Springtime at the Masters, and the wind wasn't the only thing bringing impediments to the hallowed grounds of Augusta National. Like all of us, pro golfers have to jump hurdles every day in life, the kind that are not so loose and easily brushed aside.
Freddie has his back issues, Phil carries concerns about his wife's health, and Tiger brings his history of, well, all of that. These issues can't be tossed aside so easily like a piece of pine tree in the line of a putt. As Tiger Woods returned to competitive golf, the wonder of the Masters became clouded by doubt for some, and sprinkled with hope for others. But the skies quickly gave way to warmth and sunshine as golf fans welcomed him back with few penalties.
The question that began this Masters was, "Will humiliation impede Tiger's mental game?" It didn't, but his temper did. Anger creates stress, stress creates tension, and tension impedes motion. Phil didn't appear too upset when a pollen stamen, out of nowhere, landed in his line and deflected his birdie putt on No. 3. If that happened to Tiger, we might have heard, "G-----it, pollen, you s---!"
Many players compete every week while dealing with challenges. It's tough to empty your head and make the gremlins go away, but if Tiger truly has a clear conscience now, free of all impediments, he should be able to leave behind the outbursts we've come to know him for.
Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said it best: "His future will never again be measured only by his performance against par but by the sincerity of his efforts to change." Please, Tiger, as part of your transformation, learn to accept the bad shots and show some control on the golf course. It will help the fans believe in you again, and it will help your game, too.
Come on, Tiger, learn from your behavior, and stay away from the hazards -- after all, you can't remove loose impediments in there.
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Carol Preisinger is director of instruction at the Kiawah Golf Club in Kiawah Island, S.C.