Thursday, February 12, 2015

Some Advice for Tiger Woods: Get Jivometric

As some of you may know, Tiger Woods, one of the finest golfers in the world, is having a rough time. He just shot his worst professional game ever and has taken an open-ended leave from the game. Writing in The New York Times, Karen Crouse, suggests that he have some fun:
Every day he should play at least 18 holes, preferably with friends, and let his imagination run loose. He should throw balls into the woods and try to curve shots around trees. He should purposely hit from the fairway of one hole to the green of another — surely, no one at his home course, the Medalist, will mind — to infuse his routine with fun.

Instead of looking at his swing on a video monitor, Woods needs to picture shots in his head and then playfully try to duplicate them. No pressure, all process. As soon as he deflects the focus from the results, he’ll experience success, and his confidence will return like long-lost paparazzi.

Woods could do worse than making the drive from Jupiter, Fla., to Miami to play a few rounds with Lucy Li, who competed in last year’s United States Women’s Open at age 11. She talked about how her coach, Jim McLean, kept golf fun by having her hit while balancing on one leg or using one hand.
Astute students of the game will recognize this as a return to the game's fundamental in Ancient Nubia. The following account has been passed down through the ages at the annual retreats of that most royal and ancient of secret societies, The Order of Mystic Jewels for the Propagation of Grace, Right Living, and Saturday Night through Historic Intervention by Any Means Necessary:
... the most significant differences between the ancient and modern games involved the finely-tuned geometric judgment and kinematic finesse of greens play. The ancients mastered putting so quickly that the rules had to be changed to make putting even more difficult. Inspired by Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks routine, the rules committee, officially called the Jive Adjudicators and Soul Satisficers (JASS), required that all putts be executed while the player is standing on only one leg, with alternation from one leg to the other being required from one green to the next. When that became too easy they decided that all putts less than a meter long were to be executed from a headstand position. On the front nine players were required hold the putter in one hand only, their choice, using the other hand to maintain balance. On the middle nine they were required to hold the putter in both hands. The concentration and balance thus required taxed the ability of even those magnificent athletes. The JASS decided that those with a handicap above 13 were allowed to use a head ring to help them maintain stability. On the back nine players were required to use both hands for balance and support and to execute the stroke with their legs, which were bent from the hips so that they stood out at a right angle from the body. The caddy would then place the putter between the player's knees and the player would execute the stroke with a twisting movement starting in the torso and continuing to the legs. In time, as knowledge of the game made its way to India, meandering from village to village, town to town, and city to city, the system of putting postures became separated from golf itself and evolved into the spiritual practice of Hatha Yoga. But that's another story, to be told at another time, in another place.

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