Tiger's decision regarding The Masters dragged on into the 11th hour, much like waiting through a boring Oscars telecast for the Best Picture announcement. We finally know that he will, in fact, be on hand for the season's first major.
Although he's decided to tee it up at Augusta National on Thursday, he's clearly not the steely-eyed golf machine he once was, having displayed an all-too-human vulnerability to an aging body and decaying confidence. We never thought we'd say this, but we hope he doesn't embarass himself come Thursday.
Athlon polled a number of golf insiders on a variety of topics, but we start with this 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?
• 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.