Question of the day: Now that his divorce is final, will Tiger Woods start playing better? [Updated]
[Updated at 2:06 p.m.
Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times
Tiger's 65 Thursday isn't the first time since his car wreck, followed by his marital wreck, that he has gone on a bit of a hot run. He's done it at all the majors this year. But all those one-round flurries did was bring out knowing nods that translate into "I told you so. Tiger is back." The next day, Tiger's game, and the nods, disappeared.
The bigger issue here is the intense pressure he likely is putting on himself to win -- if not a major, something, anything. The Greater Tehachapi Open would be just fine right now.
A big breakthrough win by Tiger would get all the golfing planets aligned again, but a more likely comeback scenario is a gradual easing of the pressure to a time when Tiger's swing thoughts are only about the seven-iron in his hand.]
Dom Amore, Hartford Courant
The saying goes, "The mind rules the body," and this is probably more true in golf than in any other sport. Having the mind right, clear and focused, is Job No. 1 for a pro golfer.
Now that Tiger Woods' divorce is final, will he play better? At first blush, one would counter, "Can he help but play better?" But the question within the question is, "Does this mean his mind is right?"
Only Woods knows how much the events of the last nine months have hurt his psyche. The latest development brings closure but is it the closure Woods really wanted? If not -- if he was holding out hope of putting his marriage back together -- then this is another wound from which he must heal before reaching that optimal mental place to play great golf.
From the outside, it would appear Tiger still has a long way to go before reaching that place. His reputation, which once seemed important to him, is in tatters. Uncomfortable questions will continue, and late-night comics will still extract laughs at his expense. One can only imagine how self-conscious he must be after so many years of embodying the phrase "comfortable in his own skin."
This resolution may be the beginning of the end but shouldn't be regarded as the wave of a magic putter that will immediately bring back the old Tiger Woods.
[Updated at 11:32 a.m.:
Jeff Shain, Orlando Sentinel
It’s not a question of whether -- but how soon -- Woods will start playing better. And if Thursday’s 65 to open the Barclays is an indicator, he may be on a faster track than some of us first thought.
If nothing else, the mental burden has to be lighter since walking out of that Panama City, Fla., courthouse on Monday. No more sit-downs with divorce attorneys, no more wrangling over how to reach the finish line in the least provocative manner.
Divorce is one of the three most stressful events in a person’s life, with most studies placing it second, behind death of a parent or spouse. How many of us perform our jobs at top level after even a bitter argument at home?
We now know Woods eased off practice to address more pressing matters. He’ll get that back now, even as he adjusts to a new life. The game will follow.]
Photo: Tiger Woods reacts after making birdie on the 18th green during the first round of the Barclays golf tournament Thursday in Paramus, N.J. Credit: Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters