Gary Player, right, says when Tiger Woods is playing champion-caliber golf, it inspires kids around the world. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
I just finished reading an article by Scott Stinson in yesterday’s (07/22/2015) Gazette in which he writes, referencing that ridiculous 216-yard bunker shot which Tiger landed on the back fringe of the 18th green at Glen Abbey in 2000, fifteen years ago now: “… the shot that sits on the short list of miracle feats that Woods once managed with alarming regularity, three re-built swings and several mistresses ago”.
It’s the reference to Woods’ mistresses that I find to be gratuitous and down right mean. Woods serially cheated, that’s a fact. Also true is that he publicly apologized for his “irresponsible behaviour”. Granted that the sincerity of his apology left something to be desired, but I hope that Tiger did what he had to, to the best of his ability as a young man.
Apologies in the world of sports occur regularly or not. Has Bonds ever apologized? Nope but that is understandable since Bonds has never admitted wrong-doing. It took Pete Rose years to admit that he had bet on baseball. What we didn’t find out until recently was that he bet on games in which he was actually playing.
Mark Magwire’s mea culpa came immediately after he was given the opportunity to get employment as a National League hitting coach and he had to admit wrong-doing and apologize for it in order to get the job.
Has Sammy Sosa ever apologized? What about Raphael Palmeiro who insisted, at some hearing, that he had nothing to do with PED’s, while simultaneously pounding the table he was sitting at with his finger, emphasizing the big lie, as it turned out.
So why pick on Tiger? Maybe it’s because people, including me, feel robbed by Mr. Woods, of the chance to see additional years of supremely intelligent and exceptional golf, ripped from beneath our feet. It seems that Tiger will never recover from the world-wide embarrassment and humiliation he brought down on his own head.
Nick Faldo, with whom I am far from enamoured, opined a few years ago that Tiger was done and that he would never be able to re-capture the form which saw him win more than 75 PGA Tour events, including 14 majors. It is significant to note at this juncture that Woods’ most recent major win was in the 2008 U.S. Open, a couple of years prior to the “events” which led to his downfall. In that last major and in what turned out to be his second to last victory on Tour, Wooss winced due to injury not on every single shot of the final round, but enough times for us to both notice and remark on.
Tiger, like all of us, has made mistakes and like the rest of us, will continue to fuck up as long as he is a human being dwelling on this earth; as far as past mistakes are concerned, Tiger has paid dearly for them with the ultimate ignominy having taken place at last week’s British Open Championship, held on the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland, and in which Tiger missed the cut. Again. Apparently, some mean fans in attendance were actually laughing at Tiger as he hacked his way around the golf course.
Will Tiger ever find his game? Certainly doesn’t look like it, at least for now.