On a cold and overcast day, I have been watching some sports on TV. First, the inaugural Indy Car Race of 2012 from St. Petersburg, FL featured one of their best drivers, Brazilian Helio Castroneves. Always popular, and a great sportsman, he did not win a single race last year. I am sure he wants to prove to everyone that he is still among the best race car drivers in the world. Helio is popular and good for racing. Second, Tiger Woods has come from the depths of despair and disdain to win his first real golf tournament in over two years. To place an exclamation point on this win, he captured the tournament sponsored and named for “The King of Golf”, Arnold Palmer. He has a new caddy, and a new swing. But he also has his old swagger, and the ability to close out his opponent. In this case, the recent 2010 U.S. Open Champion, Graeme McDowell.
In the case of a race car driver, much like a golfer who gets the “yips”, age becomes a factor, being able to control the nerves, maintain focus, and achieve a “relaxed edge.” The yips can hit a golfer of any age. The race car driver should be able to race well into her/his forties, assuming no serious injuries.
As far as their fellow competitors, I would imagine both wins are welcome by their peers. Helio is the best known and most popular driver in Indy cars. Tiger is certainly the best known golfer on the planet, and on a world-wide level, the only sportsman to come anywhere close to Muhammad Ali. I have remained a Tiger fan, despite his personal problems. He is still the only African/Asian American player on the PGA Tour. His talent is still enormous. The win is good for golf.
In another comeback, the winning engine was a Chevrolet. In fact, Chevy took four of the top 5 places. Honda, the previous engine of choice, finished second, sixth, ninth and tenth. The best Lotus could manage was 15th. So, after several years of seeing only Honda engines, Chevrolet has made a serious dent on Honda’s monopoly.
Helio is 36 years old. Tiger is also 36 years old. Chevrolet is the oldest at 100 years old!