The PGA, the last major golf tournament of the year starts Thursday and for Tiger Woods the end of the season can’t come quickly enough.
Last weekend he completed the Bridgestone Invitational with the worst finish of his professional career -- 78th place out of 80 players. To put this in perspective he’s played this course 11 times, won 7 times and, until now, he never finished lower than fifth place.
Sadly, this was merely the worst outing of a truly dreadful year for a man once thought to be a virtual lock to break every major record in golf.
If you watched his last round Sunday it would have been easy to feel sorry for Tiger. He looked -- and talked -- like a broken man. Could this really be the same guy who signed the biggest golf endorsement deal in history in 1996 before ever playing a single professional round? The man who dominated so completely that other competitors freely admitted they were playing for second? The winner of 14 majors and 71 tournaments, who was named Player of the Year 10 times and is the all-time money leader on the PGA tour? How could it all go so wrong?
The ancient Greeks knew the answer all too well and the term “hubris” sums it up perfectly: An excessive pride, self-confidence and arrogance leading to ruin. Quite simply Tiger believed the hype, believed that his incredible talent coupled with his money, power and fame clearly meant the rules didn’t apply to him. It meant that he could do what he wanted, when he wanted and that there were no consequences. But as he’s discovered, the mantra “the bigger they are the harder they fall, “ is oh so real.
The simple fact is that golf is not played in a vacuum. Though Tiger clearly has the physical talent, dedication and will to dominate the game even he is not immune to the psychological disaster of a personal life in tatters.
He has clearly not come to terms with his fall from grace or the fact that you can’t perform at the highest level for long unless you are at peace with who you are and all factors of your psyche are in complete balance.
He must realize that contrary to the stress when his father died and the whole world grieved with him here he walks alone…perceived as an evil fraud.
The only question left is now what? If Tiger were my patient, the first thing I would recommend is 6 months off from golf; time to work on Tiger the man not the golfer. You need to focus on your kids, your honor, valor and self respect and seek forgiveness (not reconciliation) from your ex-wife. You need to hold a real press conference to apologize to your fans, not a scripted, polished, no questions asked farce (If you want to see how a real man apologizes, check out Michael Vick or Jesse James).
Most importantly you need to learn to like yourself again, admit and own your faults and understand that for most gifted athletes the actual game is the easy part -- it’s dealing with the power, money, adulation and temptation that represents the real obstacles in life.
Finally, never forget that for each and every one of us understanding that “there but for the grace of God go I” may be all that defines whether we meet with triumph or disaster.
Good luck Tiger, I’ll be rooting for you.
Dr. Dale Archer is a psychiatrist and frequent guest on FoxNews.com's "The Strategy Room." For more, visit his website: Dr.DaleArcher.com.
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