Things That Go Slump in the Night

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'Slump' was always the wrong word to describe the mild downturn Tiger Woods' golf fortunes had taken at odd times over the course of the last 12 months. Slump is a word freighted with meaning and more negatively-charged than Woods ever deserved.
 
And now it is a word we won't be having to deal with again for a while as it relates to Woods. This is because Woods put a thorough thrashing on the field at the 100th Western Open Sunday. Tiger beat second place finisher Rich Beem by five shots. The final round was a victory lap and not as close as the score indicated.
 
Which is why I am intrigued more right now with words that rhyme with slump and how they fit into the context of Woods' return to near the top of the money list and back onto a short, short list of candidates for Player of the Year.
 
I am intrigued more right now with words like:
 
BUMP: This refers to the mental boost Woods will get out of dominating at Cog Hill No. 4.
 
CHUMP: Anybody who already has bet money against Woods for the Open Championship that begins a week from Thursday at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England.
 
DUMP: That's what we need to do to all those truckloads of rumors suggesting Woods' knee surgery late last year might have permanent aftereffects.
 
HUMP: Any man who actually believed Woods was ever in a slump.
 
FRUMP: Any woman who actually believed Woods was ever in a slump.
 
GUMP: The aging idiot savant, played by Tom Hanks, who Woods will tee it up with in virtual reality when they make the overdue sequel to a very good movie.
 
JUMP: This is what Woods can say to just about anybody he pleases in golf when he wants them to respond with the question: 'How High?'
 
LUMP: The quivering mass that all Woods' challengers find themselves gathered into as Tiger continues to assault every extant golf record.
 
PUMP: This is what Woods does with his fist when he has just made an important putt. Nobody putts better than he does when he is on his game. Nobody fist pumps better, either.
 
RUMP: Put a 'G' in front of this word; look it up in the golf dictionary; and you will find a picture of Vijay Singh. Singh is a monster talent who will be better understood and more well-liked when he hires the right PR guy. The best grump never to have won a major, by the way, is still Colin Montgomerie.
 
STUMP: The pulpit Woods can step down from now that the slump-that-never-was is over.
 
PLUMP: Woods' wallet. Add another $810,000 after the Western Open.
 
THUMP: What Woods did to the field at Dubsdread.
 
The fact of the matter is that Woods' has elevated his game to such a high level that you almost want to ask what's wrong every time he makes a par instead of a birdie. He is the prisoner of his own standard of excellence and high expectations. He understands this better than most which doesn't mean he has to like it.
 
Unlike Michael Jordan, Woods doesn't have a supporting cast to blame or credit when the opportunity is right. It's all on him. It's all about him. So like a bad penny, the word slump will return again more then once before Woods' career concludes.
 
Until that time, the belief here is that we will all be a lot better served by focusing on what he achieves than by what he doesn't.
 
A genuine slump for Woods? Five years without a major or 24 months without a Tour victory. Until then, save your breath and don't waste my time.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage of the 100th Western Open
  • 100th Western Open Leaderboard