Truth & Rumors: ESPN seeks perfection, finds Tiger

Truth & Rumors: ESPN seeks perfection, finds Tiger

Tiger on PerfectionESPN the Magazine just released its "Perfect Issue" and asked some of the best in the world to define perfection. Tiger Woods gave his take to Gene Wojciechowski:

But I think in golf you can attain a special excellence, for sure. What I love about golf — what I think we all love about it — is the challenge. The game is not a game of perfection, it's a game of misses. I guess you could say it's a perfect game played by imperfect people. But that's the beauty and the art of playing this game.

Surprisingly, I found Tiger's essay to be a great read. I think it's the way he describes his "perfect shot."

I don't know if I've ever hit a perfect shot, but probably the most solid shot I've hit was during the second round of the PGA Championship at Hazeltine in 2002. I hit a 3-iron out of the left side of the left bunker on 18. My heels were dug in against the lip and I had to get the ball up over the lip, over the trees, hook it and, on top of that, you had a pretty stiff left-to-right wind. Luckily, it ended up on the green.

It's amazing to me that Tiger can't think of a single shot in his career that he thinks of as "perfect," since it seems like barely a round of his went by in the past decade without a commentator (correctly) describing one of his shots that way. Still, one has to wonder at the advisability of connecting their "perfect" brand with one of 2010's most imperfect athletes. But, as Tiger himself says, "Golf…life–well, we're inherently flawed. We're all human." Back to SchoolPGA Tour Q-School gets under way this week, and the ever-resourceful Stephanie Wei of is on the scene kicking the tires on one of my favorite events.

Just a few miles down the road from the site of this week’s PGA Tour Q-School, Orange County National, there’s one of the many massive welcome signs to the Walt Disney World Resort emblazoned with the slogan “Where Dreams Come True.” For the 166 (minus the dozen or so PGA Tour veterans) relative unknowns, faceless mini tour players or just-turned pros within six rounds of achieving a lifetime’s goal, it’s a preface to the week less sappy and overwrought than it is deadly serious.
We hear similar storylines every year, but what’s the atmosphere like the day before it starts? Surprisingly, rather relaxed in a zoo-like way. Call it the calm before the storm. And how about the mentality of the players? Cool and collected, for now.

Wei has some great quotes from a few Q-School vets giving it another go, but Scott Piercy (136th on the money list) steals the show with his somewhat…cavalier attitude.

Asked about his mentality, Piercy replied half-jokingly, “To finish the tournament. It’s six days, it’s such a marathon. By Friday, you’re like this is such BS.
“It’s definitely a different mentality than when I came here with no status than now when I don’t care. I don’t know if it gets easier. Generally speaking, the cream rises to the top and hopefully you call me the cream this week. I’m the one who’s been on Tour. It’s kind of like, these (other) guys have to catch up to me sort of thing. I had a terrible year and I’m still on Tour.
“When you first turn pro, you’re just happy to be here. I don’t really care. If I play good, then great. If I don’t, then I don’t care. I’m kind of over golf (right now). It’s been a rough year.
“Everybody is out here grinding and I’m like, [email protected]&#, I just want to go home.”

Who doesn't love a golfer who actually tells it like it is? Other than his agent, of course. LPGA Changes Gender RulesThere have been rumors swirling for the last few weeks that the LPGA has been looking into changing its so-called "female at birth" clause, in response to a pending lawsuit from transgendered golfer Lana Lawless. According to The Golf Channel's Randall Mell, while the details are still being worked out, the change became official on Tuesday.

The LPGA voted a monumental change to its constitutional bylaws Tuesday that will no longer require its members to be “female at birth.”
The move to amend the bylaws to allow transgender membership was easily passed in a vote in a players meeting at the Grand Cypress Hyatt just down the road from the site of this week’s LPGA Tour Championship…
Michelle Ellis, the LPGA president, confirmed that commissioner Mike Whan and the LPGA Board of Player Directors recommended the change to the bylaws. The change was a direct response to a lawsuit filed on Oct. 12 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco…
Lana Lawless, a 57-year-old retired police officer who had gender-reassignment surgery five years ago, filed the suit, alleging her civil rights were violated when the LPGA “rejected” her application for tour membership. Lawless also filed suit against the Long Drivers of America, alleging that organization adopted the LPGA’s “female at birth” rule to exclude her participation. Lawless won the women’s world long drive championship in 2008 but was ruled ineligible to participate this year. She once played to a 1-handicap as an amateur.

What's present in this story isn't nearly as conspicuous as what's absent. You're not going to find any grand statements about civil liberties or fairness and equality. Make no mistake about it, the LPGA was strong-armed into this change, and they're not hiding it.

“Mike explained the situation, and players understood what had to be done,” Ellis said. “There isn’t a lot more we can say about it right now. We’re trying to handle this the best we can.”

In the end the LPGA will be better off for this decision, as it brings them in line with the International Olympic Committee, the U.S. Golf Association, the Ladies European Tour and the British Ladies Golf Union, all of which have already made similar changes. It's just a pity that it took a lawsuit to get to this point, since that's just another obstacle that Lawless will have to deal with if she makes it onto the Tour. Poulter Pokes Sleeping TigerSome may find Twitter-addict Ian Poulter annoying, but at least give Poulter credit for one thing–he's fearless:

@WestwoodLee Tiger called across the putting green today & said don't you know know how to mark ur ball, I said settle down No 2

Although, if he were really brave, he would have sent that to @TigerWoods. A Fond FarewellLeslie Nielsen built a great career on straight-man looks and impeccable comic timing. Here's Nielsen doing what he did best–making a complete fool of himself for our amusement. Good night, funnyman.