Sunday, 13 December 2009

With Christmas just around the corner it is fitting to reflect on the most definitive chronological peg in the sand in history. The birth of Christ more than 2000 years ago is so important we’ve marked time from that point onwards.

Thus we have BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini – meaning in the year of Christ).
The late Earl Woods once famously declared his son Eldrick (we know him better as Tiger) “will do more than any other man in history to change the course of humanity”. When asked if that included Buddha, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, he replied "Yes, because he has a larger forum than any of them” (a friend of mine has subsequently, and somewhat wickedly, suggested forum be replaced by harem!).

While Woods senior’s comments were patently overstated, especially in light of recent revelations, it is possible to draw a terminology parallel between his son and the son of God.
As a result, the hitherto god-like Tiger now has his very own BC (Before Crash) and AD (After Disgrace).

I’ve no doubt, after a suitable period of contrition, Tiger will recover as a golfer and surpass Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 Major titles. But will things ever be the way they were BC?

Since he turned professional in 1996, after an unparalleled amateur career, golf has been spell-bound by Tiger. He has been larger than the game. Hell, he has been the game!

The question is, will the game be hell for him, upon his return? I cannot describe how utterly frustrating it is to follow Tiger (as I was lucky enough to do for 10 holes on the final day of this year’s Masters as he went head-to-head with Phil Mickelson) and hear the inane utterance “get in the hole” as he played every shot, including his drives on unreachable 500 metre par fives!

When he returns to golf, he will need all his super-natural powers of concentration to not be put-off by some of the off-colour derivations of the “get in the hole” comment he could face.
2009 will not be remembered as the year Tiger didn’t win a Major. It is the year Tiger will be remembered for digging a hole. “Getting in the hole” is one thing. How he claws his way out of it in 2010 will be fascinating to watch!


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