Monday, April 9, 2007

"Insert Tiger Woods-related Headline Here"

Isn't it interesting that even when he doesn't win, he's still all anyone can talk about.

The prevailing opinion the day after the Master's is that Tiger lost the tournament, rather than the fact that Zack Johnson won the tournament. I won't lie to you... I don't understand this point of view. To me it's hard to believe that someone else won the Master's only because Tiger Woods wasn't at the top of his game. This argument gets even thinner when you realize we're talking about someone (Tiger) who led the tournament for one hole (between his birdie on 2 and bogey on 3 on Sunday) - and this was never an outright lead.

Now let me make this very clear, this is not a simple anti-Tiger Woods diatribe. I fully agree that Tiger Woods is indisputably the best golfer in the World right now and is easily one of the best ever. But my point is this: Shouldn't he be?

It never fails to amaze me that people are surprised and excited when Tiger is leading or in contention on the final day of a Major, or any tournament for that matter. This is a man who was bred and brought up for no other purpose than to be a professional golfer. I never met Earl Woods or spoke to him or even researched him (admittedly), but I'm not real confident that his son Tiger had too many career paths open to him other than golf. There is no doubt I could be totally wrong about this. But it just seems to me that someone who is on TV when he's 2 golfing with Bob Hope pretty much has his future mapped out for him.

So that's what I just don't understand about this whole situation, I fully expect Tiger to win every major and every tournament he enters - that is what he is supposed to do. I always consider it a big deal when Tiger doesn't win something he enters.

This is precisely the reason I don't like Tiger Woods.

I can admit it, I don't like Tiger Woods. It is not because I think he is over-hyped or I doubt his ability. Far from it.

It comes from the fact that I don't enjoy cheering for someone who is always expected to win and almost always does. It's like cheering for the dealer in blackjack (from Bill Simmons). Do the people who follow Tiger around the course on Sunday also cheer for the Yankees to win the World Series every year or the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl? Did they cheer for the Montreal Canadiens of the 60's and 70's? Or the Babe Ruth-era Red Sox? Or the Pittsburgh Steelers of the late 70's? Besides the people in those respective cities, I can't imagine too many people found those dynasties very exciting and I would imagine most people were quite happy when those teams lost.

Which is why I don't understand why Tiger has the fan base he does. Sure he can do things on a golf course nobody else can do, but don't people get sick of the same person winning all the time. All of the media coverage I understand, because golf isn't exactly the at the best of times and you've got to showcase the superstars the game has. It's the fan base I don't understand.

Especially in light of the way Tiger carried himself on Sunday at Augusta. For the better part of the day Tiger sulked his way around the course pouting like a petulant child. All of this coming to a climax on 17, where he needed to finish birdie-birdie to tie Zack Johnson for the lead. Tiger's towering second shot into the green at 17 was looking good...looking good...and then it landed, well short of the green, in the bunker. At which point Tiger shouted out "I thought it was downwind?!" In some media outlets today Tiger Woods-apologists were saying that he was cursing the winds and heavens for not bringing helping-gusts to his aide. However, watching Tiger's demeanor during that final round, there is no doubt in my mind that Tiger was shouting at his caddy, Steve Williams, for giving him supposedly bad advice, even though the shot was clearly downwind.

So even though CBS's Sunday Master's coverage sounded something like this, "...blah blah blah Tiger Woods...blah Tiger...blah blah Tiger Woods... blah blah... Tiger..." I enjoyed it for two reasons, a seemingly nice, decent human being won and Tiger's armour cracked just a little and we were able to see his true colours for just a little bit.

As a postscript to all this, everyone should read this article about his thoughts on the Master's by Steve Czaban. Also check this out, only because you though your golf swing was terrible. (scroll down to the entry from April 6th, A Swing Sequence Unlike Any Other).

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