Now that divorce is final, will Woods play better?

August 27, 2010

Less stress a blessing

Jeff Shain

Orlando Sentinel

It's not a question of whether Tiger Woods starts playing better, but how soon. 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 he walked out of that Panama City courthouse 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 No. 2 behind death of a parent or spouse. How many of us perform 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 redefined fatherly role. The game will follow.

jshain@tribune.com

Consistency takes time

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.

bdwyre@tribune.com

Still issues to deal with

Dom Amore

Hartford Courant

The saying goes, "The Mind Rules the Body," and this is probably more true in golf than any sport. Having the mind right, clear and focused, is Job No. 1.

Only Woods knows how much the events of the last nine months have hurt his psyche. The latest development brings closure, but one does not know if this is the closure Woods really wanted. If not, then this is another wound from which he must heal internally.

From the outside, it would appear Tiger still has a long way to go before reaching that place. Uncomfortable questions will continue and late-night comics will still extract laughs at his expense. One can only imagine how self-conscious he must still 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.

damore@tribune.com

65 a clear launching pad

Teddy Greenstein

Chicago Tribune

Will there be a time stamp on this story? The editors' assignment hit my inbox before Woods made the first of his bookend birdies during the first round of the Barclays. His 6-under 65 renders the question moot.

Woods flirted with perfection off the tee, missing just one fairway. He also hit 16 greens and putted well. Amazing how much easier it is to play without a piano on your back.

That's what the disintegration of Woods' marriage must have felt like to the man who suddenly looks like what he still is – the world's No. 1 golfer.

"It's exciting to hit the ball flush like this again," he said.

You get the sense that even the golf fans disgusted by his behavior are excited for him.

tgreenstein@tribune.com

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