Posts Tagged ‘tiger woods’

We Can Forgive Tiger But Not Forget

Los Angeles Daily News – Jill Painter – December 12, 2009 – Sports Psychology Commentary – Let’s forgive Tiger Woods already.

‘Tis the season of giving, and Woods could use a hearty dose of forgiveness.

It’s not to condone the litany of mistakes he made. Not a chance.

But he didn’t kill anyone, did he?

E-mail jokes, “Saturday Night Live” skits and ongoing cocktail waitress revelations surely can’t compare to the inner torture he’s facing from the revelation of his double life.

No yacht named “Privacy” or banged-up Escalade or private jet could take him to a corner of the world that would provide him a safe haven from his demons that have been exposed.

Woods is a billion-dollar athlete, but money can’t buy his happiness.

He’s surely living in a very dark place.

He is in danger of losing his family and would have no one to blame but himself. He’s soiled his reputation and legacy. He’s losing sponsors. He might never be the same golfer.

He seems like a robot, but he’s not.

Woods finally admitted “infidelity” on his Web site Friday and said he was taking a break from golf.

“I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness,” he wrote. “It may not be possible to repair the damage I’ve done, but I want to do my best to try.”

Woods is asking for your forgiveness.

We forgave Michael Vick for running the Bad Newz Kennels in which innocent dogs were murdered, some by his own hands. The Eagles quarterback was applauded when he ran into the end zone for a touchdown on Sunday.

We forgave the Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton, who was ruled by drugs, alcohol and women. Once sober and with his career back on track, he became a wonderful comeback story. He hit home run after home run in the Major League Baseball All-Star home run derby in 2008. That he did drugs didn’t matter anymore.

We cheer for Kobe Bryant and have forgiven him after his infidelity. The woman alleged rape, but the charge later was dropped.

Doesn’t Woods deserve our forgiveness, too?

“A lot of how we might forgive him as individuals differs greatly as how we’ll view him as a role model for society,” said Dr. John F. Murray, a sports psychologist. “Those are two separate issues. We don’t forgive someone in that he’ll be the same role model as before, but you can forgive him on a human level and realize even great presidents had multiple affairs.

“In some ways, it’s very shocking to us. In other ways, it’s the same old same old.”

Woods isn’t perfect. He’s far from it.

We realize such as the parade of women who allegedly had affairs with him continues to grow. There’s so many we’ve numbered them. No. 14 is a 48-year-old fitness instructor from Florida.

Whether it was one or 100 doesn’t matter. His behavior was unacceptable with his first affair.

It’s so bad that Jamie Jungers, one of his alleged mistresses, claimed she was with Woods the night his father, Earl, passed away.

Who trumpets that as though it’s some badge of honor?

Let’s forgive him and hope he emerges a man who has atoned for his mistakes and does more good with his money and power. He’s done many charitable endeavors, especially with the Tiger Woods Foundation, but maybe he can do more.

Golf fan Nick Weiss, a 27-year-old who lives in Santa Monica, doesn’t condone what Woods did but he’s willing to forgive him.

“Everyone, including me, thought he was superhuman – a machine,” Weiss said. “He preached moral values and family and always put on a show. He was clearly hypocritical. He got a little crazy, and I lost respect for him.

“Everyone has demons in their closet. Unfortunately for him, he’s in the public eye. He made numerous mistakes, just like A-Rod and God knows how many other athletes. I forgive him. I want to see him back on the tour.”

Murray doesn’t believe Woods’ image ever will be the same, but he believes forgiveness is possible.

“He wasn’t accused of raping anybody,” Murray said. “It was immoral, but it wasn’t illegal. More than anything, I think it’s the shock of the fall. He was on this incredibly high platform and he’s obviously fallen from it. He is probably under enormous amounts of stress and so are his wife and everyone involved with him.

“Let’s have a little compassion.”

We can’t pretend we’ll forget.

But we can forgive.

I hope you enjoyed this insight from the world of sports psychology.

Dr. John F Murray Speaks with Jeff DeForrest and Lesley Visser about Tiger Woods on FOX Sports Radio

Sports Psychology Radio – December 18, 2009 – FOX Sports Radio 640AM South Florida – Hear clinical and sports psychologist Dr. John F. Murray’s interviewed by broadcasting legend and pro football Hall of Fame inductee Lesley Visser and longtime radio talk show host Jeff DeForrest on the Friday morning drive to work as they discuss the Tiger Woods scandal, the death of NFL player Chris Henry, and more. This was Murray’s fourth appearance on FOX Sports Radio with Jeff and Lesley.

Later in the show, hear this brief and funny one minute segment in which Lesley teases Jeff that he needs Dr. John F Murray to move into his apartment.

I hope you have enjoyed this radio clip on the topic of clinical and sports psychology.

Might Tiger Woods Morph into the Bad Boy of Golf Now?

Reuters, Times of India – December 12, 2009 – Tiger Woods is making a wise move by taking a break from the sport but faces major challenges when he returns, sports psychologists said on Saturday.

Woods has announced an “indefinite” break from golf and admitted being unfaithful to his wife after a series of short-term relationships with women were reported in the media.

“I think that is a sign that he wants to send a strong message to his family that he is serious about addressing the problems,” Casey Cooper, a California based sports psychologist said. “It really is impossible to do that when you have the travel schedule of a competitive professional athlete.”

Palm Beach-based psychologist John F. Murray, who has worked with professional tennis and NFL players, said Woods’ hiatus could also be simply a case of allowing him to escape the stress.

