[This is the third of three Tiger Woods-related pieces I will write this week. It may very well be the most important article Lanny H Golf has yet published.]
I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
— John Lennon
Let’s examine the dates of key PED news items in relation to Tiger Woods’s play.
December 14, 2009: The New York Times discloses that Tiger Woods was visited by Dr. Anthony Galea (a doping doctor and convicted felon) in Woods’s private residence.
Afterward, Woods went into an immediate slump, failing to win an event for two years, falling from #1 in the world to #52.
December 2011: Woods magically gets good again, winning his unofficial Chevron tournament. He goes on to win three times in 2012, five times in 2013, the last on August 4, 2013, just days after…
July 30, 2013: Terez Owens reports that Tiger Woods is on the Biogenesis customer list, and that Tim Finchem knows. The Biogenesis records lead to the suspension of Major League Baseball players.
Afterward, Woods enters another winless period, playing progressively worse, falling to #10 by the time of the Bridgestone, an event he had won by seven strokes the prior year. This time he could not finish the event, withdrawing during the final round, which he had started a full 15 shots behind the leader?
July 8, 2014: The book “Blood Sport” details official records showing Galea visited Woods at least fourteen times, not the four hinted at in the “four or more” put out by the Woods camp.
Afterward Woods played only the PGA Championship (missed cut) and his own unofficial tournament in December (finishing last). In 2015, Woods played the Phoenix Open, displaying what appears to be the chipping “yips” and finishing last in the 132-man field.
Let’s summarize: Woods is playing great. The first Dr. Galea story breaks. Woods’s game falls apart for a full two years. Woods suddenly (mysteriously? magically?) finds his game again in 2012 (3 wins) and 2013 (5 wins by August 4) The Biogenesis story breaks. Woods’s health (and game) quickly goes into decline, with no additional wins in 2013 or in the first half of 2014. He gets an operation on his back. Blood Sport discloses there were at least fourteen visits (not four or five) from Dr. Galea and 49 more from Mark Lindsey, Dr. Galea’s assistant. Woods’s game falls into total disarray, leading to the 82 and last place finish at Phoenix — and diagnoses of “the yips.”
The picture I see is this. Tim Finchem, bending over backward, forcing himself to believe the unbelievable from Woods, loses his patience with Woods in the face of more and more revelations of Woods’s links to PED doctors.
Terez Owens reported that Finchem knew Woods’s name was on the Biogenesis list in the summer of 2013. At that time, did Finchem tell Woods “enough is enough.” Then, a year later, the book Blood Sports discloses Woods had seen Galea not four or more times, but at least fourteen, with those 49 from Lindsay. Perhaps Woods had sworn up and down to Finchem that it was just four or five. Finchem, tired of covering for Woods might have said, “Buddy, I’m washing my hands of you. If I so much as think you are using again, I’m going to blow the whistle on all your PED records.”
Finchem only has to announce a player is a known PED user if Finchem suspends him, and Finchem has complete control over whether or not a player is suspended.
Woods’s recent manifestation of the yips reminds me of the effect PEDs can have on a player’s confidence. Remember what Jose Canseco wrote in his book, Juiced:
“The first thing you will notice is an increase in strength,” I would tell them. “But you won’t see much difference at the beginning. You’ll feel it, though, and that’ll give you a psychological edge.
And this, in a very recent news report from Fusion:
Testosterone is not just any drug. […] Users report increased energy, more muscle mass, decreased body fat, greater sex drive, and a general sense of well-being.
Which of those did Woods have in his heyday? Which does he now lack?