Woods' announcement raises even more questions


“His back feeling better, Tiger plans to work on his game and play again soon.”

That’s the benign headline on the provocatively irresolute story posted Wednesday evening at TigerWoods.com.

Really, has a more harmlessly worded headline and story ever sent more lightning bolts of angst through a sport? Thunder cracked with every uncertainty expressed in Tiger’s post.

Given the troubling state of Tiger’s game, and given his importance to the sport, the story Woods penned on his website intrigues in what it doesn’t say. It intrigues in what we think it suggests, in what we think it portends or hints at, and mostly what we think it veils, hides and shrouds. It intrigues in the importance we believe is inferred, implied and intimated.

Is Tiger Woods taking a leave of absence? He doesn’t use those words. Of course, he didn’t call Chris Como his new coach when he hired him, either. He calls him a consultant, even though Como seems to be as involved in Tiger’s swing as Butch Harmon, Hank Haney and Sean Foley once were. We know Tiger rarely gives us the straight scoop. He activates glutes, instead.

The news today, as best we can surmise, is that Tiger is pulling away from the game, in some sort of way that differs from his usual breaks. Why else pen a story like this and tweet it out?

So we sift through Tiger’s words, risking foolishness, looking for meaning that may or may not be there.

We look for something he may or may not be bracing us for in the not-too-distant future.

“When I think I’m ready, I’ll be back,” Tiger wrote in his post.

That’s the mother lode of encrypted Tiger messaging right there.

Really, somebody needs to re-assemble Christopher, the encryption machine Alan Turing built in “The Imitation Game,” the Academy Award nominated movie that tells the harrowing story of British cryptographers in World War II.

When I think I’m ready, I’ll be back?

We’re either making a lot more than there is in Tiger’s post on his website, or we’re not making enough of it.

When I think I’m ready, I’ll be back?

Tiger says he will be back practicing at Medalist next week. He says he would like to play the Honda Classic in two weeks. He says he expects to be playing again soon.

We need more than Turing’s machine to decipher this. We need somebody to convene a séance. We need somebody to channel Winston Churchill, because Tiger’s becoming a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Churchill understood the concept. He invented it.

When I think I’m ready, I’ll be back?

What if Tiger never thinks he’s ready? What if he really does have the chipping yips and the folks who say they are incurable are right? What if the mental, emotional and spiritual consequences of unrelenting scrutiny are finally getting to him in ways we can’t fathom. What if pain is just becoming an unwelcome guest in his life? What if he still loves the game, but he’s perfectly content to walk away to new challenges and a healthier, new way of life?

Or what if he just needs a little more time?

Any cryptographers out there see those answers embedded in code in Tiger’s post?

If you do, please pass them on, because Tiger’s importance to the game has never been more evident than in the angst today’s harmless headline delivered the sport.