Dec
22
2015
Tiger Woods: I’m not done?
By Stephanie Wei under Tiger Woods

GettyImages_485034976_tvr06pxu_j8q7uawc@2x

Tiger Woods posted a column on his website Tuesday, reflecting on a year of ups-and-downs and looking ahead to 2016. In other words, he provided insights on random topics and discussed his health for the final time before he turns 40 on December 30th.

Woods actually shared some interesting thoughts. Did you know he had Star Wars wallpaper in his room as a kid? Yeah, so he’s pumped about the new movie. I bet he was anticipating it for *months* (maybe even *years*). 

I want to go see the new ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’ I was a total geek growing up and had ‘Star Wars’ wallpaper in my room. My kids love it, too.

Yes, we know, Urkel.

Woods kicks off the post with a hopeful tone, looking back on his achievements, but also acknowledging that his body and health aren’t the same as they used to be when he first turned pro. He also touches on the differences between when he first got his start as a pro to the current generation of golfers.

I think the biggest change on the PGA Tour from when I started playing is the level of focus on day-in and day-out fitness. Now, we have trainers and sports psychologists that travel with the guys.

Also the technology. When I beat Davis Love III in a playoff at the Las Vegas Invitational in 1996, he had a 43-inch persimmon head driver. The transition to metal to where we are now with 460 cc drivers and 45-inch shafts being the norm, and the ball going from wound to solid construction … the technology has changed dramatically.

He seems to imply that the drastic technological advances since the Jack and Arnie era have created more competition and parity in the professional game. When I first read what he has to say in the paragraph below, I interpreted it as him saying technology has closed the gap quite a bit between the guys who are great and those who are average. (Which I don’t disagree with, so maybe I read into it what I wanted; but having heard him discuss this topic for the last five years, I don’t think that’s the case.)

I had a conversation the other day with some of my friends who play golf. They’re a little bit younger than me, but are amazed how much technology has changed. I said go back to when Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player and that generation of guys played. When they were in their prime and the end of their careers, technology never really changed except for the golf ball. It was always persimmon and steel. That was the reality. Now, some companies are asking guys to change equipment twice a year.

Not a newsflash: He hasn’t played pain-free in a long time and he hopes his body cooperates with his competitive goals.

The thing I’m looking forward to the most about 2016 is getting back out there again. I’ve missed it, and I would like to do it pain-free. I haven’t done that in what seems like a long time. I’ve had it in spurts the last few years and have done some pretty good things, but I’d like to have sustained health.

Woods sounded like he was going on a retirement tour, starting with his press conference at the Hero World Challenge and then proceeding with the release of his most candid Q&A in years that was published in TIME. He had a compelling appearance in the booth on Golf Channel during his event in the Bahamas, as well. All of what he said led most people to draw the same conclusion: Tiger was slowly setting forth the wheels toward hanging up his clubs, and doing what old guys do, like driving around his former competitors in golf carts as an assistant captain during next year’s Ryder Cup. But, wait, not so fast!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to play my way onto the Ryder Cup Team. Either way, I’m excited about being named a vice-captain. It will be new, fun and special. To have Davis appoint and trust me is pretty special. If you look back to when we played together in 1999 at Brookline, I don’t think either one of us would have foreseen this. But here we are in leadership roles. Hopefully I can play and lead at the same time and not just be on the sideline. All of us who have been a part of any of the teams over the years, once you’ve experienced it, you want to be a part of it. It’s really hard to describe unless you’ve been in one of those team rooms and know what goes on.

He gets a little bit reflective on turning 40:

My friends keep asking me how it feels to be turning 40 at the end of the month and my response is, “It depends when you ask me.” Mentally, people who know me know I’m like a five-year-old. Physically, sometimes I feel old and sometimes I feel like a teenager. I don’t like the polar opposites of the two. I’d like to be somewhere in the middle where I feel 40.

He goes to an existential place briefly:

What I love and appreciate the most about playing golf is the internal struggle. The fact that the ball is not moving; it’s just looking at you and laughing at you. You have to make it move 400 yards in let’s say four shots, and that to me is without a doubt one of the toughest mental struggles there is in sports. There are more physically demanding sports, obviously, but the mental task of golf is so hard. It is basically a physical chess match.

He loves college football!

I am really looking forward to watching Stanford play Iowa in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 on TV. I’ve followed the team every game. If I can’t watch it live, every game is DVR’d and I’ve seen every play. To see what Coach (David) Shaw, Christian (McCaffrey) and Kevin (Hogan) have done … wow! They have been incredible. I am so happy to hear that McCaffrey was just voted the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year. Well-deserved! Unfortunately, we’re not part of the playoffs, but we’re playing in the Granddaddy of them all, and hopefully we’ll beat the Hawkeyes.

Obligatory plug for his new restaurant:

I’m really excited about the great reviews my new restaurant – The Woods Jupiter — has received. I’m probably there six times a week and people really seem to enjoy it. My personal favorite is the ribeye steak.

Same for the soft opening of his first golf course in the States:

I’m also grateful to my friends at Bluejack National outside of Houston. We opened seven holes of my first US course and the reviews have been great. I can’t wait until the remainder of the course opens next year.

He closes by sharing his goals as a 40-something golfer, which, again, implies that he’s perhaps not headed down the road to retirement (yet).

Where do I see myself in the next five to 10 years? I am still playing golf at the highest level and winning tournaments and major championships.

Well, we all wish him the best of luck and hopes for good health in the new year, but like I wrote earlier this month: He sounds like a golfer who has started to come to terms with his imminent retirement as a competitive golfer. This obviously isn’t a revelation, but with all the injuries he’s had, it sounds like he’ll need nothing short of a miracle to be anywhere near the height of his game again.

I don’t care what anyone says — all the young guys can preach the PC crap about how “he’s Tiger Woods; he can do anything!” but at the end of the day, he’s still human. And as we all know, your body *really* feels it when you hit 40! Or wait, 40 is the new 30, right? I can’t keep track.

Happy Holidays!

(Getty Images)