As I mentioned on a number of occasions, I am a horrible golfer. I am capable of adequate displays of skills – and I hope you all understand what I mean by adequate – but not for any length of time, which summarily produces double-par-or-worse outcomes in any given round of play. It’s a hard game to master even with regular practice (and I play too irregularly, unfortunately).
I also maintain a view that golf is the hardest individual sport to win at. Not to become good at (which I already admitted is hard in itself). But to win at. Golf may be comparatively not too demanding a sport from the athleticism perspective (as opposed to, say, tennis), but winning a golf tournament means outperforming a hundred of other people at the same time over the course of several days, without being able to affect their scores (in tennis, you have to be better than only 7 opponents one at a time while directly fighting each – I am not saying that it is easy, just that the magnitude of the opposition is on a different level).
Which makes Tiger’s continuing success all the more amazing.
There is no other golfer in the world that is in contention more than half the tournaments he plays, and no one who wins more than a couple of times a year. Yet Tiger is seemingly not only in contention every week he is on the course, but he wins at least a handful tournaments every year. He clearly got skills like no one else. But it is his will and determination to win that makes a difference. In any given tourney, the law of averages can catch up with him and some Joe Blow can amaze himself and the world by putting up a great score to win. But every player comes to the course thinking that he needs his best game and favorable results posted by others in order to win. Only Woods comes to the course convinced that others’ scores don’t matter as long as he brings his “A” game, or something close to it. And that gives him an incredible edge. (Train of thought picked up from Nathan).
Rocco Mediate put in a valiant effort over 90 holes and came very close to winning the US Open on the last hole of each of the last two days (Rocco has had only two Top-10 finishes this year, Tiger already won 4 tournaments – if that is not a corollary proof of my views expressed above, then I don’t know what is). A determined Woods – even though he was hobbled by lingering effects of a recent surgery – proved to be too much for the best player the field could put up. Again!
I frequently root against Tiger on account of my personal dislike for the sustained dominance of a single athlete/team in any sport (well, ok, I’ll admit that I wouldn’t mind Yankees’ return to dominance), but I have to admire his focus and determination. A great win!