George Graham

When the Magic is Gone

In sports and in life, there is a magic that defies logic. If you play any sport, you’ve probably had a day when everything goes right. But when you try to recapture the magic on another day, you can’t.

Nobody knows why.

What makes a ball find the basket? Why does a putt drop? How do those wide receivers make such impossible catches?

Analyze all you want, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the laws of physics. Or any other laws.

It has to be magic.

Sadly, it seems Tiger Woods has lost his magic.

I am not disputing his reason for withdrawing from the Dubai Classic. I don’t doubt that his back is spasming.

But I suspect the spasms are less cause than effect. When the mind balks, the body can respond like that.

At this point, I have to give up on Tiger. He just doesn’t have it any longer. He’s like the tightrope walker who looked down.

I’m sure he still has extraordinary skill. And he might still be able to recover from his physical problems. But the magic is gone. When it matters, the putts don’t drop, the chips roll long, the drives veer into the rough. He is not “better than most” the way he used to be.

He may go down in history as the Greatest ever. His record will probably never be matched. But I’m afraid he never will play like the old Tiger again.

Tiger’s withdrawal

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for