How Machiavelli Can Help Tiger Win The Masters

How Machiavelli Can Help Tiger Win The Masters – By Suzy Evans – With The Masters set to take place April 11-14, many people are asking, “Will Tiger Woods win another major again?” For that to happen, he might be well advised to take advice from the great 16thcentury political strategist, Niccolò Machiavelli.

Sounds strange, right? But some of the same strategies of warfare and statecraft that Machiavelli prescribes in The Prince can be successfully applied on the course. Consider the following tips:

  1. Tiger Woods MastersDivide and Conquer

In The Prince and his other political works, Machiavelli offers concrete advice on how to wage a successful war. In particular, he advises “a captain ought…to endeavor with every art to divide the forces of the enemy, either by making him suspicious of his men…or by giving him cause…to separate his forces and, because of this, become weaker.”

Machiavelli’s talking about political and military enemies here, but, in Tiger’s case, he’s been his own worst enemy in recent years, and, to reclaim his former greatness as a player, he should focus not on mechanics or fundamentals, but on conquering his inner weaknesses and demons as both a person and a player.

But how, exactly, can this be achieved? Machiavelli would advise him to “separate and divide” any lingering feelings of regret or shame that he might have about his past moral failings as a man from his tremendous mental and physical strengths as a player.

By “dividing” his inner weaknesses from his mental and physical strengths, Tiger might, as Machiavelli would advise, increase his chances of “conquering” those inner forces that continue to be his most powerful and formidable opponents.

  1. Channel Machiavellian Virtú

Unlike the modern term virtue that connotes moral goodness, virtú, for Machiavelli, is the essential quality, the touchstone, of political and military success.

In particular, the concept entails the idea of a tremendous inner fortitude to overcome even the most recalcitrant opponents and embraces such traits as boldness, bravery, foresight, flexibility, ingenuity, action and decisiveness — and these very same traits, as Machiavelli would advise, are also critical for success on the course.

Here again, Tiger’s greatest opponent has been himself, and to reclaim his former greatness as a player, he should focus on cultivating those behaviors and traits that he might have lacked in the past to achieve the kind of Machiavellian virtú that is critical for success, whether you’re a 16thcentury Florentine prince or a 21stcentury professional golfer.

  1. Study the Actions of Illustrious Men

In The Prince, Machiavelli admonishes that “to succeed on the battlefield men ought to study…the actions of illustrious men to see how they have borne themselves in war, to examine the causes of their victories and defeat, so as to avoid the latter and imitate the former.” This might be so obvious that you might dismiss it. But, for Machiavelli, it was enormously important and he believed that those leaders who failed to do so were doomed.

Tiger Woods MastersSimilarly, in war, as it is on the course, Tiger should study the actions of past and present champions to see how they conducted themselves and to examine the causes of their victories and defeats, so as to avoid the latter and imitate the former.

Bottom line: if Tiger can “divide and conquer” his inner weaknesses and demons; cultivate Machiavellian virtú and study the actions of past and present champions, he will increase his chances of reclaiming his former greatness as a player and maybe even win The Masters — at least that’s what Machiavelli would say!

Suzy Evans is a lawyer, historian and literary agent who holds a Ph.D. in history from UC Berkeley. She’s also the author of Machiavelli for Moms (Simon & Schuster) and can be found on Instagram and at [email protected] 

Click here to read more about The History of The Masters. Who do you have to win The Masters? Click here to see who we picked to win this week!

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