I have almost reached the point of feeling sympathy for Woods over his personal problems. I say ‘almost’, as his problems were all caused by his own arrogance and lack of personal discipline and quite frankly – stupidity. Not that those are failings exclusive to Mr. Woods.
Contemplate briefly Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Kobe Bryant, Jesse James, Mark Sanford, and sundry other high profile philanderers. All of them, with much to lose, and who seemed to think that they could act out their sexual fantasies free and clear of any media intrusion.
What were they thinking – if they were thinking at all?
But back to the Tiger.
What has begun to generate some sympathy, at least on my part, is the schizophrenic commentary that has become the norm when writing about the trials and travails of golf’s number one player.
If you read any amount of the tripe that has been written it becomes apparent that no matter what decision that Woods might make regarding his return to golf it will be wrong in someone’s eyes.
It was the opinion of some that the timing of his press conference during the Accenture golf tournament was obviously to punish Accenture for dropping him as a client. Some punishment. Accenture got more publicity in the MSM than they ever could have hoped for from the sponsorship of the golf tournament.
Of course there has been the ongoing debate of when Tiger would come back and when he should come back. There were those that argued that he should stay away from the game for an extended period until he had somehow been purified. I got the feeling that some thought that he should retire from the game permanently as being proven unworthy of treading the fairways alongside of rest of the tour players who no doubt had been vetted and approved as his moral superiors.
They were further offended when Woods showed up practicing at Ilseworth as if that showed a further flaw in his character.
After all of the debate as to when he would return and the various speculations about which venue he would choose, he announced that he would return to play the 2010 Masters at Augusta.
Whoops! Wrong decision again. Making his debut at the Masters would be too disrespectful to the event with all of the media hype that would be involved. Ignoring of course the massive television coverage the tournament would generate.
But then it was felt that he should have shown some loyalty to Arnold Palmer and played in Palmer’s Bay Hill tournament prior to the Masters. Of course if he had, the criticisms would have been the same as for his decision to open with the Masters.
For the most part, the personal opinions emanating from professional golf writers has been bad enough, but the Tiger soap opera has morphed into such a major event (no pun intended there) that everyone with a computer has turned into a sports writer. Most of them not knowing a wedge from a wedgie.
An example of the previously mentioned schizophrenia is brilliantly manifested in an interview with Peter Arliss the British golf commentator (the pointer thanks to Geoff Shackleford, who, since the beginning of the Tiger debacle has bounced between being a golf journalist and a gossip columnist).
Arliss can’t seem to make up his mind where he stands with Tiger.
“I’m surprised, in a way, they are letting him play there,” Alliss said. “It either shows they have a desire to be helpful or a weakness. It would have been rather grand — but would have perpetuated the stupidity of it — if they had said, ‘Sorry, we don’t want your sort here.’
… Alliss dismisses the notion that it is disrespectful to the other players for Woods to bring his circus to town in Masters week.
…. he was withering in his condemnation of the 14-times major champion for choosing the middle of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February to make his first public statement since November, that cringing mea culpa. “Ernie Els was right when he used the word ‘selfish,’ ” Alliss said. “It was thoughtless and I didn’t like it.
Then again -
“But we’ve all done stupid things. If you are a red-blooded male and you’re chatted up by a decent-looking bird, it’s very hard to not say yes. It was a lot easier in my day. I remember some very famous golfers who used to book into hotels as Mr and Mrs.”
Does this mean that what Tiger did was not really wrong? Just bad timing?
If anything sticks in Alliss’s craw it is doing daft things in your own backyard. He recalls an old-timer telling him never to “get tiddly” at a golf club. Little wonder, therefore, that he remains unimpressed with the behaviour of two of Great Britain’s finest golfers.
“My lasting memory is seeing Ian Woosnam come out of the front door at Augusta p***ed with Sam Torrance,” he said. “Both of them fell in the bushes and it wasn’t a very good sight. I thought, ‘Boys, boys. Get a couple of bottles and go home. Don’t get p***ed here.’
OK, so if Tiger has taken his adventures out of the country???
And on it goes.
As far as I’m concerned Tiger’s tragedy is in his own hands. If he doesn’t want to bare his soul to the ravening press then more power to him. All he really needs to provide us with is the opportunity to watch him play his spectacular game of golf.
I hope he come back strong to the game of golf and I hope he dominates the sport again. In fact I hope he wins the Masters in April.
But what I would really like to see is a swelling of applause for Woods the golfer as he steps onto the first tee.
Wouldn’t that make the naysayers choke on their morning toast.