News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 21, 2008

On and off the course: An open letter to Tiger Woods


After the announcement on Wednesday of Tiger Woods season-ending surgery, I read and heard many opinions of what Tiger should or should not have done. I thought about what I would say to Tiger if I could get a letter to him, so here it is:

Dear Tiger,

First of all, I must say congratulations on winning the U.S. Open once again. It was probably your most impressive performance yet, even though you didn’t play the best golf you are capable of playing. As the world watched, we could tell you were in pain, but for the most part you did a pretty good job of hiding it. With your tee shots missing many fairways, and putting yourself in places that most of us could relate to (except for that part about distance from the tee!), your biggest asset, your mental toughness, really showed up. Oh, and you had a little help in scoring from a short game that was working just as well as ever.

You maybe even had a little luck. When you chipped in from the rough next to the green on number 17 on Saturday night, your face was an open book. It said, “Uh-oh, I’ve hit it too hard” to be followed closely by “That went in? That was lucky, because I would have been 10 feet past the hole.”

That was only part of an amazing Saturday performance. My husbands’ family had gathered together that night to celebrate a birthday and father’s day combined, and for the first time ever, we all sat around the television and watched golf, even a brother-in-law who usually only watches car races. Everyone was glued to the tube, enthralled waiting for what might happen next. Even though people enjoy watching powerful drives, the biggest cheers were for the amazing putts. If it weren’t for your virtuoso performance with the flat stick, your U.S. Open would have just been another round of golf. The 66-footer from the very back of the 13th green for eagle elicited a roar that may have registered on a Richter scale!

Hanging in there, gimpy leg and all on Sunday and again on Monday, took a lot of grit and determination, none of which you are lacking. Our understanding of how much determination you had didn’t really come to light until the announcement on the Wednesday.

That was when the world found out that you had a torn ligament in your left knee plus a double stress fracture. Now the message boards and sports magazines are filled with people giving their opinions as to whether or not you’re doing the right thing, or whether you did a wrong thing by playing in the U.S. Open. You know what? You don’t have to listen to or read any of it. You did what you wanted to do, maybe against doctor’s orders, but you gave the world the most exciting U.S. Open it has had in a long time, if not ever, and we should thank you for that.

In 2008, you’ve already had a season that for most men would read as a resume’ for a career, winning five of seven tournaments. You’ve earned over 5 million dollars in that time too. You should have enough to get by for the rest of the year. If things get a little tight, you could always star in a commercial or two, to get you by until you can play again!

You will be greatly missed at The British Open, The PGA, They Ryder Cup and any other event you were slated to play this year. I’m pretty sure the sponsors of those events have been crying in their beers since the announcement was made. However, those events will go on, and they can still be very exciting even if they are Tiger-less. Don’t be upset about it though.

Think about it this way: You have been given a great gift. You will be allowed to spend lots of time with your daughter. She just turned one year old, and the next year will be the most amazing time for you with her. The only hard part is that you will have some pain in your knee, so you can’t be a jungle gym for her, or crawl around on the floor with her. You’ll be there for reading bedtime stories, kisses goodnight, and hugs throughout the day. Watch out though; that little bundle of cuteness will have you so wrapped around her little finger you won’t believe it. She will be a bigger motivation for your recovery than your love of golf!

So I send to you best wishes for a safe surgery, and a speedy recovery. And if what the doctors say is true, and you will come back from surgery and rehabilitation better than ever, you will be well worth the wait!

Quote of the Day — “When I talk about golf, he doesn’t count. He’s not normal.”

— Rocco Mediate on Tiger Woods, following the playoff.

Jennifer Myers can be reached by e-mail at jfmyers@xsthe.net.