How Tiger is a lot like Mike

September 16, 2009

I couldn't help but think about Tiger Woods when I listened last weekend to Michael Jordan's induction speech at the Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony. Jordan talked about how he drew motivation from so many different things, like comments that fired him up, perceived snubs and doubts, anything to get an edge.

Woods is no different. We saw it last week. People wondered what's wrong after a three-event winless drought, and he won the BMW Championship by eight strokes.

Jack Nicklaus had a little of that, too. Lee Trevino used to say, "Don't wake up the Bear! Let me sleep! Keep him in hibernation!"

Woods wins the BMW by eight and his first-place lead over Steve Stricker shrinks from 1,504 points to 250. That's because of a points reset to ensure drama at the season-ending Tour Championship, which was played under the cloud of boring anticlimax last year. This time, any of the top 5 in reset points would claim the FedEx Cup with a victory at East Lake.

In other words, a Tour that thrives on the free-enterprise system is relying on government intervention to make things interesting.

It is what it is. As said before is this space, if we are to wrap our minds around the FedEx playoffs, it's necessary to focus on the word playoffs rather than the season-long process. The New England Patriots went 18-0 but then didn't win the Super Bowl.

Woods could finish the year 1-1-2-2-11-1-2 and lose the Cup to someone registering his first win in more than two years (Jim Furyk). It's an imperfect system because golf and playoffs don't fit perfectly.

Playoff madness. Catch it!