Why the Anxiety Over Wie and Woods?

So Much Public Angst for Two Great Golf Careers

As a golfing culture, the U.S., Canada, Europe and numerous other spots around the globe are following their favorite players as if it’s a matter of life and death. When one adores competition, it can be fun to do that, but sometimes I think that we in the gallery have miscalculated all of this. We could just let all the anxiety over the rise and fall of great golfers go, and just enjoy the show. Nothing would collapse, either for us or for them.  I know – it’s not going to happen…we’re hooked.

Michelle Wie created a stellar moment this week by winning the LPGA Singapore in the high, very high humidity. She didn’t just fashion four good rounds. She broke out of a four-way tie on the last shot of her tournament by rolling  in a snaky 35 footer. No playoffs for me, thank you very much – blow the smoke off the putter, and let’s go get our trophy. Many of Michelle’s fans reacted just as they should, cheering her victory, with no mixed feelings. Others are still stuck in the “what happened?” phase. The win meant a step in mitigating what they see as a career disaster. News flash – nothing happened, she was good all along. We just miscalculated., and i’m not going to waste any more anxiety over it.

I first saw Michelle Wie when she was 14, a long time ago to be sure, but now that I’m older than Niagara Falls, I catch myself saying, “What, is Michelle Wie still playing?”  In my head, I tangled her longevity with my own. After all these years, she is reaching her prime. She’s 28. She has won five times, and not always in small events, and there may be a lot more.  The 2014 Women’s U.S. Open was a pretty slick win, and now it’s the major of Asia, the LPGA Singapore. It’s understandable that we fans lose perspective. We’re not invited into the huddle, the swing sessions, the putting sessions, the surgeries, the conflicts, the fatigue, and the bad patches. For those who consult therapists, their records are off limits to us. I know that Wie has come through a lot, but I wasn’t part of that, so no stress needs to be spent on it. I’m glad she’s back, persevered, and is playing well. Maybe the coming decade or more is going to produce real statistical fireworks for Wie if she can stay well.

Regarding Tiger, the story is a little different, but hopeful. He is 42, but don’t get anxious over that if you’re a fan. This is Tiger 42, not 1952 42. Remember all those years when the only health nut on tour was Gary Player. He became a little iron man for his era. Same thing with Tiger for his, except that he’s a big iron man, ready to play at a lot younger 42 than we are if the body parts stay on the same page. The Masters is coming up, and he’s preparing with the Valspar Championship. Tiger’s been playing pretty well, and for a change, enduring the physical rigors of the game. His pairing at the Valspar is with Spieth and Stenson. That’s good company, good for raising a game that may almost be back and ready to pop. Wunderkind Spieth isn’t always so “wunderbar” lately, with some putting problems that may or may not persist.  Whoever has their off week could win anything that’s coming up. So don’t worry. Anxiety just isn’t necessary for these people.

Incidentally, it amazes me how much time I spend worrying about people who make six jillion times the money I make. Michelle Wie is worth about twelve million, they say. So, if she bombs on a particular week, her rent is still paid. She’ll be fine. Tiger is worth more than some small countries. He’s not fighting for his life, just for his golfing life. No one will drag them off to debtor’s prison, or repossess their clubs. Anxiety is enemy no. 1 for this part of my life. So, I’ll appreciate good shots, good scores, good wins, but no tizzies when things go the way I don’t think they should. When it’s Michelle and Tiger, way to go, guys! You earned it. See you next week.

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