I’ve suffered from severe back pain for most of my adult life. In my case a nerve pinches in my lower spine, then it is a week of stabbing pain which brings me to my knees. Hurts so bad I can’t even tie my own shoes. Back pain is no joke and I feel for Tiger Woods, who withdrew yesterday at Torrey Pines due to back pain related to his glutes not “activating.” That WD followed his worst score as a professional golfer last week, an 11-over 82 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Here’s his explanation:
It’s just my glutes are shutting off. Then they don’t activate and then, hence, it goes into my lower back. So, I tried to activate my glutes as best I could, in between, but it just they never stayed activated. ~Tiger Woods
This is a strange comment and has already been the “butt” of many jokes. I find it hard to resist the “glutile dysfunction” jokes myself. My wife is about ready to kill me.
The back problems come after Woods’s supposed successful surgery to fix his back last year. Remember he sat out at the Masters following the surgery?
The last 12 months have been horrid for Tiger:
Former world #1 Tiger has dropped to 56th, and he will continue to drop without a doubt. His eligibility for some events now becomes a question. He’s a lifer at Augusta so that’s no worry, but other events like World Golf Championships take the top 50.
I’m quite puzzled by Tiger the last couple of years. In every interview he tells the press and the fans that he feels great. He’s 100%. At the Waste Management Phoenix Open he told the press he was as healthy as he has been in years. Before Torrey he said he was hitting the ball as good as he was back in 2000, at the peak of his career. That period of time was possibly the best ball striking of any golfer, ever…in history… Ben Hogan included.
At the same Time he says he’s hitting it as good as ever, he can’t hit a fairway and his chipping is worse than mine. So what’s the deal? Is he what he calls a “Ranger Rick” now? Ranger Rick is the guy who kills it on the range but can’t bring that game to the course. Or is he trying to use the mind-over-matter theory to convince himself that he’s hitting it good? If that’s the case, the matter is not listening to the mind.
Perhaps his mind is still what it was, but his body doesn’t, or can’t listen anymore. In the early 2000’s he could will the ball into the hole. He could will his young body to do anything. But his body isn’t young anymore. He’s 39 his body isn’t. As USA Today’s Steve DiMeglio said:
“His birth certificate reveals he’s 39, but his body language makes it look like it’s going on 60.”
Another thing I find very puzzling is Tiger’s comments in just about every post-round interview when he’s struggling. Between his finishing hole and his courtesy car he’s already told the press what his issue is and how he’s going to fix it. If he knew it, why didn’t he fix it before? The issues and solutions are always these bizarre and overly-technical and overly-analytical things. Case in point yesterday with the glute activation comment. So is Tiger saying that he’s already got a solution? Just activate the glutes?
I really think it might be a case of analysis paralysis. Once again he’s trying to be in complete control, and use his mind to overcome whatever issues. It also may be a byproduct of having too many cooks in the kitchen from trainers to coaches to massage therapists to nutritionists to witch doctors, all producing a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo, so they can get paid. Jack Nicklaus didn’t have any of that. He just played golf. I would have much rather heard this in the post round interview:
Press: Tiger what happened out there?
Tiger: My back went out.
End of story.
Oh boy the pundits were buzzing last week with all the expert solutions to Tiger’s chip-yips. They are already spouting their expert analysis and solutions for Tiger and his back. It makes me want to disconnect entirely from golf media. If Tiger would just listen to them he’d be winning majors again! The press are like abused dogs that keep coming back to their abuser.
Then there’s this guy who gets kicked off of Tiger’s withdraw cart, then chases it. If I ever become that guy, kill me.