February 29, 2012

Tiger Seal: Tiger Woods was considering abandoning golf and joining the Navy SEALS, former coach Hank Haney has claimed.

posted by JJ to golf at 11:45 AM - 17 comments

Jokes about "juggling balls" will incur a two-shot penalty.

posted by JJ at 11:46 AM on February 29, 2012

"I thought: 'Wow, here is Tiger Woods, the greatest athlete on the planet . . ."

Most famous? Best paid? Possibly so, but "greatest athlete" sounds like "in best shape" and I think someone might be underestimating the kind of shape SEALs, etc are in.

posted by yerfatma at 02:19 PM on February 29, 2012

Tiger Woods, the greatest athlete on the planet


posted by cixelsyd at 03:54 PM on February 29, 2012

"Tiger loved it, but his physical therapist, Keith Kleven, went a little crazy worrying about the further damage Tiger might be doing to his left knee."

Not an entirely unrealistic fear. From the guys I've talked to who deal with the NSW community (and the larger Special Operations/Special Forces community as well), all of the high-speed guys' joints tend to get shredded pretty well through a career.

They push themselves and their bodies hard, and while I'm sure all of them would say it's worth it, they pay a price for it.

posted by Bonkers at 05:38 PM on February 29, 2012

I've worked with more than a few ex-SEALs. Exactly one of them didn't walk like he was eighty years old. I commented to him about that once, and he said, "Fucking right I don't -- I'm on my third set of knees."

posted by Etrigan at 08:28 PM on February 29, 2012

There was a time Tiger Woods deserved to be in the "greatest athlete on the planet" conversation.

It would've been a hell of a story if Tiger left golf behind to try becoming a SEAL. But the story says his trainer freaked out that running in combat boots might do further damage to his knee, which puts this wishful thinking in 2008 when he was 32. That's two years too old, according to Wikipedia.

SEALs also must have "good moral character."

posted by rcade at 08:43 PM on February 29, 2012

While I think Woods is certainly one of the most athletic golfers the world has ever known, I would think every NFL receiver, running back and defensive back, almost every NBA player (with the exception of some of the bigger guys), 3/4ths of the NHL and Soccer rosters would kick his ass in any sort of athletic competition. He might be competitive against the average MLB and NASCAR types. So, any talk of the his being the greatest athlete on the planet seems a bit hyped up.

As to Woods actually completing the SEAL training, seems like he'd be hard pressed to handle the teamwork aspect of it. Not exactly fitting to his personality profile.

posted by dviking at 09:54 PM on February 29, 2012

Why is cross-sport excellence required to be the planet's greatest athlete? Michael Jordan couldn't hit a breaking ball. Muhammad Ali couldn't do [insert equally astute example]. John Havlicek fell into the water on Superstars.

posted by rcade at 10:03 PM on February 29, 2012

Greatest athlete implies great athletic ability and demonstrated athletic performance.

Golfers aren't athletes. They don't train like athletes. I'll buy that Tiger was one of the most athletic golfers of his time, but that's it.

posted by cixelsyd at 11:47 PM on February 29, 2012

Happy Gilmore: [to Chubbs] A guy your size, why don't you play a real sport, like football?

Chubbs: My Momma wouldn't sign the permission slip. Said it might be a little too dangerous.

posted by beaverboard at 10:19 AM on March 01, 2012

I didn't know you just drop what you are doing and join The Navy Seals. Do you have to sign a waiver or something?

posted by cheemo13 at 12:50 PM on March 01, 2012

rcade, I never said Tiger had show cross sport excellence, but clearly just being a better golfer than Kobe Bryant doesn't make Tiger the better athlete. I used the term "any sort of athletic competition", which probably would have to have been "any sort of athletic competition other than hitting a golf ball" to satisfy your criteria.

Point is, all those other athletes I listed would kick his ass in any physical test. At his prime Tiger wouldn't be competitive in the weight room, the track...basically anywhere other than the driving range. Tony Romo isn't all that far from Tiger on the golf course, but Woods would get killed on a football field. Tony Romo is not the greatest athlete in the world, but by a sport against sport comparison he's way ahead of Tiger.

posted by dviking at 01:37 AM on March 02, 2012

"Tony Romo isn't all that far from Tiger on the golf course..."

