Golf’s Major Disappointment
Meet my new best friend: Tiger Woods.
I have read his text messages, heard his voicemails and see him on TV more than I see my family in real life. (I still live with my mother.)
But you do not have to be Woods’ best friend to know about his single-car accident during the wee hours of the night following Thanksgiving, which derived from his 10-plus extramarital affairs, which in turn has led to the latest of all: Tiger Woods is taking an indefinite hiatus from professional golf, the sport that paved the way for him to become the billion-dollar athlete he is today.
Before his decision to take a leave of absence, I could not care less about this story. Heck, people get in single-car accidents and have affairs all the time – big deal. But then Woods announced his sabbatical from professional golf, and suddenly I care more about this story than I do about getting a much-needed haircut.
I have never been one to judge public figures as people because, just like you and I, they are not perfect. Do I agree with some of their decisions? Of course not, but I understand their imperfections. Instead, I judge public figures on why they are in the limelight. I judge Woods as the greatest golfer on planet Earth, not the questionable citizen who wrongfully thought he was invincible from practically having a mistress in all 50 states and seven continents. I judge him on what he does with a golf club, not what he does with his you-know-what.
Now Woods will not be playing on the PGA Tour anytime soon and quite frankly, I am not OK with that.
I am not OK with the fact that that Woods, amid his “transgressions” and “infidelity,” never took the time to realize how he became the world’s first billion-dollar athlete, how he had his own type of Gatorade – you know, the most recognized drink in all of sports – and how he worked his way into the “Greatest Athlete of All-Time” conversation. But most importantly, Woods never took the time to realize the crater-like impact he has on the game of golf.
Other great players in other professional sports have come and gone, and the transition away from those players has been rather seamless. For instance, the NBA continues to thrive even after Michael Jordan’s two retirements. But without Woods, professional golf merely returns to the group of irrelevant sports, which include Canadian football, bog snorkeling and toe wrestling. (Yes, bog snorkeling and toe wrestling are actual sports.)
Woods was once the picture-perfect athlete: a ferocious competitor who settled for nothing less than perfection, an advocate for philanthropy via the Tiger Woods Foundation and a family man whose relationships with his parents, especially the one he had with his father, are well-documented. He dominated golf so much that, when he was not on the course, the PGA Tour’s TV ratings fell 50 percent.
During his hiatus professional golf will surely suffer, but at least the drop-off is mutual, because Tiger Woods is half the man he used to be.