Tiger Woods completed one of the greatest comeback stories in sports this past weekend by winning the Masters It’s his first major tournament victory following an 11-year drought that included national scandals, a debilitating back injury, and more. At various points, commentators said any remaining hope around a Tiger comeback was delusional. He’d never win another major tournament, they said.
But Woods proved all the doubters wrong by coming from behind in his victory at Augusta, a feat he’d never previously accomplished. So what was his secret? Long-time fans and golf watchers surely noticed at least one significant change in behavior from Tiger — he was chewing gum. Like, a lot of gum. Whenever the camera cut to Tiger, it seemed his molars were always moving.
Believe it or not, chewing gum during rounds is a new trend amongst professional golfers. After the suggestion of his teacher Cameron McCormick, Jordan Spieth chewed gum throughout the 2017 British Open to calm his nerves and it worked — Spieth won the tournament.
The New York Times reported last month that Phil Mickelson recently started chewing gum while golfing “to boost his cognitive function.” Data and research backs up Mickelson’s gummy beliefs. “Studies have shown that chewing gum is associated with improved alertness and the ability to process new information, though the results are far from definitive,” the Times’ Karen Crouse wrote.
“The chewing aspect stimulates the frontal cortex,” added Mickelson.
But some have speculated that Woods and Mickelson aren’t chewing regular old bubblegum— they’re chomping on CBD gum. The PGA Tour’s Anti-Doping Agency usually follows the protocol set by the World Anti-Doping Agency. And when WADA announced athletes could use cannabidiol (CBD), as it didn’t consider the substance performance-enhancing, the PGA Tour adopted similar rules.
However, players received an official PGA Tour newsletter earlier this month advising them not to use CBD products. Their reasoning? “CBD products (like all supplements) pose a risk to athletes because they have limited government regulation and may contain THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that is prohibited,” the newsletter read. Was this newsletter possibly a response to golfers chewing CBD gum? We can only wonder.
But it would also make sense why CBD gum would attract golfers, especially older ones like Mickelson and Woods. Not only would CBD calm any nerves in competitive play, it’d also ease any aches and pains a golfer might endure throughout a given tournament.
“Competition at the highest levels of professional sports can no doubt be very stressful, especially when legacy and money is on the line,” says Chris D’Alberti, the co-founder of a Highline Wellness, a company that produces various CBD products. “CBD Gum is an amazing tool to help reduce the stress levels of top athletes while also boosting their cognitive functioning. Along with lowering the stress levels of athletes, CBD helps reduce inflammation and improve sleep quality for quicker recovery.”
While we can’t confirm it’s CBD gum they’re chewing, all the signs point to why golfers might consider it. Next time you’re on the links, maybe give it a try. It could just be the difference between a bogey and par in your game.