It’s my firm belief that once an athlete loses his status as an intimidator, he or she most likely will never get it back. Tiger Woods once was the ultimate intimidator, despite playing a sport in which the players are competing against a course rather than one another.
His presence alone was ingrained in the other players’ mind and while Tiger was focused on the course and winning, others were focused on the course, winning and Tiger.
For years Woods appeared to be a machine. In sports terms, that means, ”Forget about it, he will win. No matter what happens Tiger Woods will win.”
This was the belief of all, until Woods was exposed to us as just a man, not Superman or Batman or even Tigerman. Nope, just a man.
Here’s the best comparison I can give so follow me on this. I’m a dog owner, and I had an invisible fence installed in my yard. A training process convinced my dogs that they could only go so far before being shocked. Well, after a while, I didn’t have to put on their special collars because they knew where the invisible lines were in the yard. They would walk close but would never breech the boundary.
One day, one of the dogs was chasing a squirrel and went past the boundary of the invisible fence. He panicked, stopped chasing the squirrel, threw his tail between his legs and got back on the other side very quickly. But the damage was done: He didn’t get shocked, and he knew it. Sure enough, when all six of my dogs were in the yard playing, I looked out the window, and all of them had ventured off well beyond the point they had been trained to stay behind.
The same applies to the field of players competing in the Masters. For so long, Tiger had trained his competition to stay behind that invisible fence, but after everything that has taken place with Woods since November 2009, his competition has moved beyond that barrier, shock free. It doesn’t exist any more; players believe and know they can win even with Tiger Woods in the field.
So if Woods is to win more majors, it will have to come by way of outright skill, because the days of the intimidation factor are long gone.