A Man Who Really Loves Golf

Manuel de los Santos grew up in the Dominican Republic, where he played baseball from a young age and was planning to turn professional. But a motorcycle accident changed his life forever when he lost his left leg above the knee.

Following this accident, he moved to France and on seeing the film, ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’, he was inspired to take up golf. Now 26 years old, Manuel lives in Paris and plays to a handicap of just three, competing in high profile tournaments all around the world. His extraordinary golf swing has become instantly recognisable.

Peter Montgomery read about Manuel at the end of 2009 and had the idea of making a film about him. This short documentary portrait is the result.

The Magazine Cover Jinx Hits Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods’s image as a clean-living sports icon is in tatters – adding irony to the front cover of Golf Digest magazine’s January issue, which went to press before the sex scandal broke.

Tiger Woods on the cover of Golf Digest advising Obama

This is another chapter in a long history of magazine covers signaling a major trend change. For example, Business Week picked Enron as the most successful business in American just before it disintegrated. Being on the cover of Sport Illustrated has seemingly jinxed athletes and teams many times.

Magazine cover appearances may signal the Peak of Hubris for the fallen idols.

Link: Best man speech could draw Tiger Woods out of hiding – Times Online.

The magazine features a mocked-up picture of Woods acting as caddie to President Obama, to illustrate an article headlined “10 Tips Obama can take from Tiger.” The feature, now causing some embarrassment at Golf Digest, suggests that the President, struggling to turn around a recession, could learn the art of “the quick recovery” from the famously adept golfer.

“Woods is a good role model…because he has always been able to pull himself together after setbacks,” it notes, also observing: “Woods never does anything that would make himself look ridiculous.”

I doubt that Obama will be getting any advice from Tiger.

Tiger Woods’ Mother – Tida Woods Does It Her Way

Jaime Diaz at Golf Digest magazine traveled through Thailand with Tida Woods. She doesn't give interviews, but Jaime found out a lot about her in their travels. She had a tough childhood and she balances toughness and love in her own unique way. Click on the link below to read about a very interesting woman who has raised an amazing son.

Link: Tida In Thailand: Golf Digest Magazine.

Tida Woods with Tiger

This was a 550-pound adult male tiger at Thailand's Tiger Temple, out on an alarmingly exposed area at the bottom of a rocky canyon with only a frail Buddhist monk in a flimsy orange robe holding a stick as her guardian. By most accounts, the monastery does an admirable job of "imprinting" tigers to be comfortable with human contact, and thousands from around the world visit every year without reported incidents. This tiger, along with about a dozen others within a 50-foot radius monitored by other monks, was deep into his mid-afternoon nap. 

…Without hesitation, she sidled up to the beast, kneeled down and stroked its back. After a few moments, she shifted herself toward his face with what Cesar Millan of "Dog Whisperer" fame would call "good energy." Lowering into a sitting position, she scooted forward and, yes, lifted the tiger's head into her lap. And as time stopped for her traveling companions, she happily kept it there for more than a minute.

"Tida" is an animal lover who indulges four big dogs at her home in Southern California, and as a native Thai, the tiger holds an exalted station with her.

via Bill Kruger

Better Tomorrows

The greatest thing about tomorrow is, I will be better than I am today. And that’s how I look at my life. I will be better as a golfer, I will be better as a person, I will be better as a father, I will be a better husband, I will be better as a friend. That’s the beauty of tomorrow. There is no such thing as a setback. The lessons I learn today I will apply tomorrow, and I will be better.

Tiger Woods

Link: ESPN – The year of living dangerously – Golf

Tiger wins golf tournaments with an arsenal of strengths, but behind it all is the power of his mind.

The 10 greatest seasons in golf history

Click on the link below to see why.

