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Experts Poll: Are Tiger's Problems Mental or Physical?


After a career-worst 85 on Saturday at the Memorial, followed by the spectacle of a solo round as the last-place player in an odd-numbered field, it's clearer than ever that all is not well at Team Tiger. The game's formerly transcendent superstar doesn't look ready for a Saturday scramble at the local muni, much less the U.S. Open in a couple weeks. So what's at the bottom of Tiger's seemingly bottomless well of problems?

Athlon polled a number of golf insiders earlier this year on this very question: Are Tiger's problems primarily physical or mental?


Jay Coffin, Editorial Director, Golf Channel, @JayCoffinGC

Jason Deegan, Senior Staff Writer and Golf Advisor with The Golf Channel online, @WorldGolfer

Steve DiMeglio, USA Today, @Steve_DiMeglio

Bob Harig, ESPN, @BobHarig

Dan Jenkins, Author, Golf Digest Contributor, @danjenkinsgd

Garrett Johnston, Golf journalist, @JohnstonGarrett

Dave Kindred, Golf Digest, Sports on Earth Contributor, @DaveKindred

Alex Miceli, Senior Writer, Golfweek, @alexmiceli

Dan O’Neill, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Dave Shedloski, Golf World, @DaveShedloski

Art Spander, Global Golf Post, @artspander

Are Tiger's problems mental or physical?
Mental       4
Physical    1
Both          6

• Started mental as the scandals ended his aura of invincibility and led to a loss of confidence in every aspect of his life, even the swing.

• He's worn out between the ears after nearly two decades of carrying the game on his shoulders.

• Mental. Everybody but him seems to know it.

• It's 90 percent in his head and 50 percent physical. Yeah, the math doesn't add up, but that's how I see it.

• He will never be 100% healthy physically, but his mental game pulled him through. Now with his mental game in flux his game in general is substandard.

• He’s in a vicious circle right now. He needs to play a lot of golf to get out of his funk, but his body isn't healthy enough to do that.  

• Based on his play this year, he obviously has some confidence issues. He admits to being less focused than he was in the past and his physical problems hinder his ability to practice, much less play frequently. Not a good combination.

Both, I believe. If you have back or knee troubles, in golf or baseball (or tennis), well, they are games of swinging. And once doubts creep into the mind, you have what you had in Phoenix, the former greatest golfer in the world  chili-dipping and blasting long. That's a man untrusting of his game at the current time.

• Both. His back problems might be better, but he was still away from the game for long period of time and he needs to practice. In the meantime, he changed coaches, altered his swing and saw those problems creep into his short game. For one of the best ever around the greens, it is surely more than physical. There are issues of confidence and doubt that have come along with all the other changes.

• Tiger's struggles are more physical than mental. His inability to perform physically is hurting the mental part, however.