Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Tiger Woods

There are many theories as to what Tiger Woods needs to do to straighten out his life and his golf game, even though his most recent run-in with the law wasn’t because of alcohol but rather due to prescription drugs he was taking. But what he needs to do is really quite simple. That is, take a two year hiatus and go and live in a buddhist monastery in Kyoto, Japan. It will not only bring order to his life, but will help his golf game as well. I’m sure his mother will agree.

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When Jamaal Charles fumbled twice last night during the Chiefs-Broncos game, it was as much the coaching staff’s fault (and the front office’s fault) as it was Jamaal’s.

Here’s why: Jamaal is a professional athlete but even professional athletes are human beings first, and then athletic performers. They have problems just like the rest of us mortals. And I’m not talking about deep-seated psychological problems. I’m referring to problems they might be having with their wives, or girlfriends, or financial problems, problems with a coach, or problems with a teammate. If they keep their problems bottled up, if they withhold them and don’t tell anyone about what’s bothering them, it will negatively affect their game during competition. They will not be focused and are more susceptible to fumbles, dropped passes, and missed tackles.

Former NFL coach Joe Gibbs realized this late in his career when he was negotiating an athlete’s contract and figured out the athlete, even though he was making millions of dollars a year, was having financial problems. Former NFL running back Eddie George, when Tiger Woods’ issues became public, stated: “Ninety percent of all NFL athletes are having extra-marital affairs.” If true, why doesn’t the coaching staff and front office do something about it?

Much has been written about the importance of the turnover/takeaway ratio in the NFL. Few however are able explain the reasons turnovers happen.

Some say it’s because the opposing team has focused their defensive efforts on the practice of ripping the ball out of the runner’s hands, or other reasons.

While there may be some truth to these theories, my experience working with athletes and players has made it clear that when athletes are carrying around unresolved issues in their lives, they are more prone to making mistakes. When they are withholding their feelings, when they have misdirected anger at their teammates or coaches, or when they’ve had an argument with their wives or girlfriends (or both) they are prone to fumbling the ball, or dropping a pass that hits them in the numbers, or jumping off sides, or, if the player is a quarterback, throwing multiple interceptions in a game.

The reason is simple: They are not focused.

And it all starts with the coaches and assistant coaches (and the front office) and how they interact with their players, how they listen to their players issues and personal problems, and the type of feedback program they have created internally that allows players to air their grievances (both personal and team related) without being punished.

It’s no coincidence that the NFL teams with the best turnover/takeaway ratio are successful, while those with the worst are not.

My name is Lieutenant Columbo of the LAPD Homicide Department and I’ve been assigned the Tiger Woods case. It’s pretty obvious somebody murdered his golf game and my job is to find out who.

One of the first things I noticed (I’m always noticing things) was when Tiger and his Swedish ex-wife, Elin Nordegren were divorced, I couldn’t find anything negative that was said about her in the media. And by the way, another thing I’ve noticed is that Tiger has a history of dating tall beautiful statuesque blonds who are highly intelligent, like Elin, and when he does he starts winning tournaments.

But getting back to the case. I talked Tiger’s divorce over with my wife (she’s very smart about things like this) and she said whenever there’s a divorce it’s never just one of the partner’s fault. It’s always both partners who contribute to the divorce, and yet, like I said, I couldn’t find anything negative about her, even in old newspaper clippings. Now, to my wife (and to me, too) that is very strange. It sounds like a “cover-up” so I had to ask myself, why in the world would anyone want to cover-up her contribution to the split-up?

Then, I dug a little deeper and came up with a very interesting statistic. I googled “The Sexual Behavior of Swedish Women” and you’ll never believe what I came up with. Listen to this: Did you know that 39% of all Swedish women have sexual fantasies of having sex with another woman. That’s right. Thirty-Nine percent. So I had to ask myself, is it possible that Tiger’s ex-wife falls into this category? Or that she’s had sex with other women? That would certainly account for Tiger’s promiscuity. Who knows?…maybe he came home one day and found her in bed with another woman? When you’re investigating a murder anything is possible.

So here’s what I think may have happened. When Tiger and his ex got a divorce, Tiger did everything humanly possible to keep his ex-wife’s sexual practices out of the media. Why? Because he was worried about the effect it could have on his children. And, in my opinion, it’s been like a dark cloud over his head, just like that Joe Btfsplk guy in those Lil’ Abner cartoons. And it’s this very cover-up that could be affecting his game because he is “withholding.”

