Now that Major League Baseball seems to have grasped a handle on its past steroid problems, the 2010 season is the year of the pitcher. Yes, pitching is back in baseball and monster hitting and yearlong homerun contests are a thing of the past.
A similar trend on the PGA Tour can be seen as well. Instead of pitching, a level field of competition is back in golf. After an unassuming victory by Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa last weekend in the Open Championship at St. Andrews and a victory by Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell at Pebble Beach a few weeks ago, it is apparent that the sport is not being dominated anymore by a sex-crazed and (possibly) steroid-charged Tiger Woods.
Pro golf and its competitiveness have changed since Tiger’s fateful post-Thanksgiving car wreck last year that led to countless raunchy cheating stories. Tiger is no longer top dog and may not be for quite some time. (To Tiger’s credit, he was competitive in the Masters when he tied for fourth.) Is his fall from grace on the golf course due to his impending divorce with Elin Nordegren and the fact that his marriage is in the sewer? Or is it because he is constantly under a spotlight of skepticism and he isn’t able to do the things he used to do to win – like HGH or some form of steroids? What we do know is that Tiger is not the golf course God he once was.
There have been rumors of allegations that Tiger Woods has used HGH or steroids. None of them has gained any traction, but looking at Tiger’s actions in the past there seems to be some smoke to that allegation. And usually, when there is smoke there is fire.
I first started thinking about Tiger’s possible HGH/steroid use while listening to ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd a couple of months back. Cowherd described Tiger’s behavior and how it may point to some sort of enhancement drug use. Tiger was up late at night constantly lifting weights. He couldn’t sleep. He had a tremendous sexual appetite that had him looking for sexual fixes during all hours of the night. (I recommend reading Vanity Fair’s two-part series on Tiger’s women, it’s as smutty as it gets.) He was a machine and a damned good golfer – possibly the best there has ever been. Tiger’s behavior would simply point to the notion that he was on something.
And then there is the New York Times report that Woods had been treated by the Toronto-based doctor Anthony Galea, who was charged with a U.S. criminal complaint last May for conspiracy, smuggling, distributing HGH, and introducing an unapproved drug into interstate commerce. Woods was interviewed by federal authorities investigating the doctor last month, according to The Associated Press, but no further investigation into Woods’ relationship with the doctor has been reported.
Finally, there is the pending divorce settlement between Woods and Nordegren, and it too points to the notion that Woods used something to achieve greatness. According to TMZ, the two have agreed to a deal where Nordegren will receive $100 million, plus child support in exchange for her silence.
Silence? We already heard all the details about his sexual exploits didn’t we? The world already knows that Tiger can’t say no to every waitress, porn star and glamour girl that hits on him. What is it that he must pay $100 million to Nordegren to keep silent about? It isn’t worth paying for more silence on his sexual life, but it is worth it to keep her silent about steroid or HGH use.
Yes, Tiger wants to keep Elin silent on something much bigger than sex. To me, this dollar figure says it all. Tiger has more skeletons in the closet that he can’t have publicized, and it could just be use of HGH. That would be the biggest scandal in his life.
His significant drop in at least being a contender since his return, combined with everything I have already mentioned, certainly points to the notion that the Tiger of today is not the same as the Tiger of the pre-Thanksgiving wreck. I do believe a lot of that is mental, but I also believe that a lot of it is physical. His body is not what it once was.
“Some people have made up things that never happened,” Woods told The Times back in February. “They said I used performance-enhancing drugs. This is completely and utterly false.”
This year was going to be Tiger’s year to grab at least two more major victories, as he has always done well at both Pebble Beach and St. Andrews. He is sitting with 14 major victories and needs five more to break Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18.
If Tiger pulls his act together in the years to come to finally beat Nicklaus’s record I wonder if we should, once again, talk about putting an asterisks text to his name because I, for one, don’t believe he is the brilliant golfer he once led us to believe he is.