Tiger Woods: Is he bored of professional golf?

At the age of 3, I suppose I was too busy eating Chicken McNuggets and playing with Transformers to do anything else with my life.  Tiger Woods?  I can imagine the youngster from Southern California watching his Dad (Earl Woods) with wide eyes, wondering what the long metal shaft was that he was swinging, and what the small round white ball was for.  Not only did he watch and mimic his father, but he shot a 48 for 9 holes of golf at the age of THREE.  Most courses average 36 strokes per 9 holes.  That means that Tiger Woods shot 12 over par at the age of three.  I played 18 holes last week and on the front 9 shot a 57, and on the back 9 shot a 55.  For all of you mathematicians out there, that is 40 over par.  Now, granted, this doesn’t put me in much of a flattering light, but it was evident early on that Tiger was one extraordinary boy that would quickly become a golfing phenom.  At the age of 8 Tiger won his first International Junior Championship.  He would win this event 5 more times.  At the age of 15 he became the youngest U.S. Junior Amateur Champion ever.  At the age of 18, Tiger won his first U.S. Amateur Championship.  He turned pro at the age of 20, and won two events in his first year.

Now we move ahead 12 years later to 2008, and Tiger has won 13 major championships and 62 total PGA tour wins.  His appearance in the Masters Tournament this year seemed to be a disappointment to the press, although he was playing on a limp knee (which was later surgically repaired) and he came in second place (which got him a rather small check of $810,000).  I run all of these numbers through my mind and ask myself “what motivation does Tiger Woods have to continue playing professional golf?”.  Lets face it, the man is married to a Scandanavian former model, has a child, and will earn more money in the next 5 minutes then you or I will in 10 years.  Oh, and he is designing his own golf course in the United Arab Emirates.  And he is in razor commercials with Roger Federer and Thierry Henry, making up the worldwide athletic triumverate.  So I suppose that Tiger will retire this week, invest his money, and work the World Series of Poker tour, right?  Think again.  The Golden Bear (Jack Nicklaus) still holds the record for Major Championships won with a total of 18.  Tiger has 6 more to go before he breaks that record, so that will happen around…. 2010?  Even beyond the Major Championships, you cannot get past the fact that Tiger is only 33 years old.  That gives him 70+ years of golf left (give or take 10 or 20 years).  Bob Hope once said that “I’ll shoot my age if I have to live to be 105.”  So, is Tiger bored?

There are two quotes in particular (from the man himself) that answer this question for us.  “I get to play golf for a living.  What more can you ask for – getting paid for doing what you love.”  Simple.  Well put.  Simply well put.  The concept is not grandiose, but how many of us can say the same for ourselves?  Do WE truly love to do what we get paid for?  Or do we pay for what we love to do?  “no matter how good you get you can always get better and that’s the exciting part.”  Tiger strives for perfection.   After all, it is not practice that makes perfect, but perfect practice that makes perfect.  Maybe he does this because he knows that someone’s wide eyes are watching HIM.  Just ask Tiger’s almost 1 year old daughter Sam Alexis, and she’ll tell you by the age of 1 she’ll have hit a hole in one.  

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