With Tiger Woods set to tee off at Torrey Pines tomorrow, most of us will be asking a very familiar question. Can Tiger be Tiger again?
Tiger is known for workouts inspired by the folks best known for their finesse, gentle putting stroke and their decorated PGA Tour wins list…….The Navy SEALs.
Anyone with a weekend Personal Training certification will tell you that running in the hot Florida sun in army boots and fatigues doesn’t have much translation to the fairway. But before you get on your soap box and tweet to the world that you can fix Tiger Woods with some glute bridges and the rest of your “functional training” repertoire, consider the entire scope of Tiger Woods’ greatness.
There is no athlete more dependent on mental toughness than golfers. Standing on a tee-box, with thousands of people lining the box, the fairway and the green and you’re on an island. All by yourself. Dead silent. And you’re trying to hit it in a little round hole 500 yards away. That’s a recipe for an atomic mental explosion. The demand for mental toughness on the links is extreme. Now all of sudden, Navy SEAL training becomes EXTREMELY golf specific.
Maybe his laundry list of injuries and surgeries could have been trimmed with a more logical, thought out training regimen but I’m willing to bet that it would have also trimmed his laundry list of career victories (which stands at a staggering 139).
He was invincible. He believed it. He knew it. It’s the reason he could win the 2008 US Open with a torn ACL. It’s the reason he could chip it onto the green about 20 feet above the pin and watch it trickle back down and into the hole at the Masters. It’s the reason he was rampantly sneaking around with other women during his marriage. He was invincible. He believed it. He knew it.
So, what is the price of golf immortality? In Tiger Woods case it’s four Achilles injuries, a torn ACL, a broken tibia, a pinched nerve in his back, an elbow strain, inflamed cervical vertebrae, knee scopes, back surgeries, back spasms, a divorce, a public personal spiral and the constant search for what will bring you back to your old self.
Maybe it was worth it. Maybe it wasn’t. Only Tiger can answer that. But don’t tell me that his training was stupid or that you could’ve done better. Elite athletes do not play it safe. This is not the clinic.