Tiger Woods: Conquering Golf and Alcoholic Thinking

When it comes to certain sports, there are specific greats in the game that we all think of. Whether they are/aren’t your favorites, these are individuals that are just well known players highlighted for their accomplishments throughout their careers. Take for example, for many, basketball rings with the name Jordan or James in the background. Boxing makes us think of Muhammed Ali or Mike Tyson sometimes. Soccer threw Beckham into spotlight, amongst many other well known ball handlers. So when golf gets mentioned, undoubtedly most of us think of Tiger Woods.      

Conquering Golf

Without question, Tiger Woods is one of the greatest players to ever take on eighteen holes, and he proved this last Sunday by winning the world famous Master’s tournament once again. Joining the professional league of golf in 1996 at just 20 years old, we saw the young golfer acquire the number one position in the world rankings just a year later. He then solidified this position as the top ranked golfer of the world between August 1999 and September 2004.

During this time he won thirteen of golf’s majors, and on sixteen occasions placed in the top ten. With PGA tour events and Master’s tournaments successfully under his belt, it seemed like the sky was the limit. That is until it wasn’t.

The last decade of his life has been rather tumultuous. Having undergone divorce, multiple back surgeries, and rehabilitation, far too many were surprised to see Tiger Woods back on top this year at age 43. With only a couple additional wins to add to his roster in the last several years, the bulk of this time got to see him taking a hiatus from his legendary golfer status due to back issues. At one point he even fell out of order in the top one thousand players of the world. Underneath the celebrity status and the well earned green jackets seemed to be the storm of alcoholic thinking brewing.  

The Downfall   

What a lot of people don’t know about alcoholic thinking is that it is a mental obsession where drinking is only but a symptom of it. It’s a mindset that consumes an individual over having more of something, and that’s exactly what led to Tiger Woods’ fallout. Alcoholic thinking basically drove him to be unfaithful to his wife and would years later help him wind up with a DUI that made national headlines.  

Those whom pledge their allegiance to the putting master may say that everybody makes mistakes, but these are pretty large faux pas’. It can’t really just be swept under the rug when it affects you in the capacity it potentially could’ve and ultimately did with him. Just after the infidelity scandal, several companies re-evaluated their relationships with him including Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade and General Motors all ending their sponsorship deals with him. A December 2009 study at the time estimated the shareholder loss caused by such reached between $5 billion and $12 billion(that is not a small pocket full of change). Immediately after apologizing profusely to the public a number of times, Woods checked himself into a treatment center for sex addiction.

Fast forward years later and the infamous DUI occurs. Drinking and driving is one thing, but his toxicology report at the time showed 5 different substances in his system. Two of the substances were painkillers and sleeping pills, both known to heavily sedate people. This is fitting because Tiger was found asleep at the wheel on the road. He later admitted to an addiction with these, claiming they were attributed to his back surgeries and poor decision making, but this still didn’t give him amnesty for his offense. He was court ordered to community service and court fines, as well a DUI offender program and a year of probation. Ouch. Shortly thereafter he entered treatment for addiction services, taking recovery time for his leg/back pain too, and the rest is history.  

Conquering Alcoholic Thinking

The best part about all this trouble that seemed to be circumnavigating this young man is how he turned it all around. After his 2017 scandal and subsequently cleaning up, the golf courses of life reopened for him. We saw him professionally return in 2018 hitting the ground running and he never looked back.

Alcoholic thinking is a terrible disease that when not taken care of, will allow any individual inflicted to irrationally throw all the good parts of their life away. Tiger Woods is pure proof of it, if not hundreds of other celebrities and millions of other citizens around the world. He chose the best method for conquering alcoholic thinking in any form, and that is to first find help. None of us can outsmart alcoholic thinking, you just can’t. It’s like trying to outsmart yourself. It’s a part of you. However, there are things we can do to mute the obsessive thinking. Some of these things can be as simple as:

  • Creating healthy distractions(exercising, talking with friends, hobbies)
  • Discussing cravings with a sponsor or sober support
  • Examining the thought patterns that give strength to alcoholic thinking
  • Planning out coping strategies in advance when entering using environments
  • Attending Anonymous meetings

The list doesn’t stop there either. The revelation that Tiger Woods had, and all alcoholics must realize eventually, is that alcoholic thinking isn’t going anywhere. There isn’t any known cure for it and it’s permanent. Plain and simple. So the reality is we can live with it or die with it. Learning to cope with alcoholic thinking and taking ahold of your life is one of the bravest things any individual can do- just like the acclaimed golfer did. After coming out on top over the last few years and then winning on Sunday, the future looks very bright for Tiger Woods.