There's strength in numbers; apparently, there's also peace. When was the last time you saw Tiger Woods as relaxed as he’s been at the President’s Cup?
Pardon me if I’m overlooking a carefree moment in his Hall-of-Fame career, but this version of Woods is a rare and refreshing treat to watch.
Woods is the most polarizing and talented star of the ultimate individual sport. His intensity and will to win are part of what makes him one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.
There are pros and cons to every trait that renders success. For Woods, he can sometimes appear too intense for his own good.
He’s infamous for his fits of rage when his play doesn’t meet his lofty standards. Even before events, smiles and a relaxed nature aren’t generally commonplace for him. How relaxed would you say Woods looks in this photo tweeted by Sports Illustrated Golf:
The loose demeanor continued into Thursday’s play when Woods and his playing partner Matt Kuchar employed the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air handshake to celebrate their opening-day successes. Image courtesy of CBS Sports:
Overly intense Tiger would never be caught referencing 1990s pop culture mid-round. Any fan of Woods knows the intense side is needed to maintain his edge, but it is still cool to see him outwardly having fun.
Having your girlfriend present to put a squirrel on your shoulder is good for keeping the mood light as well.
On second thoughts, maybe that didn't improve his mood all that much, but it's the thought that counts.
Don’t think for a moment Tiger’s looseness has negatively affected his play. He’s helped stoke the American side to a lead through the first two days of play at the President’s Cup. He and Kuchar have been one of the best twosomes in the event.
Which Tiger is more fun to watch?
What has created the attractive balance to Woods’ game? Perhaps it’s as simple as not having to carry the load of attaining victory alone. The President’s Cup is a break from the pressure of his enormously high standards of individual excellence.
Woods is still playing the sport he loves, but for four days he gets to safely fellowship with his peers in public. There’s no talk of Jack Nicklaus’ major championship record; and if for some reason the Americans should fail to capture the 17.5 points needed to win the trophy, the blame won’t fall squarely on Woods’ shoulders.
Does he plan to lose? Of course not, this is still Tiger. But if the Americans do fall, Woods won’t be the only one discussing what went wrong on the podium.
In some ways, this is a vacation within the sport for Woods and he seems to be embracing it.
Follow me for musings on sports and sports video games.