During Tiger’s rebranding/Foundation 20th media tour, he understandably didn’t have much to talk about given the state of his game. This unfortunately led to the strange comment of only having one regret: leaving Stanford with two years of eligibility remaining.
This opened the door for this analysis of the many reasons Woods had no choice but to flee Stanford. From GolfDigest.com’s John Strege, who closely covered Tiger’s junior and college career and said the comments “ring hollow”.
1. The NCAA’s influence. It began when he was a high school sophomore and had accepted an offer of an honorary membership at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach. The NCAA was concerned that Woods might be jeopardizing his college eligibility. The NCAA eventually ruled that that there was not a rules violation.
Once Woods started at Stanford, several NCAA conflicts or potential conflicts arose, among them: Writing diaries for magazines from his first Masters appearance, warranting a one-day suspension; using, in the same Masters, balls and equipment not provided by the university in potential violation of rules. “If you look at this situation objectively,” his father Earl said, “this is the perfect opportunity for Tiger to say, ‘kiss my yin, yang’ and leave school.”
Woods also was suspended briefly for having lunch with Arnold Palmer at the Silverado Resort and allowing Palmer to pay for it. “I don’t need this. It’s annoying,” he said.
Tiger was also mugged by someone who knew his name, reason enough for most of us to get out of Palo Alto!
The SI/golf.com gang kicked the topic around in this week’s Tour Confidential and if you can handle the constantly wiggling web page, the discussion is interesting. From Gary Van Sickle:
VAN SICKLE: Tiger isn’t delusional, he’s utterly competitive. What’s delusional is that he regrets leaving Stanford, where he was mugged at knifepoint on campus by someone who knew his name, and that he could’ve possibly remained eligible for NCAA or amateur golf after his first two years and all that went on. Other than that, it was close to the vest and, to be honest, kind of a snooze despite Rose’s best efforts.