Thursday, April 03, 2014

snookered tiger

Here's my theory on Tiger Woods and his golf game: kids.

It's not a bad thing, but there is some precedence for the idea. Let's draw a parallel to snooker's most decorated player, Stephen Hendry. Hendry dominated the game like no other in a spectacular career - winning seven World Championships and and 17 Majors (with 6 other finals) in an eleven-year run. The last of his major wins came with he was only 30. Hendry married in 1995 and his first child was born in 1996 - he won only a single major title after that point.

Woods had his eleven-year run (interesting?) where he won 13 of his 14 majors through the age of 33. He married in 2004 and his first child was born in 2007 - he won only a single major after 2007.

Neither Hendry nor Woods was particularly young when their first born arrived - certainly not of the sports they mastered. But these two sports require an unbelievable amount of practice time and and mental focus. I remember early stories of Hendry and the hours he spent mastering the baize of snooker - single. focus. When you are king of the World, turn 30-ish, and have children, that focus becomes blurry. That one single drive that defined you becomes less interesting. The hours of practice become more taxing.

I know what your thinking - what about Phil Mickelson? Phil didn't have the 'major' success of Woods. Yes, he has drive, but by the time he was 33 - at an age when Woods was wrapping up his 14th major - he hadyet to win his first major; he was chasing the elusive. Mickelson didn't even win his first major until after the birth of his third child. It's been a completely different process for him.

I can't actually explain Michael Jordan's drive.

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