Aug
10
2009
Tiger’s Temper Is Why He Wins
By Stephanie Wei under General

Tiger Woods won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for his fifth victory of the season. He fired five-under-par 65 and overcame a three shot deficit to beat Padraig Harrington. The win also marked the 70th of his career and the 7th at Firestone CC, which set the record for number of times a player has won at the same course. And he achieved all this because he has a bad temper. In other words, he’s a true competitor.

Tiger went bogey-bogey on the 13th and 14th holes to fall out of a one-stroke lead. Then he parred the 15th. He looked like he was ready to explode. He “gently” tossed a club here and there. He likely dropped a few F-bombs.

On the next hole, he did what Tiger tends to do when he’s pissed — he came back with the shot of the day — one that probably clinched the victory. Here’s the play-by-play: Pulled drive into trees and punched out to the fairway, where he was left with 178 yards to the green over the water and the pin tucked in the right corner. WWTWD? He knocked an 8-iron to tap-in distance.

He’s always been known to throw a “tantrum” now and again. When he missed the cut at the British Open, it was especially bad. Rick Reilly was fed up. He wrote a column saying Tiger needed to grow up and stop throwing clubs and cursing.

I remember Tiger’s dad, Earl, telling a story. One day, when Tiger was just a kid, he was throwing his clubs around in a fuming fit when his dad said something like “Tiger, golf is supposed to be fun.” And Tiger said, “Daddy, I want to win. That’s how I have fun.”

Tiger’s competitiveness fuels his temper – it’s what makes him the best. He goes out there and expects to win every time. And he continues to do that pretty often or at least put himself in contention. He’ll hit a poor shot, get fired up, and follow it by hitting a clutch shot like he did today on the 16th. I said it a few weeks ago and I’ll say it again, he should be visibly upset when he doesn’t bring his A-game. Let’s be real — we love the first-pumps, the added drama and the come-from-behind victories — it tends to make things more interesting. And it is fun to watch.

[Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images]