Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Scary (But True) Sensation

For anyone that has ever spent time enthralled in my golf musings, you know that I rooted for Tiger Woods. It was more a fan of his work than the guy, mainly because since I was a kid, I strove to be a professional golfer. It was my astronaut dream. Tiger has always made golf as simple as it looks like on paper. Hit a fairway, hit a green, make a putt, score low.

This afternoon, before the Cowboys went into the Superdome and beat the Saints, I wasted time with the Golf Channel, watching a highlight of the 2009 PGA Championship, when Y.E. Yang took down Woods for the first time ever when Tiger was holding a 54-hole lead in a major championship. As any person knows, your heart feels certain ways and there is no changing that, and for me watching that tournament, a weird sensation came over me.

I viewed Tiger as the bad guy. He was the antagonist and anything he did came off as gruff, and some of his looks were cocky, not confident like they used to be.

I began having a mini-internal battle with myself, trying not to root against Tiger but not being able to overcome this anxiety I had with him at a tournament I already knew the result of.

So, the question is this ... can my feelings for someone I once admired change that drastically? And will I be in the majority with this? Are more people going to view Tiger as the bad guy now that all this negative attention has hit? His fist pumps come off as smug. His confident stare is now one of ugly ego. His closet is wide open, and the skeletons have been impossible to miss.

I just thought the feeling was worth sharing. I'm sure eventually, like the public's view of Michael Vick has changed, we will all be able to see Tiger as the successful golfer and not the cheating husband, but it could be that he will always be tainted.

I know that for the first time, I was rooting for a guy named Y.E. Yang to beat a golfer I'd been a fan of since high school. Strange days are upon us.


oljdub said...

We were fortunate enough to be there. Flew from NC up, took the kids. all that. First thing they wanted to do was see Tiger.

But on Sunday, we were cheering for Yang. Probably not a popular view point in the crowd. We wanted to see history. Where the underdog wins. In our hearts, we kept expecting Tiger to hit a miracle shot to stop Yang, but it never came. Did get to see the gamesmanship on 17 - that was kinda bush league.

Now, who knows how historic that might have been?

Freedo said...

At some point we are all going to feel bad for Tiger, as bad as his "transgressions" were. No one knows what was going on in his household, maybe Elin is a monster? Who knows the real story? Maybe she was emotionally torturing him?

Tiger's actions are inexcusable as a husband under the sanctity of marriage, but his biggest mistake was not facing reality that he should never have been married. For that, he is a coward and not true to himself, his kids and his wife.

That being said, I will never be able to root against Tiger. Being the same age, I've always admired him professionally, and will continue to do so.

And I'll never root against him, ever. I may even root for him more. America loves a comeback, right?

Yes, the man made mistakes, he hurt a lot of people in this mess. But the reality is he didn't commit a crime, both his life and Elin's life will go on. It will be a memory that causes pain, but won't or hopefully won't shape who they are 10-20-30 years from now.

I hope he can comeback and be better than ever.

Mike said...

I think Tiger has always caused mixed emotions, Shane. It's a struggle between our love for a dominating hero and our sympathy for the underdog. When Tiger was basically undefeated, some people (like you) rooted for him to keep it up, while others 'got tired' of hearing his name and pulled for the underdog. (I have a neighbor who stopped being a NASCAR fan because she felt the field was dominated by one driver.)

Emotions about Tiger have been complicated by that perfect image he built. Like I said in one of my (few) posts about the whole Tiger debacle, there were players who didn't see Tiger as a better player than them, but simply as being better, period. Many fans shared that view, and now this whole 'fall from grace' has been felt as a betrayal. I suspect the source of your battle was twofold -- the sense of betrayal, coupled with the knowledge that Tiger had lost so you were free to root for the underdog. You gotta admit, Yang is the kind of story Americans love -- coming through Q-School to beat the best, head's-up.

Will your anxiety last? I don't know... but I'd be surprised if the golf community doesn't find itself struggling through a kind of grieving process for a while.

Vince Spence said...

I, too, will never be able to view, or regard, Tiger Woods in the same way I used to.

Aussie Golfer said...

I agree. I too am feeling the same way.

I never used to wear my TW cap out on course but used to throw it on to walk down the cafe or beach all the time. It has lay dormant and unused for weeks now.

The Armchair Golfer said...

It's odd, really. We knew Tiger's on-course persona. All the rest was projected, or part of the PR machine, depending how on you look at it. I suspect no one will look at him the same way, whether his supporters or detractors.

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