Even Tiger Woods Needs Help Sometimes

for the week of May 28, 2001
by Rubel Shelly

Tiger Woods is a global phenomenon. Countries of the world that have traditionally paid little attention to golf are interested now due in no small part to the personal magnetism of today's undisputed superstar of golf.

Tiger passed up a PGA Tour event in Texas on the weekend of May 20 to play in Germany's top event, the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open. He didn't really need to win. For that matter, he didn't even need to do anything more than treat the weekend as vacation golf. He was paid $2 million by the tour organizers just to be there. And the pot for winning was "only" $397,000. So why stretch himself, right?

But Tiger doesn't approach his sport that way. For the second time in three years, he won the tournament. And the way he won turned the European tournament into the premier golf event that day. He made up most of a ten-stroke deficit on Saturday and pulled away to a four-stroke victory Sunday. The highlight of the final round was his 175-yard eagle on the 13th hole. Spectators went wild.

So who "helped" Tiger Woods on that auspicious day? According to a story from USA Today, he played Sunday's final round with a borrowed driver. He broke the shaft on his the night before. After a frantic-but-unsuccessful search to find a replacement club, he asked fellow-golfer Adam Scott if he could borrow Scott's spare driver. It is similar to Woods' own, and Scott a rising Australian golfer had used a set of irons given to him by Tiger in winning his first European Tour victory back in January of this year. Thus the relatively obscure Aussie contributed to a dazzling victory by the sport's best player.

Everybody needs a little help at some point in life. A student needs a tutor with her calculus, philosophy, or statistics class. A new employee needs a mentor to teach him the ropes. Someone new to management gets overwhelmed and needs someone to restore her confidence. Resolving a misunderstanding with an old friend, surviving a crisis in your marriage, dealing with a confused and angry child everybody eventually comes up against something that requires a helping hand. But I've sometimes been too proud to ask. What about you?

There's nothing shameful about asking for assistance. Even Tiger Woods had to get help one day. So why should you and I be so reluctant to seek help with a golf game, a problem at work, some personal issue, or our spiritual lives?

The disgrace is not in needing help, but in refusing either to ask or give it.

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