Teed Off (24-02-2013)

with Robert Bicknell

OK, first of all, allow me to clear the air about something.

I am no longer with Ñaø Laït Palace / Ocean Dunes golf clubs so please don’t email / call me asking for discounts or bookings. There really isn’t much to say, other than it wasn’t meant to be. End of story and a painful lesson learned. It’s the last time I will ever put my heart before my head.

However, as I seem to have a lot of free time on my hands, and as I am still based in HCM City, if anyone needs golf lessons, please feel free to contact me. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Global warming seemed to be an amusing term after the Accenture Match Play event in Arizona was postponed due to heavy snow. Yeah, you read that right… it snowed in Arizona. Given the state of the world, who knows, Hell might actually be freezing over and we are seeing the results.

When you think of cacti, deserts and Road Runner cartoons, you envision places like Arizona and New Mexico. I don’t ever recall Wile E Coyote falling off the cliff due to a snowstorm, nor the Road Runner wiping out due to black ice. Hey, it’s the desert, right?

Snow. Unbelievable.

Rory McIlroy couldn’t believe it, while Ian Poulter tweeted something about caddies having a snowball fight, which actually sounds like fun. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to see legendary caddie Fluff Cowan with a snow stuck to his walrus mustache?

C’mon… it would be funny. Every time Fluff sneezes he looks like a party favour.

It would be safe to say that after teeing it up with US President Barack Obama last week, Tiger Woods is officially out of the doghouse and the monkey is off his back.

The president, simply due to his position and the amount of rocks thrown in his direction over the smallest perceived offense, has to be very careful who he is seen with and under what conditions.

Apparently, it was deemed that Tiger Woods suffered enough, atoned for his mistakes and the president was willing to be seen with him – in public. Obama also told Woods, “It’s nice to see you playing well again.”

This endorsement can only help bolster Tiger’s confidence and keep him on a positive path with his tournament play.

We had a clue that Tiger was coming out of his exile when NIKE decided to pair him with Rory McIlroy in a much celebrated advertisement where they went head to head, old lion vs young lion type of stuff, with golf balls landing in some pretty creative places.

Nike wouldn’t have used Tiger if they hadn’t felt the public would respond positively to it.

Plus, Tiger seems to be regaining his form and confidence enough to start winning tournaments again, so all the previous problems seem to be behind him now.

As you noticed in the above statements, I used “seemed”, “apparently” and “deemed”, instead of more concrete sounding verbs and the reason is that, in this world, nothing is certain. Some bimbo could pop up on YouTube claming to be the mother of Tiger’s son and the whole cycle could start again.

We can just hope that everything is truly over and he can get back to winning majors.

However, not all people believe that Tiger or Rory will have a stellar year. Nick Faldo, for example, has remained quite critical of both Tiger and Rory, but for different reasons.

Faldo claims that the equipment change will hurt McIlroy until he becomes more familiar with it, and that Woods still doesn’t have a “go-to shot” that he can rely on when things get tough out there. In the old days, Tiger had his “stinger” but we haven’t seen him use it in a long time. So, Faldo’s comments have some validity.

I have never been a fan of Tiger Woods (the person), but have always respected his ability. I also admire how he has faced what could be the most painful and humiliating experience anyone could endure and eventually came out the other side.

Granted, half a billion dollars in the bank does take the edge off it. Unlike the rest of us, he doesn’t have to worry about where dinner is coming from, but he took his medicine and recovered.

Let’s hope he can regain his form. — VNS