Tiger Woods shared a few thoughts for the critics this past weekend at the Honda Classic. Simply put, Woods stated that those that have criticized his swing in the past, and Rory McIlroy these days, "don't understand the game of golf."
The interview from ASAP Sports after the second round dived into numerous topics surrounding Tiger's play at the Honda Classic (where he eventually finished T-37). However, the most interesting aspect of the interview had to do with criticisms he's faced in the past and what's facing newfound Nike stablemate Rory McIlroy, who walked off the course and quit because his play sucked of a dodgy wisdom tooth on Friday. Here's the entire exchange:
Q. After Rory's withdrawal today, could you give us some insight into what it feels like to have everything you do and say analyzed to death and how he must be feeling right now?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know how he's feeling. But I do understand how that last part is, yeah.
Q. When you're going through swing changes in 2008 and 2004 and there was a lot of criticism, you didn't really say anything too much about it, you just got to the end result instead. Is that hard not to fight back on the choice to change clubs?
TIGER WOODS: Well, that's just because people don't understand. Most of the people that are commentating or analyzing don't understand the game of golf, so I didn't have a problem with it.
Q. Is there a temptation at all to want to ‑‑
TIGER WOODS: Well, they don't see it. They don't see the range sessions and they don't see the practice at home. Plus, they generally don't understand the game, especially at this level.
Pretty blunt, right?
Tiger may have a point that golf critics don't see all of the work that goes in behind the scenes, but to claim that these individuals don't understand the game entirely goes out of bounds - well, at least in some cases. Who exactly is he talking about though? Announcers? Writers? Random fans on Twitter? The last dig at those who "don't understand the game of golf" is especially harsh and something of a blanket statement.
If anything, the terse quotes show how sensitive Woods has and can be with the media. One has to wonder whether or not he was trying to dismiss criticism of golfers as a whole and deflect some scrutiny away from McIlroy after he quit. McIlroy and Woods are now Nike cohorts after all. If anything, it's an interesting test case for how the two most notable golfers in the world approach criticism. While Woods has always been very protective of his image and his game and selective with what he reveals to the media, McIlroy has already spoken at length about the mistake he made walking off the course and talked openly about the criticism he's faced.
Either way, maybe it is really best to let your game do the talking.