TIGER WOODS, PAIN, AND TMS Golf phenomenon Tiger Woods hit a tee shot on the 13th hole of the Barclays golf championship yesterday, then collapsed to the ground in pain on his hands and knees after suffering a severe back muscle spasm. His shot went far left and into a water hazard. Spectators wondered if he could finish the round. He looked pained and very uncomfortable, but pushed himself along on that hole and bogeyed it. His determination to win kept him going, and an hour later he finished second, putting about an inch away from forcing a playoff with Adam Scott who took the win. “I think they (back spasms) are isolated,” Woods, who is 34, said afterward and explained that it is a problem with a disk in his back. Tiger fought through back pain during the tournament the day before, but managed to score only four shots back of the leaders. He showed the first sign that he was in pain when he grimaced after hitting his tee shot on the part-3 fourth hole on Saturday. Then his approach shot swing caused him to reach for his lower back on the follow-through. The ball landed just at the edge of the hilly green. He could hardly bend down to pick up his tee. At other times, he was in pain when taking his ball out of the cup on the greens. Back and other pain are no strangers to Tiger. In the 2008 U.S. Open, he played four days on a knee with multiple stress fractures to win that major championship. Earlier this summer he was out of the game for a month with an elbow injury, and he missed both the 2011 U.S. Open and the British Open with an Achilles ankle injury. It was in doubt whether he would be well enough to play in the Deutsche Bank Championship in Massachusetts later this week, an event managed by one of his philanthropic organizations, the Tiger Woods Foundation. It supports community-based programs that improve the health, education, and welfare of all children in America. "That's hypothetical right now," Woods said about next weekend’s tournament. "I just got off and I'm not feeling my best right now. It starts off great every day and then it progressively deteriorates as the day goes on," he explained after completing his round on Saturday. "Hopefully tomorrow it will be one of those days again and fight through it and see if I can win a tournament.” "I hung in there," Woods said about his play in the Barclay’s. "It's gold. You just kind of grind it out. It's a long day." Tiger takes painkillers, has had surgery, gets physical therapy, and exercises regularly, but still has great pain. Is his back pain from a disk problem? What about the knee and elbow pain? Many people whose doctors, after giving them X-rays and MRI scans, have been told they have a slipped disk in their back, but they have healed not from painkillers or surgery but from learning the psychological, not physical, source of their pain. As we well know on TMSEWiki.org/forum, it’s TMS. Those of us who know about (Tension Myosistis Syndrome (TMS) from Dr. John Sarno and his book Healing Back Pain without drugs, surgery, or exercise, wonder what may be the real cause of Tiger Woods’ pain. It’s definitely there and hurts like crazy, but many people like Dr. Sarno, Forest, Herbie, Becca, Steve Ozanich, Dr. Scott Brady, myself and thousands of others have learned that what causes our physical pain is really not from structural damage but it is psychological, from our repressed emotions such as anger, rage, guilt, childhood and later traumas. Born Eldrick Tont Woods in Cypress, California, in 1975, Tiger was the only child of an African-American Army officer and a Thai woman his father met and married while on duty in Vietnam. His father called him “Tiger” in honor of a friend who had saved his life when he served two tours of duty as a Green Beret in Vietnam. The friend was a South Vietnamese officer who had that nickname. At the age of 21, Tiger became the youngest man and first African-American to win the U.S. Masters. Since then he has become one of the most-winning golfers in the sport, winning four US PGA titles, three U.S. Opens, three Open Championship wins, and three U.S. Masters wins. He has a personal worth of $600 million dollars, earning more than $85 million a year in tournaments and endorsements. His father died in 2006 after battling prostate cancer. It was a great personal loss and he said, “My dad was my best friend and greatest role model, and I will miss him deeply.” Despite his grief, Woods kept golfing and won several events, including the PGS championship and the British Open. Tiger began having knee pain and underwent surgery for it. In 2008 he dropped out of the championship tour in mid-season because his left knee required reconstructive surgery. He also suffered a double stress fracture in his left tibia two weeks before the US Open but ignored doctors’ advice to take six weeks off to let it heal. Tiger Woods may have a lot of repressed emotions. He was hero-worshipped by millions around the world before life at the top came crashing down around