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Posts Tagged ‘The Masters’

Tiger Tiger Woods, Y’all

Posted by Brandon McKoy on April 7, 2010

So in my last post I totally gushed over the Yankees and how Spring officially marked the beginning of baseball and yada, yada, yada. Well, Spring also brings another sporting event of which I look forward to year round – The Masters. You see, I’m a golfer, and a pretty darn good one if I don’t say so myself. I started playing when I was 5-years old, playing on the county team and competing in tournaments throughout my youth. If you think my “baseball teaches life lessons” jive was a bit much, well you certainly don’t wanna hear my thoughts on golf. I’ll just say that I consider golf to be the most difficult, rewarding and humbling sport (yes, sport..screw you) there is. The Masters is the first of four major tournaments to be played during the golf season and it is the only one that takes place at the same course every year. Augusta National is so incredibly gorgeous it’s hard to believe anyone but Jesus himself designed it.

This year, there’s a bit more attention being paid to The Masters than in past years. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Tiger Woods is making his return to competitive golf at the tournament. After suffering one of the longest and most embarrassing falls from grace of any athlete, ever, Tiger Woods is making one of the most difficult tournaments of the year his first of the season. Now, before this little occurrence, if you were to assert that someone could win The Masters playing it as their first tournament of the year, you’d get laughed off the planet. It’s a ludicrous thought, and anyone would be insane to even attempt to do so…but this is Tiger Woods.

Let’s get one thing straight, because it needs to be said: I don’t care what you think about his long list of well documented infidelities. It was damn wrong of him do what he did. He embarrassed himself, his family, his friends, and more than tarnished the once stellar reputation that he had. There is no excusing his actions, end of story. However, for those of you who feel that he owed you an apology simply because you purchased his products based on his endorsement, I ask you this question – Did you stop buying Michael Jordan’s products (Hanes underwear, Nike athletics, Gatorade, McDonald’s, etc.) when his many troubling character flaws were revealed? He was and is a role model to many children, playing the game of basketball in a way no one had before. His passion for the game is legendary, his competitive fire so great that the Chicago Bulls did not lose 3 games in a row for a mind-boggling 9 consecutive seasons (626 games). Yet, Jordan’s transgressions are widely known. He cheated on his wife repeatedly, has a terrible gambling problem, and recently showed in his Hall of Fame speech that he can really hold a grudge. Now, I don’t remember any 24/7 news service covering these issues for a 5-month long span, do you? This nation has a selective memory when it comes to history, and the media operates in a hair-trigger, knee-jerk kind of fashion now more than ever before…but it doesn’t make it right. Tiger Woods did not violate the rules of his sport and he didn’t commit a crime. He did something that, albeit in a rather extreme manner, about 25 percent of married men do (give or take a few depending on the source). No matter how much the media and the public put him on a pedestal, failing to realize that he is still a human being who makes mistakes is just not a mature way to look at the situation.

There are those who say that they don’t think Tiger will ever be the same, that his aura is gone. Well, let me tell you a story about a man named Kobe Bryant. Before Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant was the poster boy for hugely-successful-athlete-who-stupidly-cheated-on-his-amazingly-gorgeous-wife. In the summer of 2003, Bryant had sex with a 19-year old hotel clerk in Eagle, Colorado (which is really one of the last places a Black man wants to go on trial and be judged by a jury of his “peers”), and the popular sentiment at the time was that he had ruined his career and would never get back to where he once was. Fast forward seven years to now: Kobe Bryant is a member of the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers and holds the top spot for best-selling NBA jersey. What amazing bit of magic did Kobe use to get from where he was 7 years ago to where he is today? He won, simple as that. Sure, he became a nicer, more lovable Kobe, but without winning none of that would have mattered. Kobe Bryant is arguably the best player in the league today and no one has said a word of what he did in Eagle, Colorado in a long, long time. The same recipe holds true for Tiger Woods. He has already pledged to be nicer, more accessible to fans, and more respectful of the game. All of that is well and good, but the only thing that can and will return Tiger Woods to and beyond his previous legendary status is winning.

So, on the eve of the first round I ask: What happens if Tiger Woods walks in off the street after 5 months of not playing competitive golf and actually wins The Masters? Like I said before, it’s a ludicrous thought, and up until last month you would’ve been thrown into a mental hospital and put on a combination of Ritalin, Percocet, and Viagra in a desperate attempt by doctors to cure your mysterious ailment. But this is Tiger Woods we’re talking about. The man who won The Masters by a record 12 strokes in only his second year as a professional. The man who once won all 4 major tournaments in a row. The man who basically won the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg, suffering from a torn ACL and taking 5 days to secure victory as it required an 18-hole playoff on Monday. Golf is the craziest, most nonsensical, most difficult sport to play, and Tiger Woods is better at it than you will be at anything in your entire life. You can write him off, but you do so at your own peril. He will win again, he will return to his previous form, and in due time people will realize just how silly all of this overblown coverage really was. But if Tiger Woods wins The Masters this weekend, well, I don’t know what will happen. Here’s to hoping we find out.
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