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Why Tiger Woods Return is Assured

Updated on February 3, 2010

So He's Human After all

Tiger with his Mom and family at dedication of the stature of his father at the Tiger Woods Foundation
Tiger with his Mom and family at dedication of the stature of his father at the Tiger Woods Foundation

His Secret Makes His Return A Sure Thing

In spite of his stunning fall from grace, the secret of Tiger's success is still real, and we can all learn from and use it to make incredible gains in our own lives. Sometimes the deepest urges of our human nature can overpower us and bypass the strongest defenses. I have little doubt that Tiger will use his immense powers of mind to pull up from even this precipitous fall before he hits the bottom of the pit.

I've watched him lurking, stalking, crouching, pouncing since his first professional tournament, and I've watch the frustration of his opponents grow. Fran and I would watch his competitors' obvious frustration, look at each other, shake our heads and say, “They just don't get it. They don't understand how he does it and probably never will.” I'll never forget one of them saying, “I look at the schedule and play where he's doesn't.” Only one of his golfing colleagues that I know of, Phil Mickelson, said publickly, "We have a lot to learn from Tiger." Is it a coincidence that Phil is now ranked #2 in the world behind Tiger? Just recently, Phil beat Tiger, and a sports commentator asked if he was now better than Tiger. I personally don't think so, because Phil is nowhere near as consistent, but there is no question in my mind that he is definitely learning from him, and his whole life shows it.

Just about every superlative has been used to describe Tiger's play from “masterful” to “unearthly.” I've been a golfer for more than fifty years, and I can say that some of his shots are “other worldly,” and seemingly not within the capability of a normal human being. Recently, it was estimated that he has either reached or will soon reach a billion dollars in earnings and become the highest paid athlete in history. He appears happily married with two small children, and a mother he adores. He is so far ahead of most human beings that his life demands special examination, because it is not "within the norm" and has not yet been adequately explained. Yes, in the last couple of years, under the tremendous stress and strain of the death of his father and mentor and the constant intense media spotlight, he has show some weakness; but even under this incredible pressure, his performance, until now, has been exemplary. When he would lose his intense concentration and his explosive temper, I would say to my wife, "Something's going on in his personal life," but I would have never guessed what it was. Here is my take on what is going on in light of my forty years as a psychotherapist and mind explorer.

Tiger Woods is not a normal human being, because he doesn't use his mind like most humans do. Much has been written about the very significant influence of his father, Earl, but very little about what I see as the much greater contribution of his mother, Kultida, who was born and raised in Thailand. Tiger, himself, gave us a glimpse into this fundamental, core influence in a letter to the king of Thailand who had invited him to his birthday celebration. “My soul is Thai,” he wrote.

Kultida Woods has been a Buddhist since birth and so has Tiger. Living Buddhism looks to the core of the human spirit, and lives outwardly from that place of authentic power. Nothing about Buddhism is superficial; nothing is petty, nothing is egotistical, but everything is serious. Life is taken very seriously and very personally. The Tiger Woods Foundation, in my opinion, is not the result of the influence of Earl, so much as it is of Kultida Woods. It is the outward manifestation of this serious and fundamental view of life and the world. Tiger recently surprised many by saying that golf was not the most important thing in his life. Anyone who understands him would know that. But, on the flip side is that whatever he does, he will do in an exemplary fashion. His work ethic is now legendary, and none of his contemporaries outworks him. But, the work is only the application of another facet of his character that gives him the clarity to know how to work efficiently and effectively.

The secret to Tiger's steady and increasing success is at the deepest levels of his mind; so deep, that he himself may not be aware of it. This is not unusual, because who we really are is molded and expressed by all of the influences of our past that are stored at that deepest level. To look at his Buddhist influence is to look into his soul and the amazing mind power that has produced this life that is just entering its prime.Through the Buddhist model of thinking, Tiger has slipped into a new model of the mind that uses the whole mind and not just the small part of it that most of us in the western world are using. He is using a new mind that is superbly equipped to guide him in this fast-moving, ever-changing world we live in today. He uses a mind that sees the forest as well as the trees; the big picture, not just the details. This new mind not only guides his ball from the tee to the hole, but guides his life through the maze of his global business and social world. Tiger is truly a person whose mind is perfectly attuned to the rapid pace, rigorous demands, and ever-present dangers of the twenty-first century.

There is a lesson here for all of us. Our life is much more than its superficial qualities and even its worst mistakes. For better or worse, our life is designed and created by all of the deepest experiences and influences of our entire life. What is even more important to understand is that those deepest of influences can be harnessed, molded, or eliminated to create a powerhouse of true success in life, in business, in whatever we choose if we know how the mind really works and how to become its master.

In the next article in this series, I will go into more detail about specifically why Tiger is an extra-ordinary human being, and how we, too, can make use of a new mind he exemplifies to enhance our own lives.

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