him about five years ago. In November 2009, he was driving his Cadillac Escalade at 2:30 a.m. when it crashed into a fire hydrant and tree outside his multi-million dollar mansion in Windermere, Florida. He was not injured, but the incident led to revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with call girls which made scandalous headlines all over the world and that led to his wife with their two young children divorcing him. The “magic” seemed to have gone out in Tiger’s game. He became a fallen idol in the eyes of the public and has been unable to win a major golf tournament since. On the up-side, Tiger has done a lot to change his life and appears to be a happier person. He has apologized publicly to his fans, but has he dealt with his repressed emotions which may include guilt? Has he forgiven himself for his past indiscretions? Has he made any adjustments in his perfectionist personality that has driven him to win in the past and apparently still drives him, despite the pain? That’s debatable, since the athletic shoe company Nike’s latest advertisements champion Woods’ return to the top of the leader board with the slogan, “Winning takes care of everything.” That may not be the best message to give him or to send to adults or children of the world. Tiger comes close to understanding that his pain may be psychological when he talks about “a mental element to my fitness regimen that is just as fundamental as sweat time in the gym or on the golf course. I have a few basic principles I follow, and it helps me stay on track: have patience, be committed, and have fun.” Dr. Sarno, Steve Ozanich, Forest, Herbie, myself and others agree that those are three of the basic elements in healing physical pain. Put in the mental effort to recognize that our pain is TMS caused by our repressed emotions, be patient that when our unconscious mind knows we truly believe that, persevere in our TMS healing efforts, follow the TMS healing programs offered free in Healing Back Pain, and on the TMSWiki.org/forum – Dr. Alan Gordon’s TMS Recovery Program and the TMSWiki Structured Educational Program -- and find happiness in our lives. “When I try to change something,” says Tiger, “whether it's my swing or my physique, I know it's going to take a lot of patience. Sometimes, you don't see immediate results, and frustration can get you off your game if you let it. Patience kept me focused, and I eventually got the results I wanted. The key to improvement is to commit to your goal and never quit.” Does that sound like TMS healing advice? You betcha! Tiger was raised a Buddhist, his mother’s faith, and actively practiced that faith from childhood until, as he has said, he “drifted away from it in recent years.” But he added that his Buddhist faith would be a “key part” of his quest to put his life back together after revelations of his martial infidelity. "I have a lot of work to do, and I intend to dedicate myself to doing it," Woods said. "Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age." Dr. Sarno, Steve Ozanich, and other TMS practitioners firmly believe that TMS pain stems from our early years. Newsman Russell Goldman wrote in 2009 an article headlined “Does Tiger Woods’ Past Hold Clues to Explain his Philandering?” and subtitled, “Despite Lifelong Spotlight, Tiger Woods Kept Secrets in the Shadows.” Goldman says that from the time Tiger first picked up a golf club when he was nine months old, to the time he won his 12th major at the age of 30, he and his father Earl Woods were “virtually inseparable,” each describing the other as his “best friend.” They were, however, not together early on the morning of May 2, 2006 when Earl, 74, died in a hospice in California. Tiger, then a husband and father of two children, reportedly spent that evening in bed with a lingerie model, one of his reported dozen lady friends. Some have suggested that Tiger had a difficult time coping with his father’s death, especially since he was not with him in his final hours, and where he was instead. Does Tiger’s back and other pain stem from his guilt, from marital transgressions he has publicly admitted but may not have privately put behind him, by forgiving himself? Lack of forgiveness, especially of one’s self, is a major cause of TMS pain. Tiger was not a ladies’ man in high school. One of the few girls he dated described him as being “shy and awkward” on their first date, and that he broke up with her when his parents pressured him to focus more on his golf game. That girl, now married, said at the time of Wood’s marital scandal that he confided in her that as he was growing up, his father was cheating on Wood’s mother. She said Tiger would call her up very upset and say, “My dad is with another woman,” but that would be all he would say. “Now he’s doing the same thing.” Earl Woods reportedly lived by a defined code of honor and propriety in his professional life in the Army, which he taught Tiger to live by, but apparently he played by a different set