Vincent Van Gogh is my favorite painter. The things he painted, the amount of paint he used, the vibrant colors and the strokes of rage project an emotion and passion few can understand but many have tried to duplicate.
His paintings have shaped and influenced the world of art for over a century. He is regarded as one of history’s greatest talents, greatest painters, a pillar in the temple of modern art.
There was just one problem with Mr. Van Gogh: he was single-minded of purpose, alone in his quest for artistic perfection, and mentally ill.
He was born in 1853. He was not like other children; he was serious, quiet and introspective. He did not enjoy the frivolity of his youth as others.
In 1890 he died two-days after putting a bullet into his chest. He was 37-years old.
Van Gogh suffered many self-inflicted wounds during his brief visit to the temporal world we live. Here was a man at what should have been at the peak of his talent that could not get out of his own way and could not escape the prison he had built. Eventually, at the end of his career, he found himself unable to do what he was born to do.
We of the Wu Fang Clan believe Vincent Van Gogh and Tiger Woods have a lot in common.
The shots Tiger made, tournaments he won, colorful way he played the game and strokes of emotion and passion he brought to the austere game of golf was a breath of fresh air. From 1996 – 2008, few had matched his intensity, work ethic and focus; many have tried.
Tiger Woods has shaped and influenced the world of golf for years to come. At the age of 35 he is regarded by most as either the best or the second-best golfer the world has ever known, already considered a pillar in the temple of golf.
There is just one problem with Mr. Woods: he is single-minded of purpose, alone in his quest to expunge another man from the record books.
From a young age Tiger woods has made it his mission in life to win more major championships than Jack Nicklaus. He tells stories of lying on his bed, daydreaming about the day he would surpass Jack. He was 7.
Tiger Woods was not like other children: At age two he appeared on the Mike Douglas Show and competed against Bob Hope in a putting contest. At age three he shot a 48 over nine-holes. At age five he appeared in Golf Digest and on ABC’s That’s Incredible.
His whole life has been about golf. More specifically, his whole life has been about becoming the greatest golfer of all time and nothing else has, would or will do for Tiger.
There’s nothing wrong with having a purpose in life, a goal to achieve, unless that goal gets in the way of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – personally and/or professionally.
And I wonder if Tiger’s quest to be the greatest golfer the world has ever known has finally caught up with him. After all, nobody can bare that kind of focused, pressure-packed dream from such a young age and not suffer the sum of such self-inflicted visions.
Van Gogh said, “I put my heart and soul into my work and lost my mind in the process.”
Do fire-hydrants and nine-irons qualify as exhibits “A” and “B” in losing one’s mind?
Tiger Woods passing Jack Nicklaus on the greatest golfer of all-time list was once a formality; it wasn’t a question of if as much as when? But now, for the first time since Woods started knocking off majors like they were club championships, there are serious doubts this will happen.
The U.S. Open is June 16-19 at Congressional; Mr. Woods won there in 2009 at the AT&T National. The US Open has been good to Tiger. Three of his majors are open victories, including the last major he won in 2008 at Torrey Pines. Tiger tweeted-out he plans to be there:
“Bummed that my left leg has me on the sidelines, but I want, and expect, to be at the US Open. Will do all I can to get there.”
Oh, you better believe he will. Majors are what it’s always been about for Tiger – Majors victories and overtaking Nicklaus. This seems to be his only motivation to play golf. He has all the money he could ever spend. He has all the fame a person can enjoy. He has everything he could possibly want…but Jack’s record.
As time rolls on and the years begin to pile up like so many pieces of canvas and we are faced with our own mortality, the reflections of the soul must remind us of what we have accomplished and what we have lost in the process. I wonder where Tiger Woods will find himself when this happens and if he will consider what he may have sacrificed on the Altar of Jack? Will his lot in life fill him with happiness or will Tiger say what Van Gogh did on his death bed?
“La tristesse durera toujours.”
The sadness will last forever.