A Charmed Existence? Tiger Takes a Timeout

Norman Chad – The Washington Post

Copyright The Washington Post
Monday, January 9, 2006; E02
Tiger Woods did not play in the PGA Tour’s season-opening Mercedes Championships over the weekend. Why? He’s, uh, tired.
The world’s best golfer is in the midst of a six-week break — what, suddenly he’s on President Bush’s schedule? — because, as he said on his Web site: “I just need some time away from the game. I need a break.” He needs a break? From golf? What does a golfer do on vacation — go to work? Geez. It’s golf , aka The Easiest Job in the World Other Than Being Prince Harry.
Woods also mentioned the “stress” that began with last year’s Tour Championship.
Stress? It’s not like he’s carrying his own clubs.
If I can read between the lines here — and I am paid good money (well, not good money, but a fair amount of cash) to read between the lines — two factors are driving Woods away from the fairway at the moment:
Age and marriage.
Woods just turned 30 last month. Sure, Vijay Singh is still out there banging away every week at 42 and many golfers peak in their 30s, but Woods isn’t so sure.
Tiger might be right on this one: It’s all downhill from here.
(In my 20s, I could watch six, eight, sometimes even 10 hours of TV in a row. These days, I fall asleep halfway through Chris Berman’s “Two-Minute Drill.”) Mozart had little left after 30. Michael Jackson, Gale Sayers, Howard Hughes, Annie Oakley, Orson Welles, Marco Polo, George Gershwin, Eli Whitney, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry VI, Secretariat, Alexander Graham Bell and Jerry Mathers all did their best work before they turned 30.
Woods already has joint-and-muscle woes; two years ago, he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Frankly, if I were Tiger, I’d retire and spend my time fixing Charles Barkley’s swing, or maybe set a more realistic goal, like working for world peace.
But if he were to quit, Woods would have to spend more time at home — and there, my friends, is where the problem lies, and it’s deeper than any greenside bunker.
Woods married model Elin Nordegren in October 2004. A little more than a year later, he is talking about “stress.” Trust me, the stress isn’t coming from the 17th hole at Augusta National, it’s coming from a wife, like many wives, who wants to know why he needs to play golf every weekend . Why do you think Michelangelo took more than four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? Because every time he went home, it was nag nag nag from his wife Michelangela. Heck, he could’ve finished that job inside of six months, but he had to get out of the house.
Meanwhile, Woods thought he was hooking up with this bodacious babe; instead, she’s a ball-and-chain.
Here is a typical after-dinner exchange between Tier and Elin:
TIGER : I’m going to go play some golf in the morning.
ELIN : I thought we were going to Ikea tomorrow.
TIGER : Oh, right.
(Did you ever see the film “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius”? Jones wa Tiger before Tiger. He tells his wife he wants to go to the British Open, she tells him he’s taking out the trash. He was done playing competitive golf by age 28.)
It is unclear how many tournaments Woods will play this year. His first appearance will come later this month at the Buick Invitational. (He says no to Mercedes and yes to Buick; I think I know what kind of car he drives.) Obviously, he’ll try to add to his total of 10 major championships.
Beyond that, who knows? Woods already has a bad knee and a nagging wife. If your body was breaking down and your spouse wanted you around more, what would you do if you wanted to keep your competitive side alive? I have two words for Tiger: Poker Night.

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