January 25th, 2010 at 11:55 PM ^

I only had time to skim it - interesting that I saw no reference to his father, who apparently pushed him pretty hard. I could easily see him not really enjoying golf, but doing it to please his father. That's not uncommon among people I know (except they go into different professions than Tiger did).

Nonetheless, I don't think that's a reason to feel sorry for him. Lots of people aren't genuinely passionate about their jobs, except they don't have unlimited $cha-ching$ sitting around.


January 26th, 2010 at 1:33 AM ^

I don't like the conclusions the author draws or the way they are presented. It sounds good, but it's too superficial of a POV.

First of all, when you are as good as something as Tiger is, you almost have to pursue it. Especially if it can make you worth somewhere around a billion dollars and doesn't involve committing criminal acts. Also, it got him the approval of not only his father, but that of a demographic that normally wouldn't give him the time of day unless he was their caddy, waiter, bartender, or locker room attendant.

I don't have first-hand experience on this, but I have done some work with the Professional Caddies' Association, have attended a few tournaments, and have an idea of what goes on in a standard tourament week.

Monday: travel or maybe a day off.
Tuesday: practice rounds and practice on the range. [12 hours]
Wednesday: Pro-am, interviews, and practice. [12 hours]
Thursday: First round, interviews, and practice [12 hours]
Friday: Second round, interviews, and practice. [12 hours]
Saturday: Third round, interviews, and practice. [12 hours]
Sunday: Fourth round, interviews, and practice. [12 hours]

These are approximate, and don't include things like sponsor obligations, etc, but basically, a golfer works 72 or more hours a week during tournaments. Twenty of these (the number most used in reference to Tiger's participation) work out to approximately 36 forty-hour work weeks. I know it doesn't seem like work to most of us, but it is responsibility and they are always "on stage."

So, maybe Tiger just doesn't like to pile too many 72-hour weeks on top of each other. Besides, Tiger probaby works closer to 80 than 72. I am guessing that Tiger still loves the game itself, but hates "being Tiger." It's not like he can go to the mall and chill (insert joke about buying his own mall here). I am also guessing that he had a lot more fun playing at Stanford and being a normal student-athlete.

I agree with the author's conclusion that Tiger is, and I hope I get the quote right, "a perfectionist in a game where perfection doesn't exist," but I don't agree that he has lost his love for the game. I am guessing he has just lost his love for the dog and pony show that surrounds it in his case.

Also, when the author mentioned perfectionism, he touched on OCD without actually saying it, but failed to explore the connection between chronic pain and OCD, which is probably quite relevant considering that Tiger has lived with chronic pain for at least six years.

So, while I appreciate the work the author put in, I don't agree with most of his column. But I do think it is a good piece for discussion.


January 26th, 2010 at 9:34 AM ^

Forgive me for the reference, but I remember Jerry Garcia being asked about deadheads once. He said, "If the only thing you have in your life is the Grateful Dead, you don't have much."

I rememeber thinking that the statement was SUCH a rebuke. For a guy who probably spends 6-8 hours a day playing his guitar and who, by his own admission, spent about seven years in a near-constant opiated haze, that's quite an indictment on a lifestyle.

But I think the same thing could be applied to professional athletes. If that's ALL you've don't have much.

I always admired the hell out of people like Bobby Jones. He was a great athlete, a brilliant mind, and by most accounts, a totally decent guy. And not only was he a great student, he was a multi-dimensional one.

Someone on this board has a tagline of a guy who played at Michigan during the 40s (I think). He was a part of a team that went something 40-1-1 during his time in Ann Arbor and then went to law school and ended up being a success in private practice and I *think* ended up being a judge. The bios for the guys who won the Heisman Trophy in the early days tell similar stories.

But guys like that are almost unheard of today. Athletes today are savants. They spend most of their time chasing that razor-thin area of perfection. I would imagine that's a life that 99 percent of humanity would find ridiculously unfulfilling.

What are the things that make you happy? A hug from the wife? A picture your kid drew? Playing with the dog and drinking a beer with the boys?

It doesn't surprise me that someone who has very little of that in his life would turn to opiates and whores to get that hit of dopamine. It surprises me that more of those guys DONT do it.