In some sports, the angrier you get, the better you play. Football, rugby – the physical sports.
Golf, however, is not ideal for tempers. Unless you’re Tiger Woods.
“Tiger had a temper, but it was different,” Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee said in studio on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “When Tiger got angry, he got focused. The difference is some payers get frustrated and they become unfocused. Tiger had this amazing ability to get really pissed off and he’d come back and just hit the softest pitch. Tiger was otherworldly.”
Woods, of course, won 14 major championships and was the best golfer of his generation. He hasn’t played in a major since 2015 – and won’t play in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England, the week of July 20 – but he’s left an indelible mark on the game.
“It’s changed,” Chamblee said. “Tiger’s made the Tour a pretty place. It’s a pretty place (in terms of athleticism). It really is. Ten, 15, 20 years ago, Dustin Johnson might have gone to another sport. Adam Scott may have gone to another sport. Jason Day, (same thing). Rory McIlroy could do anything. They’re coming to the game, they’re taller, and they pay a lot of attention to fitness. When I played in the tour, I’m 5-9, and I was the height of a golfer. Now a golfer is 6-1 and they’re 175, 180 pounds, and they’re ripped.
“So Tiger’s completely changed the game,” Chamblee continued. “The game is primarily now about power. If you’re looking for a way to predict success, the first place you look is club-head speed. That is the best predictor of success. You’re looking at club-head speed.”
You’re also looking for a strong mental makeup, especially in today’s game. Today, players often have a swing instructor, a sports psychologist, and a branding expert, among other accessories.
If a golfer isn’t careful, it’s easy to get distracted.
“Tiger famously said that when he was really in the moment, he couldn’t remember anything after pulling the club out of the bag,” Chamblee said. “You want to talk about having a clear head; he didn’t have anything in his head – and it looked like it. Tiger, good gracious, we’ll never ever see (anything like him again).”
Then again, maybe we will. As sports have shown, evolution knows no bounds. One day, there could be a player far better and more dominant than Woods.
“Yeah, I remember watching Jack (Nicklaus) and thinking I’d never see another Jack,” Chamblee confessed. “Then Tiger came along.”