Link: ESPN – The 10 greatest seasons in golf history – Golf

1. Byron Nelson, 1945

2. Tiger Woods, 2000

3. Bobby Jones, 1930

4. Ben Hogan, 1953

5. Annika Sorenstam, 2002

6. Ryan Moore, 2004

7. Mickey Wright, 1963

8. Jack Nicklaus, 1972

9. Arnold Palmer, 1960

Tiger Woods and Jimi Hendrix: Artists

I agree with Bomani Jones at ESPN (excerpts below): Tiger Woods is an artist using golf clubs, like Jimi Hendrix used his guitar to make music. Sadly, Jimi didn’t achieve success until he was 23 and he died at age 27, so we only have four years of his work to enjoy.

Link: ESPN.com: Page 2 : Tiger couldn’t quite deliver this time

…I don’t watch golf for sport. I watch golf for Tiger; he transcended sport a long time ago. He’s still not the Gandhi-like figure his dad, Earl Woods, thought he would become. Yet it doesn’t even feel right to compare him to towering athletic greats like Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky. Instead, he’s an artist nonpareil.

The most comparable figure to Woods is Jimi Hendrix. Like Jimi on the guitar, Tiger has an instinctive feel for the game that makes him a virtuoso, one who makes everything look easy. Add to that the power and intensity that gives his game its unmistakable soul and personality, and it’s easy to see he’s the Jimi of the 21st century — he’s better at what he does than anyone else on Earth.

(If you don’t know Jimi’s music, check out this link: Jimi at Woodstock).

Looking at Tiger as an artist makes it OK for me to watch golf only if Tiger is playing. Rooting for him isn’t like rooting for the house in blackjack. It’s rooting for Hendrix or The Beatles in ’68, Stevie Wonder in ’78, Prince in ’85 or OutKast today.

It’s not cheering for "the genius." It’s cheering for "genius." It’s hoping for continued greatness — wanting to be treated to another classic, to be blown away by his ability to meet expectations that would seem unrealistic if they had not been met so many times before, and to see it done in a new way.

Tiger had that chance on Sunday. He had never come from behind on Sunday at Augusta. His final rounds at the Masters have been more about coronation than competition. But this one could have been different. And when he led after two holes, it seemed like another classic was on its way.

But it wasn’t.

His first 12 holes were uneventful, if not boring. Breaking his 4-iron on the 10th made for an interesting replay, but that was about it. Tiger didn’t play badly. He didn’t play well. He just played.

It wasn’t until the 13th that things got good. Woods trailed Johnson by three strokes, and he needed an eagle on 13 to have a realistic chance to win. His approach shot had to get near the cup, or Tiger’s tournament essentially would have been over. So what did he do? He hit a shot that looked like something from the golf equivalent of H-O-R-S-E — over the creek, past the hole, roll back real slow, three feet from the cup.

Ever bought a CD from your favorite artist, listened to half of it without hearing a single track worth repeating, and then been blown away out of nowhere by one stunning verse or solo? That shot on 13 was that solo, that brilliant moment which gave hope that expectations would be met — that something memorable would happen, that Tiger would blow us away again. That he wouldn’t disappoint.

But disappoint is exactly what he did.

Is that unfair? Of course. Sheesh, Tiger finished second in a major. That’s pretty darn good. But from guys like Tiger, pretty good just doesn’t feel right.

Tiger’s Short Putt Practice Tip

Here’s a putting tip from Tiger. Will he be able to do this drill when he’s 50?

Source: Official Website for Tiger Woods

Pay attention to short putts

At the Cialis Western Open this year, I decided to spend a little extra time on my putting and began using an old drill on the practice green.

I placed two tees in the ground slightly wider than my putter, on a level lie about three feet from the hole. Using six balls, I hit 12 putts with my right hand only, then six with both hands. I continued this exercise until I made 100 straight. If I missed, I started over.

I did this before and after each round and found that it really helped me on the course with my short putts. Gradually, I moved the tees back to about four feet from the hole. I continued this practice routine at my next few tournaments and missed about five putts out of 4,000, which is pretty good. It’s a great drill to keep you paying attention. You’d be surprised how sharp your focus becomes when the consequence is starting over.