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|Tiger has got a little cub on the way, whose arrival might disrupt the dad-to-be's British Open chances this year. (GolfPublisher Archives)|
Tiger Woods and I are both right-handed. And that's about all we have in common. In pretty well every other respect we are extraordinarily dissimilar. For one thing, he is absolutely meticulous in his preparation and everything else he does whereas I, frankly, can't be bothered. For example, I no longer have wood covers or a thingy to slip over my putter when I've eventually holed out. Why? Because I lost them and can't be asked to replace them.
Tiger, on the other hand, leaves nothing on the last green, in the changing room or to chance. For example, Tiger never gets wet the way I got wet last month when it started tipping it down on the back nine during my club's May midweek Stableford. My waterproofs? Ah yes, they were still hanging in the boiler room after the March medal. They should be dry now and, provided that I can remember them, will be crushed back into my bag some time soon.
Although I recognize that it's pure jealousy on my part and that I should be thoroughly ashamed of myself, I must confess to deriving a considerable measure of pleasure from the fact that, for once, the great Tiger appears to have messed up. I refer to the pregnancy of his wife, Elin, and the imminent birth of their first child, which could pop out during the British Open and may force Dad's (perhaps belated) withdrawal.
What is particularly surprising to me is that, amongst his army of coaches, dieticians, personal trainers, swing gurus, financial advisers, PR consultants and miscellaneous experts, there was no family planner to tell him when it was a good time and when it was not such a good time to indulge in the sort of activity that can produce babies. Clearly, mid-October is risky for those making a concerted bid to beat Jack Nicklaus's total of 18 majors. Not only does it threaten to mess things up this time, but it also lumbers Tiger with the distraction of his son's/daughter's birthday every British Open from now on.
But does it really matter if he's rocking the baby instead of racking up birdies? Although for some the idea of an Open without Tiger is like a Big Mac without french fries, to me it's a rather appealing prospect. Frankly, I'm rather weary of the ‘cananyonecatchtiger' scenario. Far too many recent majors have developed into weary processions or dull duels for the rapidly forgotten runner's-up slot. Without Tiger's intimidating presence, many players will enjoy a whiff of true glory that they rarely sniff these days. Lifting the claret jug just means another notch on the scoreboard for the world's No. 1 whereas it's the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for the rest of the field.
Looking further ahead, many of his fellow PGA Tour professionals will be hoping that the birth of a Tiger cub will not only rule Tiger out this time but will prompt a seismic shift in his ambitions that will relegate accumulating Majors below tucking the children up in bed on his revised list of priorities. On the other hand, with another mouth to feed, he may grow even hungrier. Grrrrrrrrrrrr!
June 4, 2007
Although in his 60s, with a handicap of 15 and lifetime earnings comfortably below $100, Clive Agran nevertheless still believes he can win a major. Arguably England's most gifted golf writer, when not dreaming of glory he's scouring the globe simultaneously searching for lost balls and great golf courses. Follow Clive on Twitter at @cliveagran.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
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