Golf Digest has released the first of the videos it filmed with Tiger Woods on the day before the 15-time major champion’s horror car crash in February.
Woods was midway through a two-day shoot with Golf Digest at Rolling Hills Country Club at the end of February when he sustained serious leg injuries in an early-morning car accident that left him hospitalised for several weeks.
Almost 150 days later, the first of the videos – filmed just hours before the accident – has been released, and there are some pretty interesting revelations.
Here are seven things we learned from it…
1. His favourite pastime is free-diving
For those who don’t know, free-diving is a form of underwater diving that relies on holding your breath until you resurface rather than using breathing apparatus. Woods told Pinkett-Smith that he has gone as deep as 80 metres. “I love being in the water,” he said. “Absolutely love it. It’s hard, the patience it takes, calming the mind, the heart rate, being in that meditative state.”
2. He meditates with his mum
Speaking of getting into a ‘meditative state’, Woods revealed that he meditates with his mum, Tida. Born in Thailand, Tida was raised as a Buddhist and, according to Tiger, she has been making him mediate “from when I was born”. So far, though, he hasn’t passed the practice down to his own children.
3. His motivation is fuelled by insecurity
Most people agree that Tiger is one of the most – if not the most – talented players ever to play the game… but he disagrees. “I always felt like I wasn’t the most talented,” he told Pinkett-Smith. “I felt like I had to work my ass off because I was always younger and smaller than everybody else. I just wanted to become better.”
4. He likes to grill
Woods doesn’t give a whole lot away about his private life in the video but he does admit to loving a BBQ, steak in particular.
5. He isn't coaching his son
According to Tiger, he’s not, as Pinkett-Smith puts it, “training Charlie in golf”. Instead, he says the 12-year-old “watches me do it and then he kind of does it”. Pinkett-Smith asks: “So he’s a natural?” “Yeah,” says Tiger. The one thing he says he has taught him is that every shot counts. “Same intensity. Par putt, birdie putt, doesn’t matter.”
6. He dreads his daughter flying the nest
Asked by Pinkett-Smith what his daughter, Sam, has taught him, Woods replies: “How to be more patient. But I don’t ever want her to leave home, you know? She’s my little girl.”
7. He looks, well, exhausted
This is perhaps the single biggest take-away. Woods looks, sounds and seems completely knackered. When he first greets Pinkett-Smith on the range, there’s not a huge amount of dialogue, despite her best efforts. He does warm up as the day / video goes on but he seems tired throughout. There may well be good reasons for that. It’s not clear but it looks from the video like it was filmed early in the morning and Woods had been nearby Riviera the day before for the final round of the Genesis Invitational.
Although he wasn’t playing, as he continued to recover from a microdiscectomy on December 23, he was there in his capacity as tournament host. So, a punishing schedule combined with painful rehab may have contributed to his demeanour. But there’s no getting around the fact that he didn’t look like the Tiger of old as much as ‘Old Tiger’