Tiger’s Path to Recovery

Ronald Mann
GolfPsych Instructor
Scottsdale, AZ

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The spotlight is back on Tiger. I remember Nick Faldo’s comments months ago stating that he thought Tiger should just get back into the Tour and start playing again. I think the challenge for Tiger is much greater than just not playing enough competitive golf. Tiger has a lot of personal healing work ahead of him. It would take the average person a couple of years to fully recover from what he has lost: family, love, respect, and an unshakeable belief in himself.  Tiger being Tiger, he could make it in half the time.

Tiger had a sense of self that was invincible. He and everyone else thought he was unbeatable. He believed he could do whatever he wanted. His ego was inflated because of success, wealth and power. He lost touch with his inner core. He lost the connection with his soul and his core values. Once his life came crashing down, he lost the psychological inflation that sustained him. His identity was shattered. You could see him on TV months ago. He looked fragile, ashamed, tentative and unsure. His self-image was devastated. 

Golf performance is dramatically affected by one’s emotional state. Tiger must reconnect with a deeper sense of being and identity. He lost a tremendous amount of love and respect. To fully bounce back and recover he must find a sense of self that is grounded in his soul and not on his behavior or performance. He will have to make peace with his wife and family.

This process of spiritual/psychological reconstruction does not happen overnight. There is no way to predict how long it will take Tiger to do this. I believe that Tiger has a depth of inner strength and awareness that will speed up this process. His Buddhist path is important to him because it provides a foundation for this recovery. Meditation is a vehicle for personal awakening and grounding into one’s core.

I am writing this on the opening day of the US Open. We will see how he does in this important tournament. It is impossible for me to predict how long Tiger’s recovery will take because I do not have access to his private life. His performance this week (and you will already know the results by the time you read this column) will give us a better understanding of his hidden reserves and his path to recovery.
We all get tested in life. It is how we recover that can define us. I wish him the best in this process and hope the public has the patience and understanding to support him however long it takes.

Dr. Ron Mann is a Peak Performance Coach who integrates a mind/body/spirit for mastering all of life’s challenges. He is the author of the LA Times Bestseller, Integrating Spirituality with Psychotherapy, The Yoga of Golf, and the audio CD Find the Zone II: Master the Mental Game of Golf. His latest book, Bouncing Back: How to Recover When Life Knocks You Down is now available online at Amazon.com. You can contact him at mannr@ronmann.com or 602.687.7644. Please visit his website www.ronmann.com for more free materials.