Posts Tagged ‘Tiger Woods’

I’ve avoided posting much about Tiger Woods.  It’s just too easy.  However, today ESPN had a piece from Rick Reilly that is just too crazy to not poke at a bit.  The piece isn’t badly written or “wrong”… it’s  crazy in its assumptions and bombastic its claims and it might just be an accurate reflection of golf’s, ESPNs, sports’, and Tiger’s audience values.

Here’s the zinger of it all:

We don’t usually build statues of nice, helpful, well-balanced men.

This sentiment seems to call out a justification of Tiger Woods’ behavior – in the pursuit of greatness you should do anything… in fact, greatness is a result of Tiger Woods’ “self-obsession, a limitless appetite for domination, me-first-ism to the extreme.”

That’s the same logic used by people to suggest that great comedy comes only from troubled souls, good writing from lonely people, successful business from obsessed workaholics, etc. etc.  These are catchy statements that help people wrap up complex situations but they really aren’t justified.  For one, you can’t at all determine causation from correlation in any of these examples.   It might be that great sports stars learn those behaviors while playing their sport, or they self select into the sport, etc. etc.

He vows no more “entitlement.” But Tiger Woods always played as though the trophy had his name engraved on it when he showed up Tuesday.

He vows to “tone down my negative outbursts and … my positive outbursts.” But can he win without the fist pump? Can he win without passion?

So… if Tiger Woods doesn’t win the Masters will Reilly and the audience blame rehab? Tiger’s wife? Buddha?  The Weaker Fist Pump?   There’s a subtle suggestion in this article that suggests that Tiger sorting out his personal life might not be worth possibly losing some golfing success.

I suspect there’s a good chunk of the audience that share these value statements – winning golfing tournaments might be more important than the other stuff……….

If Tiger Woods wins his last 4 months of behavior will fade quickly from the public discussion.   (Remember what Kobe Bryant did a couple of years ago? No, not that winning MVP and championships….)

I’m not saying it’s good or bad values that we’re seeing on display or I share any of these.. just calling out that there are value systems at work here and they often aren’t very politically correct.

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In case yer wondering… Tiger is still talking and the PGA is not fining.  Perhaps they learned from the past that fining Tiger gets no where, despite written rules it’s the environment that sets the real rules we play by.

So, whoops, maybe the PGA does understand behavior a bit more than I thought.

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The PGA tour sets to fine Tiger Woods for his comments about officials rushing Harrington’s play at the latest tournament.

The PGA wants to suppress this type of behavior:

Section VI-D in the PGA Tour’s player handbook says, “It is an obligation of membership to refrain from comments to the news media that unreasonably attack or disparage tournaments, sponsors, fellow members, players, or PGA Tour.”

The officials correctly put Woods and Harrington on the clock, they were way behind the other groups.  No issue there.  Woods complains, doesn’t exactly attack or disparage anyone.  Not really a big issue.  However, the PGA wants to make sure that the #1 golfer in the world (money, fame, skill) doesn’t get to bend the rules.  Again, not really an issue.  The issue is… you can’t punish Tiger Woods with a FINE.  He’s one of the richest guys on the planet.  The fine won’t bother him.  And, instead of punishing the bending of the “obligation of membership”, the PGA is likely reinforcing speaking out because the price is now set.  A fine. whoopee.  If speaking out gets a player a few extra minutes on the final day in the last holes, isn’t a fine worth it?  Speaking out against an official is pretty powerful and likely would cause an official to think twice before issuing the speed it up command.

What the PGA Tour should do is… nothing… and continue to speed up play.  Make sure that Tiger Woods is always running on time.  Review is last 50 tournaments to see whether he constantly lags.  You have to condition Tiger Woods and the others to speed up play.  the PGA Tour would then find, low and behold, they won’t complain publicly.  My suspicion is that Tiger Woods is usually slower than the normal pace and is usually allowed to take whatever pace he wants.  (I recall that there have been rumblings of his slow play before without official speed ups).  Thus, why would Tiger Woods respond well to a speed up request in this in-between-majors tournament?

We’ll see how this plays out.

For the record, I still think Harrington would have lost anyway.

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I was going to title this “Not found @ 2009 Consumer Electronics Show…” but I’d get punished.

People invest in training for their education, work, entertainment and even lifestyles. The society as a whole invests billions in training and education for all its children and encourages more of it after high school. Collectively, corporations spend hundreds of billions of dollars on training of all levels; from simple tasks (MS Office) to the ultra complex (Billings fMRI certification). Training can be hands-on, case studies, role-play, webcasts, podcasts, virtual, instructor led, eLearning, Learning communities and even blog solutions groups. Then there is mentoring for individuals to complement sales training, technical training, service training, partner training and vendor training.

Professional athletic organizations spend billions of dollars globally each year to train not only the muscles of their athletes but the way they think about themselves, their competitors, and how to handle work-life balance issues that can be anything but normal. The ‘natural’ athletic ability of athletes like Michael Phelps, Tiger Woods, Paton Manning, Dana Torres, and Mario Williams comes at the price of eight+ hours of practice a day for years in order to be an over-night success. People watch super athletes perform a bevy of athletic feats and too frequently ascribe their behavior to a “natural ability” rather than to intense training in multiple areas that is required to do what they do. The US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO, has classes for athletes on handling the media, food, injuries and anger. Organizations also spend millions more to learn new methods of training world class athletes for elite competition in every sport imaginable from both forms of football, baseball and basketball to lesser but intensely played X-games, tennis and ping pong.

All this time, all this money and all these people invest daily in what they can learn today that will take them to the next level tomorrow. They are all committed to acquiring whatever will improve performance, profit, presentation or information that will serve them in the pursuit of what each of them is organized to value.

However when any of these individuals, groups or organizations are presented with the learning and conditioning rules that apply to their training there is push back and denunciation conditioning. While even a grade school track coach knows how the Krebs cycle affects a ‘kick’ at the end of a 440, they know next to nothing of the methods of reinforcement and avoidance, chaining and fading, discrimination training or schedules effect those they train. Even the arguments against the use of conditioning and learning techniques as being relevant are learned using the very contingency management they deny is involved.

So, am I missing something? Did we all learn to read blogs by reflex? Was divination involved in finding the right partner to marry? Was it always their ‘motivation’ or was it due to a ‘calling’ he turned that MBA from University of Colorado into a creative design position for www.getgreen.com?

The value for us is that learning and conditioning is everywhere. It is harder to find a behavior that didn’t come about due to past consequences than it is to keep up with pop logic that eating chocolate is good for me or that purging is a disease. Please! The effects of learning and conditioning are everywhere; drug cartels, congressman, Joel Osteen, Rev. Wright, moms, brothers sisters and you too.

Maybe we ought to take the rules of learning seriously in order to understand the big stuff about what the heck is going on in the world. Then we can start on the tough stuff.

Find me a behavior that was acquired without conditioning and I’ll pay you money.

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