Way too much Tiger

Way too much Tiger

by Dave Morain

Watching Tiger Woods make that hallowed walk up the 18th green at The Masters on Sunday was almost painful.

Here was a man with two green jackets already in his closet and, at the age of 26, has cleared space for more. Since turning pro at the age of 20, Tiger has won six majors, 26 other tournaments and has earned more than $33 million in tour winnings alone. His endorsement contract with Nike alone will net him $80 million, about $4 million more than the gross domestic product of Kiribati. Yep, it sure seems like everything is coming up “Tiger”. So why do people continually cheer for him?

Tiger Woods is not a nice person. At events, he perpetually curses and swears when a shot doesn’t go his way. When someone makes any noise while he’s teeing off, Tiger will shoot him a glare that would make even the most grizzled war veteran go weak in the knees. He has little to no loyalty, as was evident during last year’s falling out with a former teammate.

Casey Martin, a professional golfer afflicted with a leg condition that makes it necessary for him to drive a cart on the tour instead of walking, was in court against the PGA. They said that Casey’s use of a cart gave him an unfair advantage when playing against other golfers. Did Tiger, who was Casey’s teammate on the golf team at Stanford, lend a helping hand in the legal proceedings? Not a chance. Casey didn’t receive as much as a card from his supposed friend. Is this the kind of guy you want to be cheering for when it comes down to that last putt?

Why not Phil Mickelson? The guy has 20 tour wins but none of them majors. He might be the nicest guy in professional sports, but he never has put on the coveted green jacket. With Tiger around he probably never will.

Why not root for Retief Goosan? A native South African, he has only two PGA tour wins. Going into Sunday, Goosan was tied with Woods at 11-under. You could tell how the day would eventually end up, though, as Goosan hit his first shot of the day into the timber. After hitting in the 60’s on his first three days, he finished Sunday over par.

How about Arnold Palmer? Playing in his 48th and final Masters, “The King” was definitely the crowd favorite. They followed his every move, cheered every shot and gave him a standing ovation after his final putt on the 18th green on Saturday. At 72 years of age, he leaves a legacy that few can claim, winning four Masters titles. His gentlemanly nature and respect for the game embody everything great about golf. Tiger can only hope to be half the man Palmer is.

Yes, Tiger is undoubtedly the greatest golfer in the world, possibly of all time. He can drive the ball into the next zip code while lofting chip shots with pinpoint accuracy. Add his proficient putting game into the mix and you create a player that is almost impossible to beat over a four-day tournament. However, his skill can’t mask the arrogance that Tiger shows at every outing. Hopefully that will be enough motivation for someone to defeat him at the next Masters.