Sharp Becomes a Believer after Tiger's Latest Win

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

I was never really a Tiger Woods fan, but now I am. I never really bought into the weight of the world on his shoulders excuses for some of his off the course antics. Didn't we all feel that way in our early 20's? Whatever job you may have had, your first paycheck out of college meant the world to you, and didn't you feel the pressure?

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
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Give me a break. Woods was groomed for the spotlight since birth, just like the Williams sisters. By age 21, the spotlight was old news for Woods, and skipping certain events or scoffing certain people was not a result of immaturity or snobbery.

What is was a result of, however, was a young man exercising his individual choice. How many times have you blown off the opera, or a company dinner, or a meeting, because you just didn't want to be there, and life to too short to do the things you don't want to do.

I still don't know if I like Tiger Woods the person. How will I ever know? I doubt that Eldrick and me will ever slip out in the late afternoon to swing the wrenches, and then head in for a cold beer on the 19th hole.

But I know that I like Tiger Woods the golfer, and anyone that isn't in awe of what he is doing, and what he did at Pebble Beach, doesn't know the first thing about golf and what it takes to defeat a talented field of professionals week after week.

Why is Tiger so good? Well, that's easy - he is so, so long off the tee. Really? Well, did you know that Tiger is currently tied for 40th in driving distance on Tour? Seriously. Even Andrew Magee and Stuart Appleby rank ahead of him, and this is not just splitting hairs - there is a 32-yard difference between first and fortieth in this category.

Is it putting? Sure, Tiger has made some timely, if not clutch putts during his streak of six consecutive victories, but he ranks 15th on Tour in putts per green, and has never been known for his work with the flat blade.

Now, let's take these numbers with a grain of salt, because they are from this season, and this season is not even in its toddler stage. But let's look at why Tiger may be so good. First there are greens hit in regulation, in which he leads the tour at 79.2%.

In other words, almost eighty percent of the time, Tiger is putting himself in position to do something spectacular with his putter. It's safe to say that almost half the time he does.

Second, there is scoring average and Tiger, at 68.3 ranks third behind Tom Lehman and Ernie Els. It stands to reason if you go low, you can win. But do these statistics really describe why Tiger Woods is the best player in the world, and may easily become the best player ever? Not even close.

Tiger Woods has the unique power to do something that English philosopher William James described hundreds of years ago: power to will. Down seven strokes with eight holes to play at Pebble Beach, and Woods had probably already made up his mind the night before that he was going to win.

Imagine that kind of control over you life, that you are so supremely confident of what you can do, and so acutely aware of what you need to do, that you can make it happen. Just think if you could apply this technique to your golfing game, or at the bar when that slew of hotties walks in during girls night out.

I was never really a Tiger Woods fan, but now I am.

Tiger Woods will not break Byron Nelson's record of 11 straight victories, because statistically, it just can't happen. It stands to reason that if Tiger can will himself to victory, then some other player over the next few weeks will will himself to a win as well, and the streak will be over.

But rest assured, Tiger will not lose because a "course does not set up well for him", or because his confidence has dipped a bit. Woods will lose because he is, after all, human, and is subject to some of the same laws of probability that we 20 handicappers face.

But one thing is for sure. Sometimes, Tiger decides that he is not, and when he does, he becomes my favorite golfer in the world.

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of from 1997 to 2003.

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