Should Tiger Retire Sunday Red?
For over a decade, Sunday and golf have meant only one thing – Tiger in red. Tiger has won 14 majors and some 60 other times in his traditional Sunday black pants and red shirt. While the texture and cut of the shirt may have changed, the color has not.
Now with his three year drought of major wins, I am posing the question: should Tiger abandon or at least rest his Sunday red? This may be blasphemy or branding heresy to even suggest, but let me just play this supposition out.
Ever since Tiger burst onto the scene, Sunday red brought out the Tiger in Tiger and struck fear in those who entertained the idea of challenging him. Every Tiger fist pump is punctuated in red. Every jaw dropping putt, every 180 yard eight iron is draped in red. Yes, red is the color of victory.
Now, however, I wonder if the weight of emotions, history and expectations associated with Sunday red is actually more of a burden than it is a benefit.
Since golf is one of the few sports that does not require a uniform, each player is allowed to dress in accordance with his own personal style or brand. While Ian Poulter and Rickie Fowler have some of the most recognizable and distinctive looks on tour, no one, but no one owns a color the way Tiger owns red. Red is a brand, a feeling, an expectation that is universally recognized and no one knows this more than the man himself, Tiger Woods.
In a game where the smallest of differentiation of ability separates 1st from 10th place, the mental advantage often becomes the tie-breaker. While I would never credit Sunday red for the mass of trophies Tiger has won, I do believe he held a significant mental advantage over the field. Now however, I am left to wonder if the aura of red is a weight upon his shoulders. Look, I know we all get jacked up when our favorite team goes with the throw back jersey for the big rivalry game, but if you’ve spent the last 8 seasons getting trounced, at some point it loses its magic. No need to get all sappy, just move on to the next piece of superstition.
Picture if you will, Tiger, who by the way needs a tailor like Phil needs a barber, strolling to the first tee on Sunday wearing crisp white pants and a lime green shirt. Yup, the media would go nuts, Johnny Miller would have a cow and Jim Nantz would be rendered speechless but maybe, just maybe Tiger would get just the burst of confidence and vigor he needs to break through once again.
Could shedding the red be a proverbial removing the monkey? While I would love to play this experiment out, the chances that Tiger does anything this daring is exactly slim to none with slim having left the building.
Some may argue that Tiger’s relationship with Nike would never allow such a switch even if Tiger was of this mindset. While I may be naive, you will never convince me that money or contracts would ever stop Tiger from giving himself the best chance to break Jack’s record.
Alas this is all folly since we know Tiger is too stubborn and proud to ever shed the red. I would point out, however, that a certain Mr. Michael Jordan gave up the iconic #23 before reclaiming it – how did that turn out?