NPR: Woods Nears Crucible of Masters

"Superintelligent people can't be good athletes," Coach McGuire said. "They're too aware."

And if there is one thing we have learned about Woods, it is what little awareness he possesses — otherwise, please, sir, explain all those guileless text messages. Rusty he may be at Augusta, but why should we think self-consciousness will hinder him?
When we think of great athletes we think of determination, dedication and focus. The greatest among the great are the ones who can shut everything out, banish the yips, and make the clutch shots. The greatest perform their best under the greatest pressure. They come up the impossible strokes, shots, kicks, and putts in improbably ways that puts rest any doubts to their genius.

James Surowiecki in the New Yorker(Branded a Cheat) pointed out a subtler difference in the case of Tiger Woods as compared to troubles of Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez. He writes, "Woods’s appeal was based, ultimately, not on his physical abilities but on his mental toughness, his extraordinary capacity for focus and discipline". No wonder consulting companies like Accenture wanted Woods to endorse their brand. Woods might have tougher time in his second act because his lack of responsibility contradicts his greatest perceived gifts.

While there may be ups and downs in financial incentives for Tiger, the fact still remains that the public is hungry for more of Tiger Woods on the golf course. For his part, Tiger knows nothing better than how to hit a golf ball. There are so questions on how he will perform in light of all these scandals. I think it will not make any difference. The greatest can compartmentalize things and focus to a degree that we cannot imagine. Clearly, they aren't the deepest thinkers or the most reflective people. Such a quality hinders the ability to brush off a bad putt, or a missed stroke to affect subsequent plays. I am positive that the moment that Tiger lines up his shot on the first hole in Augusta, that's all he's going to be thinking of.
The rest of the hoopla is created for our entertainment cause we think so much. And because we think so much we end up in the stands applauding.

The NPR story ended thus:
With celebrities — which is what athletes have become — sex is just so noisy now, and for us, in this culture, no matter how many more championships Woods wins, he'll always remain, in the fullest sense of the phrase, a sex symbol.

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