As the golf world waits on Tiger Woods' next move, there appears to be no limit to the number of players both current and former who have advice to offer the 14-time major champion. While Mark O Meara recently added his name to that list, he did so equipped with some additional insight when it comes to Woods and his inner workings.
O'Meara was one of the first players to befriend Woods when he turned pro in 1996, and the two remained close as Woods ascended to his spot atop the game. The two played regular rounds together at Isleworth for years, and it was Woods who put the green jacket on O'Meara after his surprising Masters win in 1998.
O'Meara will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame later this year, and the 58-year-old reportedly spoke with Woods as recently as last week. He believes that if Woods is going to break out of his recent slump, less might be more.
"If I would tell him anything, I would say, 'Here's your ball, go hit it over there,'" O'Meara told the Florida Times-Union. "Get over there and try to hit some shots in the middle of the clubface, get back to some really simple, easy fundamentals. Don't try to over-analyze everything."
Woods is less than two years removed from winning five times on the PGA Tour, but after a chunk-filled performance in Phoenix and an injury-related withdrawal last week at Torrey Pines, he has dropped to No. 62 in the latest world rankings. O'Meara had a front-row seat to Woods' early rise in the ranks, and he believes the same drive that propelled him to earlier success may now be contributing to his downfall.
"Golf is not a game of perfection," he said. "The problem is that everyone expects (Woods) to be perfect, including himself, and he's not."
While some are poised to pronounce Woods' career a thing of the past at age 39, O'Meara's two major wins at the age of 41 both serve as a reminder that the window of opportunity can sometimes remain open for golfers a bit longer than expected - especially for a player as talented as Woods.
"I would never count him out," O'Meara said. "When you tell him he can't do something, that's when he figures out a way to get it done. If I were him, I would go out there on your own, by yourself, away from everyone, and figure it out."