Thursday, April 30, 2015

Golf Caught Up With Tiger

The Masters came and went over the weekend. The golf world was swept up in a tournament packed with big names on the leaderboard on the weekend and a 21 year old setting records daily. After a two month break, Tiger Woods played at Augusta National and performed admirably for a rusty guy. One more major slipped by though with him not winning. That Jack Nicklaus record of 18 majors looks tougher to crack since 2008, which was when Tiger last won a major. It is going to get tougher for Tiger and better for golf, but the thing is golf has caught up with Tiger.

Tiger last won a major in June of 2008, which coincidentally was the last major before the PGA tour started drug testing. Sure, Tiger was connected to Canadian PED guru Dr. Galea, has had a series of tendon, ligament and knee injuries, and saw his body weight shift on his 6'1" frame from 175 to 220 to 180, but no one says he did steroids? Sports fans recall sports writers insinuating plenty about players like Nomar Garciaparra who added muscle, lost in and then had tendon and ligament injuries, but Tiger remains untouched. Besides the possibility of Tiger not using the juice anymore, the game itself has changed in ways that remove his former advantages. He is not the oddball who comes in doing things no one else is doing, but instead is one of the many and now 15 years older.

Tiger training hard with weights makes sense from an athletics part, but for the world of golf, was a bit odd for 1997. It is hard to think of it now with how technical many athletes and amateur fitness enthusiasts have become, but even in the late '90s, sports media churned out articles on baseball players starting to lift regularly and using creatine by the truckload. Michael Jordan was secretive about his weight lifting regimen so others would not know, and he would retain an edge. That was in the early '90s. Tiger was playing a game where it was laughable about the physical effort, and the old man's game often had middle aged and even 30 year old professionals who looked soft. It was a skill sport. People looked at the Casey Martin case, and many saw Casey's side because "Golf, heh, like they exert themselves." When Tiger burst onto the scene, he was playing guys like Davis Love III and a young Phil Mickleson who did not look like they had touched a weight in years. Look around golf today. Many of the younger guys now have what appears to be muscle on their frames. They look like regular athletes, not golfers, but also not 'roided up NFL players. Even Phil Mickelson looks more fit than he was 30. If it allows for them an extra 10-15 yards on their drives, Tiger's famous drives from 1997, are no longer ahead of the pack. They all have better endurance to power through Sunday.

Another item, that I have mentioned about Tiger is along the lines of the hyperfocused sports parent becoming more widespread now. The guys who make it professionally are genetically blessed in many ways, but it also comes down to practice and time invested. Leaning on an old New York media canard, saying Keyshawn Johnson was athletically gifted and Wayne Chrebet was a hard worker denigrated both the hard work Johnson put into his craft and the genetic gifsts that Chrebet had. Tiger's own success actually encouraged this odd parental investment, as people saw how Papa Woods was abusing molding a little golfer at 2. People forgot the misery of Todd Marinovich, and focused on the one in a million success of Woods. Do some of these younger golfers have stories like Woods now where mom and dad encouraged, invested resources in and made the sport a job for little John? Maybe, but a 25 year old playing today was a first grader when Woods was splashing onto the scene. A 21 year old might have been in diapers when Woods won his first Masters.

This is the golf world that Tiger plays in now. It is not a staid sport that had little shake ups in approach for years, and Tiger walks in as a 21 year old physical phenom. Tiger is now a 40 year old that looks at his competition and sees many younger men, all working out, who are not afraid of the possible 300 yard Tiger drive (if he can anymore) because they can unleash one as well. This is great for golf fans whether they like Tiger or not. For Tiger haters, the twilight of Tiger's career will be full of him throwing clubs, swearing and stomping around frustrated. For those neutral like me, the sport will see a new wave of well rounded players, and hopefully because more of them are taking advantage of new sport science, the majors will be more competitive. For fans of Tiger, he will win another major. When it happens, it won't be a boring Tiger wins by 10 over a overwhelmed field. He will have to claw, fight and beat back the hungry youngsters who have what it takes to win.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tiger probably did steroids. However, his decline is more attributable to injuries, skill wise his decline has been pretty exaggerated. If he didn't get incredibly unlucky hitting the flagstick at 15, he had a really, really good chance of winning the Masters in 2013. There'd be a totally different narrative then.

