Another week, another essay from Tiger Woods this holiday season. In the just-released ESPN the Magazine “Perfect Issue,” Gene Wojciechowski Tiger “writes” an as-told-to essay about how he defines perfection in golf and life. You know, surprisingly, it’s actually a good read, giving some support to that cliched-but-true analogy drawn between golf and the game of life:
Golf … life — well, we’re inherently flawed. We’re all human. So you’re never ever going to attain perfection. But I think in golf you can attain a special excellence, for sure.
What I love about golf — what I think we all love about it — is the challenge. The game is not a game of perfection, it’s a game of misses. I guess you could say it’s a perfect game played by imperfect people. But that’s the beauty and the art of playing this game.
I’m a sucker for the golf-is-like-life platitudes (most the time). And here, Tiger describes the wonderful feeling — or the one out of 80 or however many strokes it takes you to get around the golf course — that makes the frustration and agony worth it:
But sometimes golf isn’t just about the score. Within a round you can experience a kind of perfection. Maybe it’s just one pure shot. I think at any level that one pure shot keeps bringing you back. The shot comes off exactly how you want it to feel, exactly how you want it shaped. Every pro playing in this week’s Chevron World Challenge probably has had their one pure shot.
When I read the column through for the first time, it sounded really familiar. Then I realized the reason — I’d written the same essay for my college application ten years ago. Except mine didn’t read so flawlessly.