SPORTS WATCH | Is Love the Key to Tiger Woods’ Golf Game?
by Gus Jarvis
Mar 30, 2013 | 2415 views | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print

All he needs is love.

Some of believed and some of us didn’t believe. I was one of those who didn’t believe Tiger Woods would ever be able to climb out of the gutter and find his way to back to the world’s No. 1 golf ranking. Well, Tiger has done it.

On Monday, following a rain-soaked whirlwind of an Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods took the No. 1 ranking by winning the tournament by finishing the final round at two under with a final tournament score of 13 under par.

Just up the road from Bay Hill Club, where the Arnold Palmer Invitational was held, is the fire hydrant Woods wrapped his car around back in 2011 that eventually unveiled a Tiger Woods none of us knew. That fire hydrant was not only the demise of Woods’ golf career for awhile, as he dropped from the No. 1 ranking to No. 58 in the world; it was also the demise of his personal life and his character.

Not that we need to relive all the gory details of Tiger during that time period; let’s just say we found out that Tiger was a cheating, sex-crazed man who loved pastries at Perkins. He couldn’t get enough. Eventually his swimsuit model wife left him for a gi-normous amount of money. His personal life and his professional life quickly went to shambles.

After reading the now-famous Vanity Fair story about Tiger’s personal woes, I was quick to say he would never again be the golfer he once had been. It’s too hard a sport to play if you’re not mentally focused and physically tough, and it seemed that Tiger, who is beginning to age, didn’t have what it would take to stay on top of his game, especially with a bunch of young golfers becoming increasingly good. Proving me wrong, Tiger has been climbing back to the top for the past year.

Monday’s win marked Tiger’s sixth tour victory in his past 20 starts. It was also his third win of this season and the second of back-to-back wins.

What has changed with Tiger? Is it his new swing coach? Is he finally healthy? Is he once again enjoying the game? His putting is back? Or  maybe it’s all the hard work he’s put into his game? Tiger seems to think so.

“It feels good to know that all the hard work has paid off to get me to this point,” Tiger told The New York Times following last weekend’s win where he sunk three eagles.

Call me crazy, but I think Tiger’s stability on the golf course has something to do with his new and widely reported on relationship with the 28-year-old Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn. His game is back, both on and off the course.

The Woods-Vonn relationship became public earlier this month when the two of them confirmed they are dating on their Facebook and Twitter feeds, complete with an awkward dating photo that seemed like more of an advertisement for Nike rather than anything else.

“This season has been great so far and I’m happy with my wins at Torrey and Doral,” Woods wrote on his Facebook page. “Something nice that’s happened off the course was meeting Lindsey Vonn. Lindsey and I have been friends for some time, but over the last few months we have become very close and are now dating. We thank you for your support and for respecting our privacy. We want to continue our relationship, privately, as an ordinary couple, and continue to compete as athletes.”

For me, the best part of the couple’s announcement, besides the awkward prom photo, is the suggestion that they want to be treated like an “ordinary couple.” Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are anything but an “ordinary couple.”

We all know the personal baggage Woods carries with him. Vonn has some baggage too. The Olympic medalist married her first serious boyfriend. Everything seemed fine with Vonn as she continued through her racing career, but then unexpectedly she divorced her husband, just over a year ago.

Adding a little spice to this ordinary couple’s relationship, according to The Times, is the fact that Vonn mocked Woods back in 2010 when he offered his televised TV apology about his hidden sex addiction. Vonn said she hoped to host Saturday Night Live at the time so she could act out a skit imitating Woods’ staged statement.

“There’s something you don’t know about me,” Vonn said at the time, in a Woods-mocking voice. “Tiger, you’re like my idol, and I too have a sex problem. That would be freaking funny.”

I am no expert in love, astrological signs or celebrity dating, but I smell trouble on the horizon for Vonn and Woods. Tiger may have his act together these days, but it’s Vonn I’m suspicious about. She just blew out her knee. A winter Olympics is on the horizon. She’s got some serious rehab ahead. She will have needs.

The question is, can Tiger take care of her needs while striving to regain his crown as the greatest golfer of all time. What will be interesting to see, if the two do end up breaking up at some point, is how will the loss of their relationship affect Tiger’s play on the course. I suspect if there is a breakup, it will be a nasty breakup. We already know that Vonn isn’t afraid to talk about Tiger’s past.

Is Vonn an integral part of Tiger’s comeback? If so, I hope for Tiger’s sake he can keep things hot and heavy with Vonn, leading up to next month’s Masters. A last-minute breakup could mean another disappointing chase for the coveted green jacket.

If all Tiger needs is love, we will soon find out.

 

gjarvis@watchnewspapers.com

Twitter@Gus_Jarvis

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whidbeyisland
|
March 30, 2013
You offer an interesting observation about these two;one that I had not considered. Tiger the world knows about, Lindsey not so much. She has been candid about her depression as well as how important it is to her to be the very best female skier..ever. What I missed (which you didn't)was her need for a relationship that matched her passion for winning; much like Tigers. Further, what will she do/need if her quest is cut short due to another injury? And can Tiger fill that vacuum in a healthy way? Stay tuned.