Things are different now.
Corey Pavin says that Tiger is not a shoe-in for the Ryder Cup, Jack Nicklaus says Tiger may not break his major record, and Tiger's recent slew of injuries have created a stir of rumors as to whether his body can keep up with his pace.
Losing faith in Tiger has become too easy.
His transgressions permanently stained his idealized image. Months have passed, but no one will forget the media frenzy that illuminated any and every misconception about golf's greatest champion.
After his "rehabilitation" was underway and Woods chose to compete on golf's most illustrious stage—Augusta National—Tiger promised a clear, visible difference in his behavior, on and off the course. Considering no one can spot him off the course since the Master's, there has been no discernible change from his on course demeanor.
Same old whining, temper-tantrum-throwing, muscles-bulging, club-throwing Tiger.
In the past, these often shocking displays were disguised as "extreme passion" for the game, or as the "fire" running through his veins when he competed. Tiger's verbal profanity and fits of rage were excused by TV announcers and columnists with sayings like, "He wants it more than anybody else out there," as if that were clemency for his ruthless, selfish behavior.
Since his debut, Tiger has never been the underdog, the dark-horse, or a come from behind kind of player.
Instead always the brute, the conqueror, the victor—the king of the jungle.
But now, without a coach to his name, a win in the last five months, and his No. 1 world ranking in jeopardy, what does Tiger need to become Tiger again?
Supposedly, the June issue of Sports Illustrated knows the answer: a new coach.
This month's issue features a list of potential coaches that can 'save' Tiger. The article is fascinating, explicitly providing everything from the odds of each coach to their personal philosophies, clients, pros, and cons.
But, is a new coach, new swing, or new philosophy really what will save Tiger from plummeting in the world of golf?
What if Tiger ran his own course?
Call it a vote of confidence, or just youthful naivete, but as someone who has watched Tiger for over ten years—everything from pausing his slow-motion swing on You Tube daily to being glued to the TV Thursday to Sunday to standing anxiously right outside the ropes of the first tee—I believe Tiger can overcome this brutally difficult stage in his career with a "back to basics" mentality.
Though the inner-workings of Tiger are probably about as easy to dissect as a mine-field, if he is the one leading the experiment, maybe he will also be the one to cultivate and successfully implement the results.
Sure, another pair of eyes, not just through the lens of a camera, is invaluable, and that goes for hitting a baseball, writing an article, or cooking a stew.
But then again, sometimes you have to just bare down.
Maybe for Tiger that means in the weight room, on the putting green, or gazing into the vast abyss of his backyard driving range—but the point is he has to do it on his own.
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