The rehabilitation of the fallen golfers

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A month ago Suzann Pettersen was at the centre of a storm of controversy after her “unsporting” actions in the Solheim Cup. After returning to the LPGA Tour with an uncomfortable week in Kuala Lumpur, she moved on last week to the Hana Bank Championship in Inchecon, South Korea which attracts the largest galleries of any event in women’s golf.

She carried out a ballstriking clinic with the spectators and then played well enough to score -12 to finish the event seventh. It seems not only she has learnt from her mistake she wants to put it quickly behind her. “I’m learning every day to get out of the bad stuff and embrace the good stuff” serious soul searching which shows the drama will help her with her own demons. Also, a bit of self-effacement, “I’m keeping up with the long players. That’s good for an old hag like me”. So long as she doesn’t introspect too deeply, she should rehabilitate and we’ll all forget it.

Nearly six years on from Tiger Woods’ fall from grace and yesterday it was revealed that he was the player behind Jason Dufner’s break up with ex wife Amanda and they are now together. Now number 334 in the world and physically and psychologically a shadow of the magnificent player he was, its now in serious doubt that Tiger will ever be the dominant force he was. And this is because he can’t help his nature, he is who he is. From a golfing point of view, the downfall of Tiger ranks alongside the early death of Seve Ballesteros as the most shocking and sad things ever to happen in golf. For those of us who lived through Tiger’s dominance it is part of our souls, but that time has now gone.

During the Presidents Cup Woods called Freddie Couples and asked to speak to Davis Love and made an offer to vice captain next year’s Ryder Cup. He has been involved in the task force which is trying to make sense of where the Americans are going wrong in these matches. Also, with a long rehabilitation ahead after his September 16th back surgery he has been in talks with Rory McIlroy about competing in the 2016 Irish Open at the K Club next May. He has admitted that this year he was fighting through pain while also changing his swing, A disk fragment punching a nerve has now been removed, but there’s a long recovery to get through as he approaches his 40th birthday at the end of the year.

One of the few positive things to come out of Tiger’s decline has been the redesign of his website Tigerwoods.com. In his heyday, before social media was born, there was a fan forum. All started well for me on this Internet interaction. The people were very generous sending parcels via international courier with expensive Tiger merchandise and asking for nothing in return. Until one day it got ugly. Tiger announced his engagement to Elin Nordgren and the bile which ensued was horrible and stayed there unmoderated and unchecked. Then they found out I was also blonde, and I was trolled. Which led to me going out their virtual door, never to return. Now the focus is on the wonderful work of Tiger’s Foundation which uses his wealth to give educational and social opportunities to the underprivileged. For this is the good that came out of Tiger’s world dominance of golf, that he can positively change people’s lives.

As for him, let him continue as he is, for he will not change.

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