The Tiger Woods Saga … Lessons for Us All

“Do you think he’ll ever get it back?” I asked earnestly as we strolled casually down the fairway. I was thinking about the 2000 Canadian Open golf championship. Tiger Woods’ shot out of the bunker on the 18th hole, around the trees, over the water to within 12 feet of the cup to win the tournament. A miraculous shot that I won’t soon forget.

“Don’t know,” my friend replied. “He’s had plenty of time by now. I think he’s got a lot of work to do.”

“What do you mean, nobody works harder on his shot or his game than Tiger.”

“I’m not referring to his golf game.”

“Oh!” I was puzzled. From his emergence on the professional golf tour in 1996 through to 2009, Tiger dominated the game. Not only was he considered the best of his era, he was considered the best of all time. He played with unprecedented confidence, intensity and focus, credited largely to his Buddhist upbringing. What is more, he had an amazing work ethic. If not his golf game, then what did he need to work on. “I don’t get it.”

“He needs to work on his self image.”

“You mean, how he feels about himself as a result of the scandal?”

“You bet. And more importantly, how he felt about himself before the scandal.”

In 2009, Tiger was still on top of the golf world. PGA player of the year, leading money winner, six tournament wins and FedEx Cup champion. Then, in November, the proverbial s**t hit the fan. After a very public domestic incident with his then wife, Elin Nordegren, it was revealed that Tiger had had a litany of ex-marital affairs. He took several months off golf and since his return, his game simply has not been the same. “You mean, Tiger felt inadequate before the scandal?” I thought it a rather strange assessment of a man who had experienced so much success in his life.

“Can’t say for sure … I don’t know him personally … but it sure looks like it, what with the anger he plays with, the fortune he’s amassing and … the girlfriends. Sure seems as though he’s trying to prove something to somebody.”

I thought about my friend’s comments for a few moments. Perhaps Tiger is a classic example of someone who doesn’t feel good about himself … who doesn’t feel good enough. The anger is a dead give away. “What about his competitiveness?” I inquired. Tiger’s intense desire to win was, is, unparalleled. He is a very driven man. “Won’t that get him back on top?”

“There’s a big difference between a competitive spirit that comes from a genuine desire to do one’s best, as opposed to one derived from a sense of inadequacy. Tiger’s competitiveness is over the top. I don’t think it comes from a place of self love.”

“I get that,” I acknowledged excitedly.

“Maybe Tiger’s shocking fall from grace is meant to be a message for all of humanity.”

“You mean it had a purpose?”

“Pretty sure it did.”

I understood what my friend was saying. I learned a few years ago that on a soul level, we agree to have experiences and learn lessons. Sometimes we do so for ourselves and sometimes we do so to help others. Sometimes our experiences are meant to benefit on a grander scale. “So, you think Tiger is taking one for the team?” I asked, pleased with my witticism.

“You could say that … although it seems quite ironic given that Tiger isn’t much of a team player. Having said that, it seems that Tiger is showing the rest of the world that how you feel about yourself is far more important than money and fame.”

“I can see that, but it still seems bewildering to me that he would risk everything … his marriage, career and reputation … just to get laid.”

“He’s not doing it consciously. Sometimes we’re driven by forces that can’t be logically explained.”

“What do you mean by that.”

“I think there is a second reason for Tiger’s implosion.”

“Go on,” I said encouragingly, anxious to hear the pearls of wisdom he was about to lay on me.

“I think there is a part of us that feels enormous unease when we are surrounded by suffering and perhaps those who live in opulence are affected in a more profound way. Perhaps they feel deep inside that they don’t deserve it.”

“And so we self destruct.”

“Exactly! You have to ask yourself, how does it serve mankind when a certain few, like Tiger Woods, have so much, while so many others have too little?”

“I guess it doesn’t.”

“Remember, we live in oneness. When one suffers, we all suffer.”

“And I guess we really need to bring attention to this inequity.”

“We certainly do,” he said in a very complimentary tone. My friend seemed pleased with my assessment.

“Is that why Tiger’s message to humanity didn’t come in a more positive way, for him?”

“Sometimes, a shock to the system is more effective. It causes us to ask questions. It inspires us to challenge the status quo. At the very least, it gives us something to think about.”

“It certainly does!”

Have an awesomely feel good day!

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