RUSH: To Chicago, Michael. Glad you called, sir. Great to have you with us. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Mr. Limbaugh. Love the show.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: Well, first of all, go Donald Trump. But I wanted to ask you about Tiger Woods. Do you think that he’ll ever get out of this debacle and break Jack Nicklaus’ record —
CALLER: If not, who? Who will come closest to it? Maybe a McIlroy, maybe a Rickie Fowler, maybe a Jason Day, maybe Spieth, Jordan Spieth.
RUSH: I think Spieth, if he can maintain his consistency. But 18 majors, we’re finding out just how difficult that’s going to be to break. At one time we thought Tiger was gonna blow past that and double it maybe, if not that, blow way past it. Now Tiger’s four short, right? He’s at 14?
RUSH: Is that right? Got four to go. Yeah, it’s a tough question. One thing I would say in answer, I don’t think that Tiger is ever going to be become the dominant player he was in his twenties. I don’t see that for a whole host of reasons, some psychological, but many of them physical. I mean, he’s just had too many injuries, too many surgeries. His swing speed is gonna deteriorate now compared to the young guys. And swing speed and distance are crucial —
RUSH: — as the pro game is played. But could he improve and play much better than he has the past couple years? Yeah. I don’t think he’s ever gonna become the dominant player he was. I don’t think he’s ever going into sand traps and hitting 7 irons for 212 yards just to show the field he can do it and intimidate them. The days of Tiger intimidating the field are over, I think.
RUSH: They all love him, by the way. I mean, he’s very popular out there. They’re not afraid of him anymore. They all want him to come back. Everybody on that tour wants Tiger Woods to come back because with him coming back comes back ratings and audience and money. They’re all pulling for it.
CALLER: The game, yeah.
RUSH: But there’s always, in athletics, it’s all about youth. Athletics is for the young. And it’s one of those things, if somebody would have told me that my career is over when I’m 35 to 40, I don’t know how psychologically I would deal with that. Now, these guys know that starting out and they go into it, but they all think they’re gonna be able to defy it. It’s part of the makeup of who they are. They all think that it isn’t gonna apply to them, and everybody, every athlete, has it hit them.
The NFL, when a running back turns 30, if there has been just one serious injury, the odds of getting a big contract are way, way low. But there are other things with Tiger that have happened to him that may make it very difficult for him to get back to the indomitable attitude about himself that he had.
RUSH: One more thing about Tiger Woods and the game of golf. And I realize that a lot of people, most people don’t play the game of golf. I think there’s a number, 24 million is the universe of golfers, and I know this because the people in the retail golf club business, that’s the number they use. They’re always trying to grow that number. People that make golf clubs are at odds with the pooh-bahs that make the rules of golf. It’s a real challenge. They need people to start the game and then stay with the game. And the way people watch the game on TV, they see these guys bombing it 300 yards, they want to know what that’s like.
Your average duffer would love to be able to do that. And it’s my contention that club manufacturers could make a driver that would not be legal but that your average duffer who’s gonna play once or twice a month could go out there and hit the ball a lot farther than he does now. But the grand pooh-bahs of golf will not permit that because of the sacred nature of the rules, all of which is understandable.
But it’s a conflict. I mean, the people in the retail business of golf need people joining clubs and playing the game. And it’s a very, very hard game. This is my point about it, for those of you that don’t play, never played it, the aspect of it that you’ll never get is the mental. It’s just you. There is nobody else to rely on. There’s nobody to pick you up. There’s nobody to give you a day off. It’s just you, and it’s just your head and whatever is going on in your head, and it doesn’t take much to shatter confidence.
It is such a tough game. It is so hard to play this game, particularly tournament golf, winning tournament golf is next to impossible. The guys that do it well make it look easy when you watch it on TV. But even beyond the physical challenges there are playing golf, it requires athletic ability. A golf swing is akin to a pitcher and how fast he can throw a fastball. You can’t teach somebody to throw at 95 miles an hour. They’re either born able to do it or they can’t. You can’t take somebody that can throw at 75 and teach them how to push off the rubber, how to lift weights, how to get it up to 95 miles. You just can’t.
Same thing with a swing speed of golf. You can either swing that club a hundred to 110 miles an hour or you can swing it 75 or 80. And if you can only swing it 75 or 80 you’re never gonna hit it farther than 240, and that’s only gonna be when you really flush it and connect with it. That’s why they have different distance tees and so forth.
But when you’re talking about people like Tiger Woods and professionals, what goes on in their heads, the confidence, once that’s gone, you can have all of the skills in the world and if you start doubting them, it’s over. And that’s the risk. The most amazing thing to me about those guys is their ability to triumph over adversity. The number of times that you play really, really well and win a tournament, look how few they are.
Now, you can make a good living out there with sponsorships, but you still have to play really well, and it’s really, really hard. And if something breaks down in your head, your confidence level gets blown up, and it can take nothing more, if you’re playing bad, you get to the first tee and your shot goes right in the woods, it can ruin your round if you are not able to control your attitude, your confidence, your emotions.
And when Tiger Woods owned the game of golf, the thing that amazed me most was not the physical. I mean, everybody was dazzled by that, as I was. But the performance pressure that he had going out every week dealing with the expectations that everybody had, he does everything he does in front of the TV audience and the galleries there were there, and they’ve all done this. But when Tiger was at his peak, you remember all the talk, none better, this is incredible, guaranteed wins, however you remember it, it took incredible mental toughness, concentration, and the ability to deal with performance pressure, week after week, at least weeks in which you enter tournaments.
Having played the game myself, I marvel at the people in this game who play it well. Tom Watson has played this game well. He’s well into senior status now, and nearly won the British Open as a senior a few short years ago. That’s rare though. A lot of people make fun of golf and pooh-pooh it, but just the mental toughness and focus that’s required to excel at that game. It’s more fun to just go out and hit the ball and maybe you tabulate your score or not, but you just try to have fun out there and enjoy the time you’re out there and maybe hit the ball well three or four times, and end up going home happy. For those guys doing it for a living, it’s an entirely different thing.