Will Tiger Woods have to be Open hero Tom Watson's age before he stops slamming his clubs?
Reflecting back on such an eventful Open Championship at Turnberry, I’m most thankful for Tom Watson reintroducing himself to a younger generation golf and sports fans.
This was important, because a lot of us are too young to remember Watson in his prime aside from the odd, non-HD highlight here and there. I was born in 1982, so before I really started following golf, Watson had passed on the torch.
I was lucky to see Jack Nicklaus in all his glory at the 1998 Masters, when he made a remarkable Sunday charge that eventually fell just short. But that day my generation was properly introduced to the Golden Bear’s swing, his putting stroke and his humility.
This past week, it was nice to get a dose of Watson in his twilight, five times Open Champ who gave us a links clinic for the ages.
More importantly, his demeanor both on the golf course and off was equally impressive to his up-and-downs and 50-foot bombs he dropped on Friday. He demonstrated the flawless behavior of an elder statesman to golf.
And it all made me wonder when Tiger Woods is going to start controlling himself on the golf course. One of the leading images I’m taking away from last week was Woods’ repeated club slams before missing the cut.
The one I was most infuriated with was the one on the 9th hole Friday (Click here for ESPN’s video of it). That 9th tee box is one of golf’s most idyllic settings for golf even in a 20 m.p.h. crosswind. And here’s Tiger, blocking a tee shot right and slamming his 3-wood into the ground with such force he took out a huge chunk of turf.
If I did that at Turnberry and a ranger saw me, I’d probably be booted off the golf course - never invited back.
Kudos to Golf Channel’s new analyst Charlie Rymer for calling Tiger out on it, too. Rymer said he takes his kids off the golf course when they throw or slam clubs. I was always too nervous to do it in front of my grandpa during our weekly game, but I’m sure the repercussions would have been similar.
Woods is 33 years old. The act is getting tired. Will he keep doing it until he’s 40? 50?
I’m sure Watson was every bit as intense as Woods this week, but he controlled his emotions wonderfully, even when the wheels fell off the wagon in the playoff with Stewart Cink. And that’s partially why Watson is universally adored in Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, more than Woods will ever be even if he wins five Open Championships.
Hopefully the youngsters watching Tom Watson this week for the first time saw how an ambassador for the game acts on the golf course and not the antics of Woods, so desperately after No. 15 that proper etiquette becomes a weekly casualty at these majors.
Watson gave us all a crash course in not only links golf but perspective, too.
You can follow Brandon Tucker’s golf blog and more on Twitter: http://twitter.com/brandontucker or follow WorldGolf.com at Twitter.com/worldgolf . Have a golf travel question for Brandon? Email him by clicking here
|« Bear:30 in Alberta's Canadian Rockies - Kananaskis Country Golf Course goes Grizzly||Win or lose the Open Championship, the Scots adore links-loving Tom Watson like no other »|
And it seems to me that if he slowed down his swing just a tad he wouldn't be getting himself into the trouble he found himself in.
A lesson in temperament from Tom and others, I am still struggling with I rerget to say.
The thing most younger folks don't know, with all this talk of Watson's struggle with the putter, is that BEFORE that became an issue he was a brilliant putter. He hammered in putts on the shortish side with a strong pace, not worried about leaving a 5 footer should he miss. And on the slower Open greens (intentionally slower because of the wind) that was particularly effective. He was wild off the tee, though not as bad as Seve Ballesteros, and would make up for it with a very strong short game around the greens and fearless putting.
You're the one acting like a "boy." I believe Woods is the greatest golfer of all time. However, people of wisdom understand that there are more important things in life than hitting a little dimpled white ball. One of those things is setting a good example for the young.
I also have to correct you about something else. It's isn't Tiger's world — it's OUR world. And we have a duty to future generations, part of which is instilling them with a proper moral compass.
Tiger Woods will be taken to the wood shed for his
behavior in Scotland, of all places, where golf
behavior is revered as part of the game. See Tom
Watson, and his press inverview following the Open.
Tiger's "people" will call him on this behavior.
Tiger needs to change this behavior, and the
swearing on the golf course.
No shit, Maynard! It is not very easy to confuse the two....you can tell them apart by their actions on the golf course.