August 17, 2009

I Became Un-Tiger Loyal Yesterday


I started my golfing career as a child shortly before Tiger Woods started his professional one. But he is what really got me into the game, and I have always been a loyal fan. I'm more than ok rooting for the Goliaths. Michael Jordan and Roger Federer round out my favorites in my other top sports. Greatness inspires me.

But, something happened yesterday, something that had been brewing for a little while now. Earlier this year, after Tom Watson almost won the 2009 British Open (he came in second) at the ripe age of 59 (unheard of in this sport), in the video montage that followed the tournament, for the first time I can remember, an announcer took a crack at Tiger.

He commented on how "Watson reminded us that this is a gentleman's game" while showing footage of Tiger throwing out F-bombs and slamming his driver on the ground.

Tiger had surpassed the point of reproach in my mind, and I no longer faulted him for anything. But that montage woke me up to the fact that Tiger's a bit of a jerk. Of course, I can't imagine how tough it's got to be for him. He is expected to dominate every tournament he plays. He can't do anything but win. And that has to take a lot of the fun out of the sport.

But, yesterday, as Y.E. Yang, the first Asian player to ever win a major lined up his putt on 18, I was rooting for him. Because the hole before, when the nerves got to him and he left a putt well short of the hole, he laughed a little. And when Tiger missed his own putt a moment later, he lifted his sleeve over his mouth, and cussed up a storm.

I am still inspired by greatness. But for a while, I forgot what greatness really was.

7 comments:

TJarrett said...

Have you ever seen footage of Roger Federer acting in any sort of unsavory manner? I haven't, and that's why I'm still a fan. I'm rarely a fan of the Goliaths as you call them, but his personality seems so in sync with the heritage of the sport.

Eric Olsen said...

His crying when Nadal beat him earlier this year was a little creepy, but no, I didn't mean to lump him and MJ in the Tiger-tantrum category.

I was just explaining how I typically rout for the mega-man in every sport.

joeschaefer5@yahoo.com said...

I've always thought that Tiger was a big baby, and have rooted for others because of that!

TJarrett said...

I didn't think you were lumping them all together... though really you could compare Roger's tearful loss to more than a few Jordan whines. I was just asking out of curiosity - wondering if in fact I had missed any footage out there.

Anonymous said...

Watson nearly won the British Open (or "The Open" in the rest of the world) a few weeks ago. Lucas Glover won the U.S. Open this past year.

pardummy said...

I still think I'm going to root for Tiger to continue breaking all sorts of records. It's cool to be happy for a guy that laughs off what could have been the worst putt of his life, but if that was Tiger's game, I don't think he'd be who he is, and I still like watching him play golf more than anyone else.

Eric Olsen said...

thanks for the edit anon, i've updated the post.