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From Bermuda to the Beach

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Tiger and the birdie

What does the African jungle and golf have in common? Well that wasn’t too hard of a question now was it? Tiger! Yes, the African jungle has tigers and the PGA has Tiger. Tiger Woods is back, and it is my opinion that he is back with a vengeance.

He didn’t win his first two tournaments back this year, but he won his first match, and showed signs of his greatness. He was three under after his first two holes. A first-hole birdie followed by a second-hole eagle. Eight months off? No Biggy! For those that love the game of golf and have watched Tiger over the years, know what I’m talking about.

It wasn’t the first birdie that was so impressive, although it was incredible, it was the eagle that convinced me that a torn up knee can be fixed, and a little 8 month break in his game was not going to make a difference for the greatest golfer to ever play the game.

His second tournament, well, he didn’t win it, Phil Mikelson did. But, as Mikelson looked over his shoulder, he could see Tiger on the prowl. Tiger finished up near the top of the leader board, closer to first than last, and to me, that is good enough to say Tiger is back.

I remember seeing Tiger on the Johnny Carson show when he was two years old. I didn’t think much of him at that time, I was more interested in “real” sports. You know, baseball and football. If I had only known then what I know now. It has been said that “If you really want to get better at golf, go back and take it up at a much earlier age.” Maybe Tiger’s dad was the one that coined this phrase.

Golf doesn’t get a lot of respect in the sporting world. I think it’s the people that have never played the game that give it the least respect. It is my contention, that if you have never played the game, you cannot understand how hard of a game it is, and how hard it must be for Tiger to continue with his dominance year after year.

How good is Tiger Woods? That question may never be answered, but it may come to a point that it cannot be argued that he is and always will be the best golfer to post a score. I know, Jack Nicklaus was pretty good in his prime, and holds the record that Tiger will soon own, but there is no denying that Tiger owns the last decade and is poised to own the next in the world of golf.

Golf takes an incredible amount of mental stability, along with muscle memory. You don’t have to have the greatest physique to win. Look at Mikelson. It could be argued that Mikelson is the second best player today behind Tiger, but his physical appearance reminds me of the Pillsbury Dough Boy. I’m one of these guys that loves to hate Mikelson.

From my limited experience playing golf, I can tell you this. If you are playing a round of golf by yourself, you will play better than you ever have, but no one will believe you, and if there is no witness to the greatness, it doesn’t count.

Golf is 90 percent in your head, five percent skill, and the other five percent is luck. I can prove it. Before you approach the tee box, your buddy says, “I think you need to shorten your back swing a little, this may be the reason you can’t drive the ball.” No matter how well you have been driving the ball, your next drive will not be your best. In fact, it will be about ten percent of your best drive, five percent skill and five percent luck. You’re playing in league and have an 8-footer for birdie to win the match, your opponent says while your lining up your putt, “ Betcha five bucks you miss!” Good luck with that one!

Your playing a friendly round of golf with your mother in law, and you need 150 yards to clear the water. Normally this is an easy 8 iron. She asks after laying up, “Think you can make it?” You club up to a 7-iron just in case, chunk it and you guessed it, plunk! It goes without saying that your next shot also goes in the water, and it is no conciliation when your mother in law tells you to just pick it up and drop it on the green.

The greatest reason I like golf is because it is a game between you and the course, and you can’t beat the course. Golf is the only game that can’t be won. You can only beat yourself. You can tie the best score ever recorded, but there is no way to ever actually record a win against the course, after all, you could have made that 10-foot putt and shot one stroke better.

Well, better luck next time.

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Chris Spencer 04/17/2009 10:48:58
There has not been tigers on the continet of africa for over a million years. Tigers are isolated to the Asian continent, therefore the opening of this article makes no sense! C'mon now!
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Clint Nicholson Clint Nicholson Clint Nicholson is the sales manager for Keokee Publishing in Sandpoint. His former experience is with newspapers and automobiles.

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