“It’s the only possible thing to do when you are facing such amazing pressure. … It is too much for him – he needs an escape, some kind of relief from the stress. He definitely needs a break,” said Murray.

“Tiger isn’t just a golfer, he is an empire and he has lots of people advising him. He has probably been advised to take a break, to come up with a plan, come up with a strategy.”

Cooper added she doubted the public scrutiny of his private life would affect Woods’ performance when he returned.

“For the typical athlete, these types of distractions can obviously impact performance but Tiger has shown time and time again that he can manage his off-course life separately from his performance,” she said.

“I think his step away isn’t about protecting his performance, it is about how he is going to address his family situation. That requires time and his physical presence which he just can’t do if he is on the tour.

“Athletes are very all or nothing people, so if he is … going to fix his marriage he is going to fix his marriage and pour himself into that.”

Most observers expect Woods to be back playing some time next year, but a major question remains how he will cope with the loss of his previous image as clean-cut family man and Murray said one way of dealing with that could be to embrace the change.

“He could do what John McEnroe did (in tennis) and become the bad boy of golf,” Murray said.

“There are ways to do it, I don’t know if he could be the bad boy but I don’t know how he is going to keep that clean image.”

TIGER WOODS’ PUTTING

Associated Press – Jul 5, 2005 – Jim Litke – Putter sabotages Woods at Open – LEMONT, Ill. – Turns out everybody looking for the Kryptonite in Tiger Woods’ bag the last few years was probably focused on the wrong club. It wasn’t the longest stick in there sapping the strength of the world’s best player, but likely the shortest one.

The putter sabotaged Woods again Sunday afternoon, and with it, his chances of stealing the Western Open from Jim Furyk.

Losing a tournament that he’s won three times already may not have crushed Woods’ ego, but it can’t have boosted his confidence with two weeks left before he tees it up at St. Andrews in the season’s third major. Especially not after a three-putt on No. 17 at Pinehurst two weeks ago doomed him to a second-place finish behind Michael Campbell at the U.S. Open.

After he shot a 66 at Cog Hill to finish two strokes behind Furyk, someone asked Woods what part of his game he’d improve immediately if someone handed him a magic wand. He didn’t hesitate. “Everything,” he said. “Everything is key at the British Open. You have to drive it well and position your irons well.”

More telling, though, was the 90 minutes Woods spent on the practice green Thursday evening after taking 29 putts en route to an opening-round 73 that left him dangling perilously close to the cut line.

Talk about paying immediate dividends: Woods vaulted back into the tournament Friday and Saturday, with nary a three-putt in either round. He began the final day five shots behind Furyk, but a birdie-birdie-eagle binge on Nos. 9-11 pushed him to 13-under and into the unlikely co-leader’s spot for all of 10 minutes.

Then, Furyk rolled in a second birdie of his own at the 11th, plowed in a third straight at No. 12, right about the same time that Woods three-putted the 13th – and the tournament was effectively over.

“This year,” Woods said afterward, “either I’m putting great or I’m struggling. Nothing in between. Either I’m rolling them in from everywhere or I’m three-putting.”

That’s hardly news, but neither is it the exaggeration it might sound like. Woods has wrestled with his driver since he exploded on Southern California’s loaded junior amateur circuit, and for all his awesome power, the plain fact is that he’s never been precise. For all the fuss that’s been raised about his wildness off the tee, the most telling numbers have always been those he’s rolled up on the greens.

Last year, for example, Woods ranked ninth on the PGA Tour in distance, averaging 302 yards, but 182nd in accuracy, finding the fairway just 56 percent of the time. He offset much of that wildness by finishing second in putting average, and really limited the damage by taking just 23 three-putts all season.

Coming into the Western, though, Woods already had 20 three- putts this season. He chalked up No. 21 on Thursday, but after the lengthy practice session, appeared to have put the problem behind him. Then came Sunday. With Furyk playing in the twosome behind him and applying pressure most of the way around, Woods three-putted Nos. 6 and 13 for bogeys. That saddled him with 23 this season – as many as he had all last year.

To top it off, Woods made a third bogey by leaving a sand shot in the bunker at No. 14. That many mistakes in the final round made Woods seem more like a flinching Tiger than a crouching one. Either way, it caught Furyk off-guard.

“I would say it surprised me,” he said, “because he’s such a good player. That’s one negative of being the best. Everyone expects you to be perfect. If he makes a mistake, it sticks out more than anyone else. People pay notice to it. People will mention it to him. He has to relive those moments a little more critically than everyone else, because the spotlight is on him.”

That was apparent when someone asked Woods about the number of three-putts this season versus last. He didn’t even wait to hear the entire question.

“I knew that,” Woods said.

“It’s speed,” he continued. “You’re not going to misread a putt by 8 feet. If anything, you’re going to have poor speed.
Poor speed always leads to three putts, not misreads.”

Conventional wisdom is that pro golfers are so close in the skills necessary to play the game that each week comes down to a putting contest. By spending more hours at the gym, visiting their sports psychologists religiously and applying every bit of technology that club and ball manufacturers have developed in recent years, the pack chasing Woods neutralized his distance advantage.

None is his equal yet in the mental-toughness department. But it’s clear that Woods can’t will the ball into the hole every time he needs to – and certainly not the way it seemed he could once. Spraying tee shots all around the grounds has made Woods seem beatable. But the golfers trying to do just that know Woods is never more vulnerable than when he’s wrestling with a balky putter.

“He’s human,” Furyk said a second time. “Sometimes it doesn’t seem that way, but he’s human.”

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.