of rules in his personal life. According to an Esquire magazine, Tiger grew out of his shyness with girls. When he was 21 and became the first African-American to win a major golf title and had signed a $40 million endorsement with Nike, he appeared to be a self-confident professional sportsman fond of flirting with women who were applying his makeup at a photo shoot. In many interviews, Woods has praised his parents for encouraging his interest in golf, but did they help magnify a naturally competitive drive in him, helping him to focus his concentration on being not only a winner, but the biggest winner in golf? Tiger’s childhood was not ideal and had its share of TMS stresses. Though his parents agreed to support him unconditionally from the sidelines at golf tournaments in his preteen and teenage years, their marriage was not a happy or secure one for him to observe. Earl’s extramarital affairs led to them not legally separating but he and Tiger’s mother lived in separate homes across the country from each other. His father remained in Tiger’s boyhood home in Cypress, but his mother moved to Florida, where Tiger began living, so she could be closer to him as he toured. Separation anxiety from his parents living apart could be another cause of TMS pain. Tiger’s father reportedly saw his son’s success as the new beginning of a new post-racial era, even comparing him to Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Pressure? You betcha. But Tiger’s mother may have pushed him even more than his father into becoming a great golfer. As he told “60 Minutes” in 2006, “You have no idea how competitive she is.” Tiger’s father secretly divorced Tiger’s mother in Mexico after eighteen years of marriage. She later said she had no doubts he was having affairs with other women. Hearing of Tiger’s marital infidelities, his mother said, “Once he went pro, he got famous and super busy and didn’t keep in touch as much.” There seem to be many reasons out of Tiger Wood’s boyhood and later years that could cause him TMS pain. Otherwise, he knows how to stay healthy. Except for dealing with any possible TMS pain from repressed emotions, Tiger does all the right things. His fitness philosophy is excellent. He says it is a long-term strategy for building and maintaining endurance, strength, and agility. It’s not just about hitting the ball harder or faster, it’s also about staying in top playing condition so as to avoid injuries and extend his career. He trains hard and works out as many as six days a week for from two to ten hours a day, even when he’s in a tournament, especially concentrating on flexibility exercises. His basic fitness routine includes stretching, core exercises, cardio-vascular exercising running or bike-riding, and weight training. He likes listening to 1980s and 1900s music when exercising. He says that he also takes breaks from the gym by doing things he enjoys besides golf, such as playing tennis, spear-fishing, and skiing. Tiger’s diet is healthy, getting enough calories and consuming the right kind of foods to fuel his workouts, providing energy that can last for hours. He leans lean meats and seafood, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and no fast or junk food. His typical breakfast is an egg-white omelet (no yolk, although some diet experts say yolks are okay) with vegetables. Lunch and dinner are usually grilled chicken or fish with salad and vegetables. He also takes daily supplements for bone protection and nutritional support. Instead of consuming heavy carbohydrates, he uses sports drinks during competition and long workouts. Tiger Woods is working to “get back in the groove,” but it could help him a lot to become pain-free if he knew about TMS. I don’t think I’m off-base, to use a baseball expression, when I post this. If Tiger or anyone else objects to it, I’ll take it off. And I want to add a disclaimer. I’m not a doctor so I don’t give medical advice, I am just suggesting he and others consider Dr. Sarno’s TMS philosophy on relieving pain because it may very well not be physically caused, but psychological, from repressed emotions. I was lucky. When I started college, my father just told me, “Do your best.” He had always told us kids, “Give a day’s work for a day’s pay.” I did my best and didn’t feel pressured, even though I became the first in our big family to go to college. I loved college, studying and working on the student newspaper at Michigan State University. I didn’t have a monkey on my back to succeed. Some people have a 200 pound gorilla on their back. No wonder they have back pain. Childhood pressure to be the best, a perfectionist personality, parents’ separation and divorce, various reasons to feel guilty, an inability to forgive one’s self – all acknowledged causes of pain from repressed emotions. One fan at the golf tournaments keeps yelling, for a player to sink a drive or putt, “Get it in the hole!” That’s what TMS knowledge is, the secret to becoming free of pain. You betcha.