Monday, April 5, 2010

MASTERS IM-PRESSER: "It's not about championships. It's about how you live your life."

To many people's surprise, including mine, there were plenty of great things to come out of Tiger's Monday morning press conference.

Did he say what type of treatment he was in? No, but he said he's never received treatment for Ambien/Vicodin, which essentially answers that lingering question. Did he give any more details of the late-night crash? No.

BUT there were so many other things that seemed honest and genuine about Tiger Woods this morning, that he's either been taking acting classes in between rehab, or we are indeed seeing a different and better person.

**He said that it was "wrong of him" to ignore fans. That he "under appreciated" them. And that he will be making a conscious effort to behave differently (at least during practice rounds) to give them a little more love.

**He also admitted he'd been getting too "hot" on the course, and that he won't be as emotional. But that also goes for his exuberance when he wins. That's what golf fans call a win-lose.

**He said he started taking Ambien when his dad was sick and Vicodin on and off because of knee problems but has never needed treatment for either.

**He tore his Achilles in December 2008 while training for his return to golf in February. His ankle was wrapped for most of 2009 and affected how far he could hit it. And yet the guy still won 6 times in 2009?! Amazing.

**He missed his son's first birthday in February because he was in treatment and said it's a regret of his he will never forget. When you think of how devoted Earl was to Tiger, you understand how true this must be.

But to me the biggest wow moments were the following:

**Regarding his on course accomplishments over the last few years:

"The fact I won golf tournaments is irrelevant."

**Regarding playing golf again:

"It feels fun again. That's something I've been missing." And why hasn't it been fun? "Why? Look at what I've been engaged in."

**And regarding his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus's 18 majors, the thing that has been Tiger's motivation and the sole focus of Team IMG for years...

"It's not about championships. It's about how you live your life.... I need to be a better man than I was before... If I win championships along the way, so be it."

WHOA. Who is this guy?

What made me respect and appreciate Tiger Woods over the course of 2008 was his focus, his commitment to improvement, his pursuit of excellence and showing that wanting to win is not a bad thing.

He still wants to win, that's the goal when he tees it up Thursday. But it's not as important as other things. Tiger has said just that for years, "family first..." but obviously that was a hollow sentiment. Now I think he believes it. And to that he must be given some credit. It's what I'd hoped he would do back in December but had no idea if he would or could.

Only time will tell if the reorganization of Tiger's priorities will have an adverse affect on the number of Green Jackets, Claret Jugs, U.S. Open and Wanamaker trophies he has in his house. For now at least, Tiger Woods seems more concerned with who's in his family room, than what's on the wall.


courtgolf said...

Welcome back, Bob. Been wondering where you've been.

The "it's not about championships" statement was the only thing that didn't ring true to me, but I wrote it off to where he is in this recovery/rebuilding process he's going through. Nicklaus' record has been his goal since he was a kid. I don't for a minute believe that he has given that up.

To the idiots in the press who think that because the guy may have taken vicoden or ambien...or worse...both that night - people take drugs once and get caught for it all the time. What in Tiger's life would make you think that he's taking this stuff all the time ?

Erik J. Barzeski said...

I read your post just after reading Feinstein's post on the Tiger press conference. Your post was good - but it looks downright great after reading the other trash.

Kudos on being a sensible guy. :-P

The Green Blazer said...

I like it when Tiger gets pissed and it pisses me off that he said he's not going to get pissed anymore.

"ah ah ahhh ... If you don't want me to get pissed than I'm not going to fist pump anymore either"

That's a lose-lose.

BOB SMILEY said...

I'll split the difference with you, Green Blazer.

I like when he gets frustrated b/c it's real and interesting. I don't like when he bounces clubs into fans. I think he just needs to go back to his circa 2000 Tiger who was fiery but not out of control.

Anonymous said...

great comment on the Presser, Bob. I have read other postings on the presser by columnist and I am not sure what they were hearing.I get the feeling that some people just don't want Tiger to try and change his behaviour - thsy just want him to fail at it, which is a sad commentary for them. I can't imagine if these people children make mistakes, then they would be written off, never accorded a chance to correct their mistakes.