I checked with a sport psychology consultant who happens to be a friend of mine and he said that when an athlete withholds it’s a form of lying that demeans him (in this case, Tiger) and not only lowers his self-esteem but also creates psychological baggage that affect his ability to focus and process information. My friend also told me it could be a source for “misdirected anger.” He said that when and if I’m able to find the murderer he predicts we will see an entirely new Tiger because a big load will have been lifted from his shoulders. And that dark cloud will disappear.

There’s one other thing my friend told me. He said that he believes Tiger is over-estimating the effect it will have on his children since most children are highly resilient and are capable of adapting to adversity in their lives. Especially if they have been loved unconditionally as he was sure Tiger’s children have been.

Now, here’s my problem. I can’t just arrest Tiger’s ex for having murdered his game, unless, some national sports writer gets wind of this and after finding out it’s true writes a column about it. And if that happens, my friend says he believes you will see an entirely different Tiger Woods on the golf course, providing, of course, he’s found another tall, beautiful statuesque blond who is highly intelligent.

She finally did it. She was finally successful in breaking up Tiger’s relationship with Lindsey Vonn whom she was insanely jealous of. And how did she do it? By using her children as pawns. By poisoning their minds against Lindsey which made life unbearable for Tiger. But what his Ex doesn’t get is that it’s bad for the children to be programmed to hate Tiger’s girlfriends. She’s doing irreparable damage to them. And as for Tiger? As soon as he finds a new girlfriend, someone who fits the mold of being a beautiful, intelligent statuesque blond, he’ll get back to his old form of winning tournaments. So in that respect his Ex did him a favor.

If my theory is correct, that athletes perform close to their skill levels when they are happy and have powerful positive beliefs, then Adam Scott should win the 2015 Masters. He’s newly married and became a father in February; he has a new caddie; and he’s going back to a broomstick putter which he used when winning in 2013   All of this, of course, is predicated on the assumption that he has the talent to win, which he does since he’s won the Masters before. How will Tiger do? It depends on whether or not he’s straightened out his problems with his ex-wife. I should point out that the assumption he’s having problems with his ex-wife is strictly an assumption on my part. But one good sign is that Tiger’s significant other, Lindsey Vonn, won the World Cup Downhill title last month so that’s an indication she and Tiger are getting along well. Because if Tiger is having problems with his ex, it would more than likely affect their relationship and show up in her performance. POST MASTERS COMMENT: Sorry, I goofed.  There must be something going on in Adam’s personal life that I’m unaware of…

Tiger Woods just shot the worst score of his professional career (82) and failed to make the cut for the Phoenix Open. The reason could be that he recently changed swing coaches. Or, perhaps he and Lindsey Von are having relationship problems away from public scrutiny. Or, it could be that his former wife, who is said to be jealous of Von, is driving him crazy, using their children as a weapon. Whatever the reason, one thing we know for sure: It’s something that is yet to be made public. Because that’s how it works. A player like Tiger doesn’t just start shooting poorly without a reason. If he has some issue (or issues) that he’s keeping bottled-up (withholding) that’s a form of lying that could be creating baggage affecting his ability to focus. Other examples include the three-point shooter in basketball who suddenly starts missing shots. Or the running back in football who fumbles multiple times in a game. Or the .300 hitter in baseball who keeps striking out. All suffer from a lack of focus brought on by keeping their feelings and emotions bottled-up. Regarding Tiger, no one may ever know for sure, except, of course, for Tiger. Stay tuned.

This is the second time it has happened. When Tiger was married to Elin, she prepared some noodles for him and seasoned them with Accent or some other type of seasoning that is essentially MSG. The result? Tiger sweated profusely and vomited on the course during a tournament. And now here it is again. This time at the Hero World Challenge and though he’s no longer married his reaction to a food allergy was the same. MSG is a food additive and flavor enhancer and the reason I know so much about it is that for many years I had the same reactions Tiger is having now. But when I finally figured it out, thirteen years had passed. A rocket scientist I’m not. What is confusing about MSG is that most people believe you can only get it in Asian cooking but MSG is also used to enhance the flavor of gravies used on meats and other non-Asian foods. And some restaurants offering salad bars soak their lettuce in it to keep it from turning brown.  After playing through his allergic reaction (which I’m assuming it was) he said: “It wasn’t easy. I fought hard. It’s all I had.” A reaction to MSG is often misdiagnosed as a flu symptom, but it’s not. And for Tiger to have shot a 3-under-par 69 and to be even after 54 holes while suffering from “MSG food poisoning” is an amazing achievement.


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