Thursday Reading Room -- Golf Digest: Tiger Woods: "What Happened?"

Published: December 23 2009 | 8:55 pm - Updated: 30 March 2014 | 4:10 pm in
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As I assemble this, the Mountain West Conference is about to secure its second bowl win in two nights against the Pacific-10 Conference. BYU beat Oregon State soundly Monday night in Las Vegas, and Utah clipped California Tuesday in San Diego.

So, who's so sure Oregon will run wild and free against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl? Of course, it's not like Ohio State is from a football league like the Mountain West.

Anyway, it's not exactly Christmas-ey (yes, that's a word), but here's a very interesting, thoughtful Golf Digest piece on the decline and fall of Tiger Woods by a writer who has perhaps had as much access to Woods as any over the years, Jaime Diaz. Excerpts:

Woods became golf's Atlas, carrying everything -- the PGA Tour, his near-flawless image as a role model, his foundation, his family; heck, the game itself -- on his shoulders, all on top of the unceasing pressure to perform.

But as much as he sought the glory, he resented the obligations that came with it, even if they made him incredibly rich. I remember (his father) Earl telling me that once he had tried to commiserate with his overwrought son by saying, "I understand how you feel."

But, Earl recalled, "Tiger turned on me and said, 'No, you don't. You have no idea how I feel.' And I realized that I had underestimated." . . .

Last year was probably the most uncomfortable I've ever seen Woods. Coming off eight months of intense rehab for his left knee that didn't produce full healing, he was noticeably irritable. The fact that a witness in the police report after Tiger's accident said that Woods had been prescribed Vicodin, a strong prescription painkiller, gives pause. And it's not unreasonable to assume that his marriage was unhappy for quite some time.

Whatever the reasons, at times he was uncharacteristically rude. One of the telling images of the year came after he bounced his driver into the crowd in Australia. After fans retrieved the club, Woods took it without so much as a glance, let alone an apology. . . .

"It's not uncommon for an adult son, after losing his father, to be particularly susceptible to reckless behavior," says Neil Chethik, author of the book FatherLoss. "The specter of death and mortality can leave a man feeling that you only go around once, and so how do you enjoy it the most? Men can give in to whatever excess they are most vulnerable to. It could be drinking, or gambling, or sex. It's more complicated for a megastar like Tiger because he can't really have a normal private life. Everything is so exposed. He can really only have a secret life."

It is also possible that on a deep level, Woods simply wanted out of an unsustainable life. As an architect of his destruction, his efficiency was on par with how he navigates a golf course.

Back to the all-consuming Orange Bowl matchup that is less than two weeks away.

Here's an October piece on Paul Johnson and his Georgia Tech triple option offense. Will it become the new chic offense in college football, or not?

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads tried without much success to defend Navy's spread

option when he was defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh two years ago. The father of the spread option, Paul Johnson, was coaching Navy then, and the Midshipmen rolled up 497 yards.

Johnson now coaches 11th-ranked Georgia Tech, which ran on 71 of 79 plays while beating Virginia Tech 34-9 last Saturday.

"I don't care what level of football," Rhoads said, "that offense has a chance to be successful and it could indeed be more commonplace as we move forward."

Texas' Brown said he's not so sure fans would accept the spread option because they have been so accustomed to the excitement of passing offenses.

There also is another drawback, he said: "Would you be able to come from behind if you got down three touchdowns?"

LSU led Georgia Tech 35-3 at halftime of last season's Chick-fil-A Bowl. The final was 38-3. Tech had to throw a lot in the second half because of its deficit. That didn't work.

Iowa fans aren't the only Mediacom subscribers who face the possibility of missing a football game that matters to them after Dec. 31 because of the shenanigans (that's a nice word for it) of Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Mediacom has cable service in Alabama. And Sinclair owns WEAR-TV in Pensacola, Fla., which includes south Alabama in its coverage area. The news comes from this story.

Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn announced this week he was returning to Iowa for his senior season of school and football. But what about Hawkeye juniors Bryan Bulaga and Amari Spievey?

Well, neither the offensive tackle or the cornerback are in Mel Kiper Jr.'s Top 25 players for the 2010 draft, at What that means, I don't know.

Clayborn was one of nine Hawkeyes who showed up for a Monday pre-Miami session with reporters. Bulaga and Spievey weren't there, and Bulaga was a regular at the weekly Tuesday interviews during the season. What means, I don't know, either.

Finally, a photograph to get you in the mood for the Orange Bowl if you're of the Hawkeye persuasion.

Matt Engelbert, the Iowa football video coordinator, snapped the following photo of the team's equipment truck getting ready to depart Iowa City Tuesday afternoon. Destination: Miami. Estimated time of arrival: Friday morning. The owner/driver is Mike Riggan, the president of TanTara Transportation in Muscatine.

The team departs the Eastern Iowa Airport Sunday for south Florida.

You may recognize a head football coach who has his back turned toward the camera.


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