Tiger Woods was not a happy camper as he headed to the podium in the aftermath of his disappointing third round at the Masters. To be sure, he wasn’t angry, either. He was more, well, tired after a long day battling his swing, his body, himself, en route to a worst-ever 78 in the sport’s premier tournament. Conditions were exactly how organizers wanted them to be, which is to say extremely difficult. And given his susceptibility to the cold and the wind a mere 14 months after he nearly lost his leg — his life, even — in what was described then as a “single-car accident,” he was ripe for failure.
“Failure” is relative, of course, and the fact that Woods still managed to finish and find himself with a better aggregate score than eight other players after 54 holes speaks volumes about the effort he made. He bogeyed the first hole in a portent of things to come, and, by the time he literally limped off the course yesterday, he left four three-putts and one four-putt in his wake. The bitter taste of his bogey-bogey-double-bogey finish was still in his mouth as he faced members of the media, and, yet, he still gamely answered every query that came his way. He didn’t look defeated at all.
Indeed, Woods gave his all in every shot he took (save, perhaps, for a hurried putt in the fifth hole), bent on showing his best even if he was clearly far from it — if for no other reason than because he demanded it of himself. Heading into the event, he reiterated his ultimate objective of claiming the Green Jacket a record-tying sixth time. Asked then if he thought he could win, he simply said, “I do.” Yesterday, he was obviously no longer entertaining such notions, but he remained defiant all the same. “Never give up,” he contended. “Always chase after your dreams.”
In the bigger context of life, Woods’ statement signified a clear movement of the goalpost. Which was why, even after all the missteps, he planned to show up for the fourth round. “I fight each and every day. Each and every day is a challenge,” he pointed out “Each and every day presents its own different challenges for all of us. I wake up and start the fight all over again.” Enough said.
Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994. He is a consultant on strategic planning, operations and Human Resources management, corporate communications, and business development.