Swinging it Weird

There’s enormous potential for cheap jokes on the subject of Tiger Woods and swinging. The salacious side of the subject unfortunately has perhaps led to an irony relating to the thing once thought to be a thing of physical/athletic perfection – Tiger’s golf swing.

This month’s Golf Digest literally shouted it’s feature story: Tiger’s golf swing is “broken”. I couldn’t resist the teaser; I had to read the story (fortunately at Chapters, thereby avoiding having to buy the whole trashy magazine).

Well the story was indeed a page-turner: Starting with a pile of statistics showing a steady deterioration on the Tiger’s aggregate statistics on stuff like driving distance and accuracy, greens hit in regulation and putts per round; a brief summary of his finishing standings in recent tournaments; then, a lengthy pictorial expose of all of the current flaws in Tiger’s golf swing. I had to admit, they seemed to have a point.

Here’s where irony is rearing its ugly head. Tiger has been a “playing editor” of this magazine for a long time. Until his “troubles”, there wasn’t an issue without a feature on how Tiger handles some aspect of the game or other. Now, Tiger’s role is as the ostensible “before” picture of some duffer whose swing needs some serious work. If that’s not a fall worthy of Icarus, I don’t know what is.

It’s tantalizing to speculate how and if the straying off-course (literally AND figuratively) plays into all this. My undergraduate psychology background is far enough behind me now that I can’t be bothered with an academic treatment; perhaps someone will string this all together for us. I’ll only note that I always thought of Tiger as the paragon of focus and self-control – being the things that seemed to put him head and shoulders above the competition for so long. When that unraveled, did it take his family and his golf game with it?

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