So that title wasn’t verbatim with anything Tiger ‘verbally’ said to the media, but his rounds this year in the Majors, as well as regular PGA Tour events spoke it in volumes.
Tiger wons the Masters in 1997 by a record 12 shots. Soon after, he was tweaking his swing with then coach Butch Harmon. People, including members of the media, criticized his decision to refine his swing and game, especially after such a performance and domination of the field.
Tiger knew better.
So time goes by without much domination from Tiger Woods. Then, in 1999, Tiger busted back onto the winning scene dominating golf up to roughly 2002. His swing looked perfect and his scores matched. He won 7 majors from 1999 to 2002. Then, in 2003, he decided to refine his swing again. Again, the media thought he was crazy. For the next 2 years, Tiger was completely criticized for losing Butch Harmon and hopping onto the Hank Haney train. Even when Tiger won multiple tournaments in a year, which is an incredible feat for ANY PGA Tour player, he was considered ‘in a slump’. The media never backed off, asked plenty of stupid questions (already knowing what Tiger’s response would be), and basically felt that Tiger made a stupid decision.
What the media doesn’t understand is that Tiger is a grown man, capable of making decisions that HE wants in his life. People felt that his game would suffer when he decided to get married. Well, 2005 came and we, the public, got to see at the 2005 Masters that Tiger was getting himself on track. We saw it periods of poor shot making, but if you were smart, you would understand this is typical when someone is going through changes. He explained this to the media. He explained this in his press conferences. He won the Masters, not in typical Tiger fashion, but he won. A win is a win.
Then, at the U.S. Open, Tiger came in second, but it was due to his putting, not his swing. Tiger claims he hit the ball all week just how he wanted. I believe him to be honest. Just because he didn’t win, and didn’t win by 10 shots doesn’t mean his game wasn’t coming around.
There was still some criticisms about Tiger and his game after the Masters, but the tone was much lower. After the U.S. Open, the tone went to a whisper.
Then we have the first round of the British Open this year. 66 and a 2 shot lead. Then the lead grew. Then a 3rd round went ‘average’, but when the dust settled, Tiger won by 5 shots. Winning a major by a couple shots is a great feat, let alone 5. The media should be sticking their feet in their mouths.
I would tell my father in 2004 that we just have to wait, Tiger’s game is coming back and it will be stronger then ever. I still don’t think we have seen Tiger at his peak in 2005. His British Open performance was awesome, but I can’t wait for the PGA Championship. I think he will do quite well. His swing changes are finally coming to the level he wants them and if Tiger is happy with his progress, the media should be to, because we all know Nike is.