The 2010 World Golf Championships Bridgestone tournament starts today at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio — with Tiger Woods in the field. Tiger has won this tournament more than any other — he has an astonishing seven wins in this event. And, in the ten starts Tiger has had in this event, when he hasn’t won he has finished T2, 4, and T4. The man flat-out owns this tournament.
But get this — Tiger is 79th on the PGA Tour money list this year. That’s almost laughable. He hasn’t won a single tournament, has a 71.2 scoring average, and only has 2 top tens. In other words, Tiger Woods has sucked this year.
As I wrote this headline, I had an epiphany of sorts — “groove” really refers more to Tiger’s swing, finding the elusive on-plane slot in the swing, and the technical aspects of Tiger’s golf game. He hasn’t done that yet, but he’ll get there. He’s not far off. But what Tiger really needs back is his “swag” — it seems to have all but disappeared.
So what exactly is “swag?” Is it quantifiable?
Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines “swagger” as: “Conducting oneself in an arrogant or superciliously pompous manner; especially : to walk with an air of overbearing self-confidence.”
Moving on to a slightly more credible source, Urban dictionary defines “swag” as: “The way in which you carry yourself. Swag is made up of your overall confidence, style, and demeanor. Swag can also be expanded to be the reputation of your overall swagger. You gain swag, or “Swag up”, by performing swag worthy actions that improve this perception. A person can also “swag down,” by being an overall pussy and garnering negative swag for their actions. Swag is a subtle thing that many strive to gain but few actually attain. It is reserved for the most swagalicious of people. Swag can also be quantified, with point systems existing in some circles of friends.”
“I got with two girls last night”
“Awesome dude, that’s some swag”
“I think one of them was my sister though…”
I personally like to credit rapper TI with introducing me to “swag” — he drops the word about 100 times on his Paper Trail album. The moral of the “swag” story is this — Tiger used to have it, but he no longer does. It’s evident in his interviews, it’s evident in his on-course body language. Tiger used to literally win tournaments just by walking into locker rooms. Other players would psych themselves out, and Tiger would cruise to victory. This is well documented, with big name players such as Ernie Els admitting that they fell victim to Tiger’s swag. In retrospect, maybe Tiger’s swag didn’t have much to do with his golf game. Maybe it came from his millions of dollars, his Swedish bikini model wife, and his onslaught of other sexual conquests.
Whatever its source, Tiger needs to find a way to get his swag back. He simply is not intimidating players as he was before. So how does he do that? I’m not sure if he can, but getting back in the winner’s circle this week would sure help.
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