You do correctly point out that the renewed interest he pumped into the sport in 1997 is coming back to bite him, he bred a ton of little wannabe Tigers who are shooting up leaderboards, Rory, Spieth, and probably many others we haven't heard from... yet.

peterike said...

For starters, Tiger isn't accused much of steroids because he has Melanin Enhanced Protective Skin Teflon. It's the same reason the Williams sisters -- blatant juicers if ever there were any -- are untouched. You just don't point out bad black behavior if you can avoid it (though jerks like Barry Bonds will draw the ire even of black-fetish Jewish sports writers).

Way back in the 70s when I was more into sports than I am now, I used to wonder how a golfer could win "Athlete of the Year" from Sports Illustrated. I would think, "How are they athletes?" They take a long, slow walk around a big field trying to hit a little white ball with a light weight stick, and the ball isn't even moving! You know the drill.

I suppose now I have more respect for the skill involved, though even with the pumped up big guns players of today, I still don't see golf as much of an "athletic" achievement. The ball still doesn't move, and the clubs are lighter than ever.

As for Woods, I really don't care about golf nor about Woods, but I'm glad to see the downfall of a half-black who was always tooling around with beautiful white women. I hope he ends up broke and crack-addled, but I suppose that's too much to ask. He's got his Asian time-orientation working for him after all, though he also has that black impulsiveness, as per his multiple affairs.

Portlander said...

I hope he ends up broke and crack-addled, but I suppose that's too much to ask. He's got his Asian time-orientation working for him after all, though he also has that black impulsiveness, as per his multiple affairs.

Now who's a troll? Woods made it to Stanford you may recall, that takes more than future time orientation. As for multiple affairs, oh yes now I remember, Clinton, Edwards, Hart, Strauss-Kahn, Goldsmith... all of 'em half blacks!

I am totally on board calling out the steroids and melanin-teflon SPF, but red-neck bigotry is annoying.

PA said...

Clinton, Edwards, Hart

Our own bad boys is the stuff of ribald jokes and vicarious thrill.

Alien bad boys (such as they are in this case) are offensive poachers.

Let go of the universalist morality, Portlander. It's preen-payoff among our kind is falling down the cliff of diminishing returns these days. And in the unlikely case that you are sincere, the Colored don't reciprocate in that game.

peterike said...

Portlander, I couldn't care less if Woods wanted to play around with a thousand black girls. But his type never do, because nobody wants black girls.

PA's use of "offensive poacher" is precisely the right term.

And as far as Clinton goes, he was hardly married to the class of beauty that Woods was married to! Woods was fooling around with women significantly less attractive than his own wife. Talk about trolling.

Peter Blood said...

Lolz on getting lectured by a Portlander about bigotry. You can look it up: even Portland has an MLK Blvd to help whites know where not to go.

Portlander said...

There's a difference between wanting fair-play for whites and what's best for our ourselves, our children, and our country, and a red-neck bigot.

While they share common goals, the latter sound annoying as hell. In fact, so much so, the latter are usually trotted out to discredit the former via classic bad company fallacies. But hey whatever, it's the Interwebz. Knock yourselves out.

PA said...

Portlander, there is also another thing: honor. A normal man is not pleased about aliens toying with his women. This is not a redneck thing. This is a human universal.

Suburban_elk said...

I have an opinion about Woods, but first in regard to the disagreement here, "bigot" is a loaded word. It is basically "racist" except that it has not been drained of its lead and still packs a punch. In my opinion it is a meaningless and stupid word, in the same way that racist was for about 25 years until the race realists won the argument.

At this point, using the word bigot is just like, huh?

Any reasonable and realistic person is going to have mixed feelings in all this non-sense. For instance, i am a nice guy but am tired of blacks and sometimes i hate them and think of them as naggers. Ultimately, fuck them. Does that make me a bigot. If so, whatever. The reality is that the races will conflict, and feelings get involved, and anyone who does not have some turpitude in their feelings and opinions about things is a) either dull as dirt, or b) sheltered as a school girl.

