Is Tiger Woods Back?

That’s what all the headlines on stories about his victory this past Sunday are claiming. We live in a society that overvalues the present moment and cannot wait to jump to conclusions. How quickly we forget that many of the people writing these stories were the same ones who claimed back in 2009 that Tiger’s career was over.

Back then I wrote a blog (linked here) about how those reporters were also clouded in their views by the prevailing winds, and that I was the one asserting that Tiger’s career was NOT over and he would indeed be “back.”

But what exactly does “back” mean? If it means Tiger is ready to dominate the PGA Tour like he did over a decade ago I would say, no, he is not “back.” If it means being a contender to win tournaments again you could have made the argument that he was back before he won this past weekend. If “back” means winning a major (which he has not done since 2008) then he is definitely not back yet.

Perhaps this quote from Tiger is the best at defining what being back really means, “If money titles meant anything, I’d play more tournaments. The only thing that means a lot to me is winning. If I have more wins than anybody else and win more majors than anybody else in the same year, then it’s been a good year.” By that definition Tiger was nearly, but not quite, back in 2013, as his five tournament victories that year were the most by any player, but included no victories in any of the majors.

I was as excited as anyone to see him win this past weekend and I hope he is “back” for a number of reasons, not the least of which being I think it would be good for the game. I didn’t jump to any conclusions earlier in the year when he was missing cuts and had a disappointing 32nd place finish at The Masters, and I refuse to do that now.

In 2012 and 2013 Tiger won eight tournaments in 17 months. However, despite that level of success, it still only passed one of the four definitions of being “back” which I outlined here earlier.

When we fall into the trap of overvaluing the present and jump to conclusions, we are in danger of missing the forest for the trees.

No one knows whether this will end up being Tiger’s last hurrah or the beginning of a new heroic chapter in the career of one of golf’s greatest players of all-time. What I do know is that I am looking forward to watching this play out and enjoying the process of seeing how he progresses.

Maybe if we learn not to rush to judgements about others in the moment, and instead let things play out, we could then give the benefit of the doubt to ourselves as well.


You can follow Sam on Twitter @SuperTaoInc




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