He really is. I know Romo's a very good amateur golfer, but the gulf from that to professional is huge (far bigger than the gulf from weekend hacker to very good amateur), and from professional to where Tiger has been (and may yet return) is almost unfathomable.

Put it this way - head to head, Tony Romo would beat Tiger at golf precisely never.

I know very little about football, but I suspect the same is true in reverse and that Tiger would outplay Romo exactly no times in that environment.

All of which has nothing to do with Hank's claim that Tiger wanted to join the SEALS (which sounds like some false correlation to me - went and trained with SEALS a few times and really enjoyed it does not equate to "wanted to jack in the golf and join up permanently").

Also, cixelsyd, I'd contest the claim that golfers don't train like athletes. They certainly didn't used to, but there are a lot of the top guys these days who do, and in 20 years, you'll struggle to find any that don't. Whether training like athletes ever actually makes them athletes is another discussion.

posted by JJ at 07:58 AM on March 02, 2012

Put it this way - head to head, Tony Romo would beat Tiger at golf precisely never.

Did Romo not just out shoot Tiger in the final round at Pebble Beach?

posted by preacher81 at 10:51 AM on March 02, 2012

JJ, you took "isn't that far from" to somehow mean "the same as", quite a stretch.

Clearly Tiger beats Romo 99% of the time...to say never is not true as Tiger has had some melt down days where Romo might beat him. On most days Tiger beats Romo, but Romo has shown he has a respectable golf game. Tiger would be done in about three plays on a NFL field, and that's assuming he hands the ball off on the first two plays. Tiger would not be respectable on the field, not in any form of the word.

All that being said, the Romo/Tiger angle was never the point, which was that Tiger would not beat any of the athletes listed in any head to head competition other than driving golf balls. The way Tiger is playing right now, I'm guessing many of them could out putt him. Many athletes are scratch golfers, Tiger is not at that level at other sports, and he'd never out perform them at a combine type test.

posted by dviking at 10:51 AM on March 02, 2012

My feeling is that is is just silly to think Tiger Woods has what it takes to be a Navy Seal or that he would ever had the right stuff for that endeavor. He may have once been the best golfer in the world but that is a long distance from what it takes to be a Navy seal. Moral character issues aside. Nobody even knows what kind of athlete Tiger Woods is, as golf does little to test any aspect of physical conditioning, or strength or athleticism not to mention endurance. All I can say about Tiger Woods is that of all the pro golfers I have seen, his physique appeared to be enhanced by some working out and weight training. That of course means he had the appearance of being in better shape or being a better athlete than say most of the golfers you see. That is a far stretch from the grueling training required to be a Navy Seal. I will guess he is in better shape than say John Daly was.

It is disrespectful to all Navy Seals to imply that because a guy can golf and go to the gym he is in any way capable to do what they do.

If we were talking about the average MMA fighter where athleticism, stamina and the ability to endure and perform under extreme physical discomfort and duress I might feel different, but a golfer with a few little muscles? Also it seems that performing in a life and death situation under extreme mental and physical duress, in a teamwork situation with everybody involved live's depending on you is a completely different skill set than pro golf.

Tiger Woods did prove to the world that when things got a little tough for him, like a public humiliation and divorce, even the skills he was the best in the world at almost his entire life completely fell apart. Well if the stress of divorce, some minor injury and loss of public admiration can cause you to completely fall apart on the golf course, I am certain the stress of war or Navy Seal training will expose your weaknesses very quickly. If Woods could no longer perform to his abilities on the golf course while staying in 5 star hotels, on a good nights sleep with chef prepared meals, and the best coaching in the world, if I find it difficult to believe he would perform up to par (no pun intended) in a jungle, sleeping in a poncho under the pouring rain eating out of a mess kit while others try to kill you.

posted by Atheist at 03:16 PM on March 05, 2012

Nobody even knows what kind of athlete Tiger Woods is ...

Then with so little information, how do you know it's silly to think he ever might have been SEAL material? If he'd enlisted in the military when he was younger, we don't know what his ceiling would have been in that endeavor. He's displayed an inhuman level of talent at one physical pursuit. I see no reason to assume that he'd be incapable of others if he had pursued them instead.

(In other words, if certain people here had devoted ourselves to special ops instead of SportsFilter, I'm pretty confident we'd be rockin' missions like bad-ass ninjas.)

posted by rcade at 03:27 PM on March 05, 2012

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