I watch golf on TV. I just wanted to get that out there at the start of this. I like golf, and I enjoy watching it. I started watching it about the time Tiger Woods started playing professional golf, that is not a coincidence. Tiger’s success was intriguing to watch, I love watching an athlete in their prime play well, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Brett Favre. I get if you don’t like them, but to me guys who elevate their sports are fascinating and almost mesmerizing to watch. I have never needed them to be great people (which is good, they mostly aren’t) I like them because they are great athletes that transcend their game, or lift it to a new level.
Now, here’s the thing. The media have been on the warpath for Tiger Woods for a long time. They hate how he treats them with disdain and so they love to show his failings. I have watched with interest as Dustin Johnson has been suspended for his third Cocaine infraction, and for allegedly having several affairs with other golfers’ wives causing at least one marriage to dissolve. What have the golf writers done in response to this, how about the general public? Not much, most stories seem to be at least somewhat sympathetic to him. There is no outcry, no constant harassment. Ok, he was never at the level of Tiger, but still, Tiger only broke up his own marriage, and as far as I know never did illegal drugs.
I dislike how Tiger Woods is treated. The media that vilify him, the other players that revel in his poor play, they should all, every single one of them, should be paying Tiger a percentage of what they make. Before Tiger there were only a few Million dollar events, golf was not on tv every weekend, the columnists had to cover other sports. Very few, if any, of those reporters would have full time employment covering golf if not for tiger Woods. Did he have disdain for the media, yep. But look at it from his perspective, he is the athlete, he is achieving all of this, he wins tournaments, what do those guys do, write about, talk about it, evaluate his every step and/or misstep. Of course he had disdain. Tiger isn’t friendly to the other players? So what, his job isn’t to be a buddy, his job and his passion is to win tournaments, so what if he finds that easier if he isn’t buddy buddy with Sergio Garcia.
Tiger Woods created modern golf. He created the industry that exists now around golf. Tiger Woods should be thanked daily for his contributions to this game. We should all be hoping and praying that he returns to health and to his winning ways, because who else is there? On a bad year, a year Tiger and the media and the other players called a bad year, he won 5 tournaments, closest other guy won 3. I miss him, I miss the fist pump, I miss the red shirt stalking the green, I miss the impossible shots, I still watch, but it is rarely as fun.
Tiger Woods is the golf equivalent of Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky, the game is forever changed because of him. there are young guys doing well, playing aggressively, making improbable shots, but we should be all thanking Tiger for what he has already achieved and stop talking about what he hasn’t yet done.