Monday, April 12, 2010

Miscues and Missed Opportunities

Hearing Woods, the miscues were equal opportunity.

“I hit a quick hook off of 1, popped up the tee shot on 2, bladed a little pitch on 3, stuck it in the ground on 4, and hit a low hook on 5. Tough day,’’ he said.

But then, one of his patented runs.

Woods made his third eagle of the week, holing an 8-iron from the seventh fairway for a 2. Birdies at 8 and 9 followed, and all of a sudden he was only three back.

Phil Mickelson, Westwood, Anthony Kim, and K.J. Choi kept pouring in birdies, though, keeping Woods at arm’s length of the lead. Not even his fourth eagle of the week — when he canned a 15-footer on the par-5 15th — and a birdie on the last hole could overcome the round-killing mistakes Woods couldn’t seem to shake.

“I felt very uneasy on every shot I hit out there, and I tried as hard as I possibly could to post a number and give myself a chance,’’ Woods said. “I really dug deep to find something, and that’s something I’m pretty proud of.’’

Those who watched the last round of the Masters yesterday may have thought that they were witnessing a less acrimonious Tiger Woods than they saw the day before. But listening to his exit interview after finishing eleven under and tied for fourth at the Masters, left little doubt in my mind that Tiger was still seething just below the surface as it concerned the loss.

I came away feeling that he truly believed that he should have won this years Masters and was angry with himself that he hadn't performed up to his own expectations.

It's tragic really. As the man had every opportunity to not only win the tournament, but also to garner major ground in the ongoing effort to recoup and rebuild his tattered image once he had lost it.

But once again we have microphones capturing the Tiger roaring expletives when he miscued on Saturday and later after the tournament ended on Sunday, when he had a golden opportunity literally handed to him by Phil Mickelson to demonstrate some class, he failed miserably. Tiger demonstrated his one dimensional self serving interests to a fault by his responses and statements during his last interview of the day.

How many remember his fantastic shot on the 16th hole of the 2005 Masters? When against all odds and probabilities, the Tiger chipped one for the record books and the highlight reels and went on to win the Masters.

Now ask yourself many will equally remember the shot of Phil Mickelson's wife Amy walking up on the 18th hole at Augusta National yesterday, to await her husband's last strokes to win the Masters for his third time?

You see folks.....that was the real story of this year's Masters if you ask me. While the world of media was focused on Tiger and what would Tiger do and how would Tiger handle the pressure, Phil Mickelson was handling his own world of pressure. And you know what? Phil and his wife and his mother have been handling that pressure for almost a year now.

The Michelson's had rented a house this week in Augusta, so that Amy and the kids could be near while Phil competed once again in the greatest golf tournament in the world. But Amy couldn't be there each day like she had always been in the past, she is just too weak.

She was fighting her own battle and she has been fighting it for eleven months now. And Phil has had his battles to fight along side her over the past year. Not only does his beloved wife have breast cancer, but his mother was diagnosed with it just weeks after Amy's diagnosis.

But yesterday when it counted most to Phil, Amy Mickleson knew where she wanted to be and that was on the 18th hole at Augusta National, when her husband walked up that hill for his final putt. Amy later said that as soon as she saw Phil on the 15th yesterday in the woods and apparently struggling with a terrible lay, she knew that he would go for the shot and that he would make it. She later added that was when she decided it was time for her to be there at the end when he won. And she knew he would win.

There was more to the Tiger Woods interview than what I clipped above, but the thing that struck me as most notable concerning Tiger's parting comments after the tournament yesterday, was his abject self centered focus on himself and his play during the tournament. How and why he lost, the fact that he hadn't made shots and now he was going to take another hiatus to reevaluate his game.

Never the first congratulatory sentiment spoken of Phil or Amy.

If Tiger had class? He would have celebrated Phil's win and the great story unfolding of his wife Amy being there for Phil as he has been there for her over the past eleven months.

The Masters has provided a few story book endings through the years and yesterday was one of them in my opinion. Too bad that Tiger couldn't see that and drop his "me me"just persona for five minutes to celebrate a well deserved victory by Phil Mickelson and his wife and the awe inspiring sight of their embrace afterward at the 18th.

In my opinion? Tiger Woods missed one of his greatest opportunities to be a man and to demonstrate manly qualities and class yesterday. And you know what? A lot of people missed it entirely, but more importantly, Tiger missed it.

I am thrilled for Phil and Amy Mickelson. Phil has always been one of my favorites and he continues to be because he deserves it. The man is class, something Tiger will never be again if you ask me.


XtnYoda said...

Someone told me that "Tiger" would now be known as the "Cheetah"

Locutisprime said...

It literally sickens me to watch him now.