Tiger's Biggest Rival
Continued (page 2 of 2)
It is one thing to stand aside, as Woods did in these instances, and note the passing parade. Some people are paid to do such work. (Ahem.) It is quite another to wake up each morning and haul those aching bones to the practice tee knowing that a full flight of post-adolescent limber-backed flat-bellies is waiting to hand you your hat. Even without tending to his personal-life calamities, Woods has had so much repair work to do on his body that he now says old-man stuff, like this:
"I have way more energy because I'm not trying to block out pain and trying to ignore that. I can just go out there and just play golf...I can just go out there and hit as many golf balls as I want, putt for as long as I want, chip for as long as I want. These are things that over the course of years past, I haven't been able to dedicate that much time to...It's nice to have a kind of bounce in my step again and walk around these hills and not have to worry about hills. I can just go right up..."
Q: Given the circumstances of your year, what would it take for you to consider this season a success for you?
Woods: "Well, I'm finally healthy, so that's a big one. I haven't been in a while, so that's something I'm very excited about finally, that I can come out here and just play and have fun again."
At middle age, suddenly, Woods seems to have replaced "win a major" with "healthy" as the new standard of success.
Q. You're at an age when majors are historically harder to come by. Do you have benchmarks where you'd like to be at age 38, age 40, in order to catch Jack? Woods: "Yeah. Ahead." (A tight smile here.) You know, 38. So that's three years, 15. If I win all 15, I'll be looking all right. I would be in good shape, wouldn't I? Twenty-nine."
Not sure where he came up with 15. Three years is 12 majors. But, y'know, we old folks have trouble with numbers.