with people that will guide him better than those in the past did."  Believe it or not, the guy is still allowed to think for himself and make a few desicions even though he made a few bad ones in the past. Maybe surrounding himself with some new people will be the fresh start he needs.

Like I said before, I think he will come back and I think he will at least reach Jack's mark of 18 majors. The ability to perform at a high level has sometimes escaped the great ones, but they never lose it altogether. Johnny Miller talks about it in his recent interview with The Golf Channel's David Feherty on the Irishman's new show, "Missed Cuts." Miller talks about great athletes having second careers after they have a period in which they don't perform well. He claimed his game left him and Jack's did as well. Tom Watson may be the most recent case of a player who has found some new life... He just found it later than most. Miller also talked about how every great fighter's career ends but they then have just enough in the tank for one last great fight. Think Jack in '86.  Think Ali v. Foreman.  Think Jordan beating Utah.

To say that Tiger's done would just go against conventional wisdom. I think it's clear his first career is over but as Miller said, maybe his second one is right around the corner. It may not be as flashy or as intense as his first and likely won't be as dominant (the media has also been shoving this down our throats everytime they discuss his playing future). What isn't talked about is that his second career doesn't need to be as good. If he can win three more majors over the next 10 years, he would have had a pretty good 'second career' and a total of 17 majors.  Then like any great, he should have one last great fight in him. Maybe that would all be too much of a storybook ending for a guy who many feel doesn't deserve to experience such a great ending.

Before everyone writes him out of their stories, stop and ask...

Who has written every chapter of Tiger's story so far?

Who is going to write the last couple chapters?

How do you think he wants the story to end?

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