“He’s Back.” The cliche phrase of the day on Sunday. But you know what, they are right. I write this post as a former Tiger hater, Phil was my boy. My hatred stemmed from the have-nots, the things Tiger did better than him. I was jealous that my guy couldn’t perform as well under the pressure as Eldrick Woods.
When the proverbial “shit hit the fan” moment happened with Woods I was disappointed, not in the evidence revealed, but how he handled the pressure. Here was a man who was able to focus and wield shots with sheer will and thought; but after running into a tree and his scandalous truths revealed, he cowered more than Lebron in the 4th quarter. I yearned for Tiger to embrace his bad boy image, if fans could cheer and follow John Daly, surely they could pull for a pill poppin’ adulterer with worlds more talent. I wanted him to wear black, smoke cigarettes, curse, dominate, and just be himself.
The Mr. Rogers gig was up once he had his single car accident in a gated community. Then came the PR nightmare train. Silence. Scripted speeches. Convoluted messages and missing pieces to the puzzle were the only glimpses we were given into the world of Tiger Woods. Tiger failed to realize that fans, critics, and media were desperately asking for him to be REAL. We wanted to see him laugh, hurt, and just be one of the guys instead being the golfball crushing, intreview droll robot-like person Tim Finchem created. Why couldn’t he be vulnerable? We can all empathize with a man who struggles with demons because we all have our versions of Perkins restaurant skeletons in our own closet. Unfortunately, Tiger has been groomed from a very young age to say what is acceptable, except when he hits a bad shot (his swear jar could feed 3rd world countries). You can stop all your thoughts and comments about him being a role model and blah blah blah. He’s a professional golfer. We watch him because he is truly great at what he does, look at viewership when he’s in contention versus non-contention. Who else can make you stop what you’re doing like Tiger?
People wanted Tiger to fail. He was too good at golf for you to like him and he was too good at being a bad boy on the sly for you to like him too. You were jealous. So what did we do? We wrote him off. As if the GREATEST golfer ever couldn’t recover from a destroyed image, swing changes, ridicule, caddie quitting, and injury. Really? This dude has done more before our eyes than we can recall. At some point I knew he would be great again. And you know what, you wanted him to be great again too. We are all witnesses to someone extremely gifted at the game of golf. It would be a shame for you as a fan to not cheer on this greatness. We watch sports to see things never done before.
I don’t care if you think his morals and perspective on life doesn’t line up with yours, he is the most electrifying athlete in the last two decades. He made people care about a sport that old white guys play! Lebron and Kobe haven’t done that to their sport. Tebow might be the closest to Tiger in generating interest, but Tebow isn’t great. Yes, I understand I have gone over my limit in using the word great, but I don’t care. Tiger epitomizes greatness more-so than any other athlete. I encourage you do some self exploratory stat searching if you really need qualification of the latter statement.
He won on Sunday, convincingly. 924 days later, he had done it. He took his critics and haters, placed them on a tee, and knocked the shit out of them. And yes, he put it in the fairway. He was the only one in the last 9 groups to shoot under par on the last day. On the day that mattered the most he performed at a level others couldn’t. He did it. He wore red, dominated, and won. He’s back, so you should cast aside your judgment and cheer for a man who has the ability to do something never done before in the HISTORY of golf. Oh, and the Masters is in two weeks, where he’s won four times.
*He’s also back to business on the dating scene. Pictured below is his new 22-year-old girlfriend, Alyse Lahti Johnson(great Scrabble name). She literally drew him good luck drawings with crayons as a child. So now Tiger is not only stealing the PGA Tour back, he’s robbing the cradle. And I’m behind him 100% of the way.