Tiger Woods: Why He Doesn't Play, Or Care What You Think About It

Sean DowlingContributor IIIApril 29, 2011

Tiger Woods: Why He Doesn't Play, Or Care What You Think About It

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    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 10:  Tiger Woods looks on during the final round of the 2011 Masters Tournament on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Tiger Woods suffered an injury three weeks ago at Augusta on the 17th hole in the third round. According to sources it's a level one, mild sprain on the same left knee that has nagged him throughout his illustrious career.

    Surprisingly Tiger's usual theatrics of showing that he's in pain weren't on display as he was fist-pumping birdie putts on the first nine at Augusta the following day. 

    This is the same guy that beat Rocco Mediate on one leg (essentially) in a 19 hole playoff on a torn ACL and stress fractures to win his 14th major at Torrey Pines in 2008.

    That's all a distant memory now as the infamous "level one mild sprain" will keep him out of action at Quail Hollow at the Wells Fargo Championship next weekend.

    Or is it the unprecedented 79 Tiger posted there last season in the second round to miss the cut that has him not returning to Charlotte this year?

    I know Tiger puts unbelievable stress on his knees and he needs to be careful, especially with the left one. But is it time for him to be honest and just admit that he plays when he wants to play?

    Selfishly, I would love nothing more than to see Eldrick every weekend, but that's wishful thinking. Here is why Tiger doesn't play as frequently anymore, and doesn't care how you feel about it.


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    SAN DIEGO - JUNE 14:  Tiger Woods reacts to his shot and winces due to pain from his knee injury during the third round of the 108th U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 14, 2008 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/G
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Tiger hasn't had a "full" season since 2009 where he played in 18 events. Tiger has been unlucky with injuries to his neck, shoulder and especially his left knee. With so much wear and tear he puts into his body and his workout regiment, it's no wonder he's hurt so frequently.

    I think Tiger also realizes that less is more. The less he plays, due to injuries or whatever the case may be, the bigger the story and stage becomes when he does play. 

    Tiger is not worried about his public image or that golf fans want to see him play.

    Tiger plays whenever he wants. He doesn't need the money. If it's not a major, it's not the biggest deal. So if he's sore, or rehabbing a nagging injury, he can take his time. Recover, and chalk up another bogus injury excuse to golf fans everywhere for why he isn't playing.

    Golf fans everywhere just want to see great golf, that's why we play, and that's why we watch. Golf would be better if Tiger decided to play a little more often and give the fans what they want.

Only Plays to Win

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    ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 27:  Tiger Woods plays a shot on the 8th hole during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 27, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    No moral victories for Tiger. Tiger plays to win tourneys, nothing else. Other guys on tour, you see their run of form or you hear or read them discuss how they've played great with T-3's, T-10's. Not Tiger.

    Tiger doesn't show up to golf tournaments with the idea of finishing top 10. He anticipates and expects to win whenever he competes. So in order to be in peak mental and physical shape he can't play two or three times a month, it'd be unbearable.

    So he sticks to his routine and tries to stay healthy. Tiger has participated in 46 events since 2008, remarkably winning 10 of them.

Jack's Record

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    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 07:  Jack Nicklaus watches his ceremonial first tee shot to start the first round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images for Golf Week)
    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    18. It's kind of a big deal. Tiger wants majors, which guarantees he'll play at least four times a year. Real sweet right?

    Tiger isn't worried about FedEx Cup points/Standings, money lists, or appearances. He only cares about winning and usurping the Golden Bear at golf's summit of 18 majors.

    Tiger has been stuck on 14 for almost three years. Who knows if his knee will ever fully be 100%, or if his swing change will lead to wins, or if he'll ever even catch Jack.

    But one thing is for sure: If there's a major, Tiger will be there to try and add another notch to his belt, and get one step closer to the most coveted record in golf.

Independent Contractor

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    WASHINGTON - APRIL 20:  In this handout released today by the White House, U.S.  President Barack Obama (L) talks with professional golfer Tiger Woods in the Oval Office of the White House on April 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. The 14-time major winner visi
    The White House/Getty Images

    Tiger Woods is a professional athlete as much as he is an independent contractor.

    He literally decides his own schedule (besides those agreed to contractually for appearance fees), practices, plays, travels, and schedules whatever he wants to do when he wants to do it on his own accord.

    No spring-training, two-a-days, preseason games. Team doctors telling him they need him back for a playoff push. No All-Star Game which he has to perform. He simply shows up and plays when he wants and gets paid to do so, just like scheduling an appointment with an independent contractor.

Swing Change

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    ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 26:  Tiger Woods (L) speaks with swing coach Sean Foley prior to the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 26, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/G
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Let's face it, if you're working to change your swing, you're a perfectionist. When you haven't won since 2009 and you're dealing with injuries from time to time it's obvious to see why Tiger isn't as anxious to travel around the country and play every week.

    Woodrow is still working diligently with Sean Foley to improve his swing and stop the shoulder and/or head dip motion amongst other things. But I've always wondered: why fix it if it's not broke? Tiger won 14 majors with his old swing and hasn't won anything with the new swing yet.

    But it's premature to brush aside and underestimate the teaching ability of Sean Foley— I just want to see Tiger playing more often.


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    Tiger woods has a $50,000,000 home in Jupiter, Florida.

     Tiger's 155ft. yacht Privacy is up for sale for a bargain deal of $25,000,000.

    Even after the nasty divorce from Elin and the loss of multiple lucrative sponsors, Tiger still has discretionary income. Thus, he doesn't have to grind out on tour week-to-week more that 10 times a year. In turn making him play less frequently because he literally doesn't need the money. Oh and something tells me he won't blow through it all like 60% of NBA players 5 years after they've retired from the league.  I don't think you'll find too many lavish gold-plated bath tubs and toilet seats with Bengal tiger cubs wandering around his property.