Suburban_elk said...

Tiger Woods was at a treatment center for sex addiction. This was at the time of his big personal problem to-do with his wife, five years ago or so. Whether he was there in good faith, or in order to placate some authorities or to put on a good face, or a little of each. Also he had the lasik as a kid, and apparently it was a big boost for his game. And then with the steroids. So is that three strikes?

Personal problems, such as sex addiction, are a cause for sympathy - in a sympathetic character. Woods was not much of one, but when he was a winner he was the man. When he came on everyone loved to say how it showed how blacks are the best athletes and they would have always dominated every sport given the chance. Woods and the Williams sisters.

It seems to me that the major races are remarkably evenly matched, in athletic talent. The best measure of athletic talent, ultimately, has to be fighting, and in those sports there are strong champions from all three of the major races. In a sport like golf that favors precision and feel and hand-eye, and some brains, blacks are not going to do as well. Woods is the exception.

It is storybook, how he is not able to come back, after his breakdown. That makes him more human, and more of a failure. If he can muster a break for the brass ring, it will be the stuff of legend, but he seems unable to do it.

Woods is such a good example of questions of mixed-race people, and where they fit in and who they are. He was one of the greatest athletes of his era, and now is resented somewhat. What other golfers have to say about him might be interesting.

What is his storybook ending. He was going to be the greatest of all time but not now. He is still second best, and that is pretty great, but a real champion finishes strong, and maybe that is not unrelated to his racial background. It is one data point, but it is topical to the themes here.

Portlander said...

You guys are missing my point.

When you cast aspersions on someone based on their race (ie. black impulsiveness, as per his multiple affairs), when it is obviously not unique to their race (ie. Clinton, Edwards, Hart...), you sound like an ignorant, double-standard waiving, hypocrite; which is to say a red-neck bigot; which is to say annoying.

Be prejudiced all you want. I'm from the industrial mid-west, I know the score, but for pete's sake don't sound like a dumb-ass doing it.

peterike said...

"Tiger Woods was at a treatment center for sex addiction."

There is no such thing as "sex addiction." It's a made-up thing.

peterike said...

When you cast aspersions on someone based on their race (ie. black impulsiveness, as per his multiple affairs), when it is obviously not unique to their race

Duh. No behavior is "unique" to any race. However, there are quite obvious predilections for certain types of behavior across races. I guess under your standard we can never accuse a black guy of anything as long as one white guy somewhere at some time did something similar.

Suburban_elk said...

There is no such thing as "sex addiction." It's a made-up thing.

Sex addiction and internet addiction are social problems, and the treatment model may be of some use, to the extent that any institutionalized social program in this day and age can do anyone any good.

The Treatment Industry is a huge fraud. It was built up around the 12-step program for alcoholism and drug addiction, but it is a separate thing.

Alcoholism and drug addiction are classified as diseases, by the American Medical Association. Internet and sex addiction are not so classed; they are in the domain of therapy and psychiatry.

The question of what is a disease, and how destructive behavior is caused by social problems and or individual constitution and genetics, is up for debate. Somehow the question is inadequate. People self-destruct all the time, and the social conditions in which they live are part of the process. An individual cannot be evaluated in a laboratory removed from his social environment.

Some people emerge, like a healthy penis, whereas others shrivel and die.

Pvt. Jaybird said...

Does anyone else see the incongruity of Portlander using the racial epithet "redneck" while calling Peter a "bigot"? I always enjoy reading Portlander's comments, but I think he's getting his clock cleaned on this one.
Just because some white males are rapists doesn't make it hypocritical to point out the rape epidemic in the black...ahem...community.

eah said...

For fans of Tiger, he will win another major.

I don't think he will. He has too many physical problems to hold up -- and hold off younger, stronger, fitter players -- over 72 tough, long holes.

And yes it is pretty clear he abused some sort of anabolic drugs -- if you look at his upper body development. Of course you do not get muscle by just taking anabolic drugs -- you have to work out too. And Woods takes golf seriously as a demanding sport, and he did work out. It's not clear what the real goal there was though -- to improve his golf game and prolong his time at the top, or to shag more groupies.