It isn’t very easy for me to keep up with American sports, mostly because all the best games are played in prime time back home and this is WAY past my bedtime during the week. I have made an effort to watch the NCAA tournament because it is very entertaining and I enjoy the madness. So last night around 11:30pm I was probably watching UNC-Kansas right? Wrong. I was watching golf.
Why was I watching golf? Well, Tiger Woods was on his way to winning his first official tournament since his much publicized and deserved fall from grace, and I wanted to see it. I found myself cheering for him to make good shots, and smiling at the end when it was obvious that he was going to win. And I wasn’t the only one cheering for him, check out the crowd and listen to the announcers in this recap of the final hole:
The announcers are giddy talking about his return to winning, and the crowd goes nuts just like they used to. At the 5 min mark you can hear the crowd start to get excited, and you can see the deep galleries running after him. They even chant his name at the end. I have to admit, I was equally excited to see him win.
Then I got to thinking, why am I so excited about Tiger winning a golf tournament? The answer is plain and simple, because I am a fan and he is the best golfer I have ever seen. There was about a ten year stretch where he won something like 65 tournaments, 13 of them majors, and was unbeatable if he had a lead on the final day. It was fun to watch a player dominate the game of golf like he did. Of course I am going to cheer him on, I want him to win like that again. I am all in on Tiger Woods the golfer.
So where do I stand on Tiger Woods the person? I’m not sure. I never really followed him as a person, he was always a bit too boring. His interviews left me feeling like he was a well-educated robot with the right answer pre-prepared. He never seemed to have the connection with his fans on a human level, but that was fine because he was so damn good at golf. His personal life falling apart in a very public way changed all that. People that weren’t even interested in golf had an opinion of Tiger, and 99% of those opinions were negative. And I don’t disagree, he made some terrible decisions and brought everything on himself. But I am also of the opinion that he has paid his price, and should be allowed to learn from his mistakes and start over.
If you fast forward to 8:45 of the video above, you can see the relief and joy in his face, and as a person who has gone through some tough times recently I am happy for him. And as a fan of golf? I’m ecstatic. What do you think?