Tiger Woods golf game sure went to hell in a hand basket after the birth of his first daughter. It was inevitable, wasnt it?
Thats what certain uninformed critics were predicting anyway.
The worlds best golfer, they said, would lose his focus. The game wouldnt be important to him anymore, they said. Hed never win another major.
So along comes daughter Sam Alexis Woods on Monday, June 18, 2007. And sure enough Tiger stumbles to a sixth-place finish three weeks later at his own new tournament near Washington D.C. Then its off to the Open Championship at Carnoustie and Woods mails in a T12.
But where, exactly, were those same critics when Tiger returned from Scotland and won the WGC-Bridgestone?
Where were their strident voices when he followed that up with a resounding victory at the PGA Championship in the searing heat of Tulsa?
Yes, Phil Mickelson outdueled him Sunday at the Deutsche Bank Championship. But Tiger bounced right back with wins at the BMW Championship near Chicago and the TOUR Championship in Atlanta. In the process $10 million in deferred monies got wired into his retirement account for winning the inaugural FedExCup. Not a bad little start for little Sam Alexis trust fund.
OK, lets be serious about this for a second. Not too many really believed being a father would impede Woods' inexorable march to becoming the greatest golfer, with the greatest record, of any player who ever lived.
Now he just has a little more balance in his life. And hes the first to admit it. Here are a few of his own words on the subject:
I cant describe how wonderful it is to be a father. This is something I dreamed about and I am enjoying every minute. Its a good thing I dont need much sleep.
Something that Elin (Tigers wife and Sams mother) and I talked about on the first night was how can you love something so much that didnt exist the day before. We had never experienced anything like that. ... Its something we want to experience again.
Jack Nicklaus, somebody pointed out to Woods, won all 18 of his major championships after being a father.
I havent quite experienced what he experienced, Tiger said of Jack, and how its going to be when we start traveling together. But for him to do that throughout his entire career and raise great kids, just great kids'I mean Barbara (Nicklaus wife) is fantastic. Shes the best. And to have as close a family as they have, because a lot of times, when people are traveling a bunch, theres a disconnect.
Thats certainly not apparent in the Nicklaus household. Thats something that, you know, I want to have as well, because my mom and dad were always there for me, and I know I cant physically be there all the time. Thats something thats going to be frustrating because you want to be there, and unfortunately I cant be there physically all the time, but Ill try and be there as much as I possibly can.
There were, Tiger said, complications in the final stages of the pregnancy. Elin was admitted to the hospital on a Thursday and didnt deliver Sam Alexis until Monday. But mother and baby were resting comfortably by the end of the week.
So we can add the birth of Tiger Woods first child to those lists of things that happened On This Day June 18.
Beatle Paul McCartney was born on June 18. So was film critic Roger Ebert. And on June 18, 1928 aviatrix Amelia Earhart became the first woman to pilot a plane across the Atlantic Ocean when she flew from Newfoundland to Wales.
Sam Alexis Woods, meanwhile, is already famous for putting the lie to the myth that fatherhood would derail the career arc of Tiger Woods.
And for that, everybody in golf can be thankful.