There was some speculation (hope?) that when Tiger Woods returned to competition after his personal flame-out, that he would be a kinder and gentler individual. Many of the golf writers thought that he would consciously do this in an attempt to regain the public’s ( and the sponsor’s) goodwill.
So far, I can’t see where it has happened. Not only has he missed many easy opportunities to do so, he seems to gone over to the dark side, complaining to the media about the greens at the US Open and seemingly putting the blame on his caddy, Steve Williams, for a bad club choice at one point in his post game interviews.
If Tiger had returned to the golf scene and dominated, he probably could have gotten away with anything. It would have been an ‘in your face’ situation.
But that didn’t happen, although his performance was pretty credible by anyone else’s standards. In the 1st two majors of 2010, he tied for 4th at both the Masters and the US Open, which for most would not be too shabby. However, in Tigers mind and obviously in the opinion of the sports media that constituted a competitive failure.
So instead of becoming kinder and gentler, Tiger became surlier, culminating with a brief and rude interview at end of the US Open.
But it would have been so easy.
The fans at the events had been extremely supportive of Woods and all he needed to say was that he appreciated their support. But he didn’t. He could have congratulated Graeme McDowell for a gutsy performance to win the US Open. But he didn’t.
Instead he came across as someone who hadn’t received what he rightfully deserved.
I had always given Woods some slack with his behaviour on the course because I recognized that players at that level in any sport are extremely focused and essentially self absorbed. It’s the nature of the beast.
So I didn’t expect Woods to return to the golf wars and turn into a Phil Mickelson, but I did think that he had more smarts than he has shown to date.
Regardless, if he returns to his old form that will be the story. The sponsors will be back knocking at his door and his attitude will be forgiven. At least by most.