Now, we’ll see if Tiger Woods is still mentally tough enough.
Just when the odds were favoring Tiger winning the second leg of the 2019 golf grand slam, the PGA championship, beginning Thursday at Bethpage Black in New York, more personal trouble has hit the most talked-about player in the game.
Tiger and his restaurant, The Woods in Jupiter, Florida, have been slapped with a wrongful death suit after one of its bartenders died in a single-car crash with three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood. The lawsuit alleges that Woods and his girlfriend, Erica Herman, who manages the restaurant, knew that the 24-year-old had a drinking problem and that the establishment kept over serving him during and after his shifts behind the bar.
That’s the old dram shop law that holds the last place with a liquor license responsible for any damage caused by a drunk patron or employee. This poor kid supposedly was known as a heavy drinker who at times sat at the bar with Woods and Herman. The case got worse this week when authorities discovered evidence that footage from the night of the accident had been erased from the restaurant’s in-house security cam.
Woods, of course, is not directly responsible, and the family of the deceased young man will likely settle for an enormous amount that the billionaire athlete can afford to pay. Still, personal problems continue to dog Tiger as he mounts his career comeback. With cold and wet weather forecast for Thursday’s opening round at the brutally hard Bethpage Black course, Woods will have enough problems trying to stay in contention to and through the weekend cut. Surely, someone from the aggressive New York media will ask him about the lawsuit, which may return Tiger to his old no-comment self.
Having expressed deep sorrows to the victim’s family, Woods doesn’t need to say anymore while the legal process unfolds. But how will it affect his concentration on a course where distance and accuracy will be in demand for all the other contenders, some who are anxious to get a shot at Tiger after he outlasted the field at The Masters?
He will surely need more of that steely focus that made him golf’s greatest competitor and winner in years past.