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Is Everyone Happy that Tiger is Winning Again?

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I found myself watching the final round of the Memorial yesterday with mixed emotions. Does Tiger raise the excitement level of any tournament when he plays well? Yes, he's a dynamic player capable of amazing feats on the golf course. Was I rooting for him down the stretch? Well, that's more complicated. He was head-to-head with Rory Sabbatini, one of the biggest a$$hats on tour, so I guess from that perspective I wanted Tiger to win. But, if he had been in contention with Mickelson or one of the young up-and-coming players, then I wouldn't have been pulling for him.

 

In the spirit of full disclosure, I've never been a huge fan of Tiger. He's always struck me as the model for Don Johnson's character in Tin Cup, "Whatever you think of me, you should know he hates old people, children, and dogs." I also have always disliked Steve Williams and since Tiger employed him for so long.... well... that told me everything I needed to know about the player. So, when Tiger's indiscretions surfaced, I wasn't all that surprised. It just confirmed what I had suspected about the man off the course.

 

Anyway, I'm interested to hear if many of you feel the same way. Tiger's rise from the ashes is good for golf. Does that mean we have to root for him or is it ok to dislike the player even to the point of rooting against him but still have admiration for what he brings to the game?

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I think its good, love him or hate him he brings alot of excitement to the game. That freaking huge fist pump and primal scream on 16. . .say what you want about the guy, at least you know he's into it and that he loves kicking the snot of his opponents. He doesn't just want to win, he wants to crush them and they know it.

 

We've talked about it alot, I have little respect for Tiger as a man. I know people make mistakes and all and I could gain respect back for someone if I really thought they had learned from their mistakes and changed. I don't get that impression from Tiger. However, I really do love to watch him play good golf. His career has been full of mind blowing shots in the biggest pressure packed moments. Shots where you just shake your head and think "no freakin' way did he just pull that off. . ."

 

So I'm thrilled to see him back, I was thrilled to see him win the way he did, coming from behind while Levin (did anyone think he had a chance?) and Sabbatini (remember that guy popping off about Tiger many years ago? I bet Tiger and Sabbatini both do!) wilted like week old flowers. I think it showed that Tiger still has the game and the only thing that is going to hold him back is his own demons. I don't expect him to dominate like he used to, but I think we're going to see him up on the leaderboard more often, and I think we're going to get to watch these youngsters that everyone claims are "not afraid of Tiger anymore" get taught to fear.

 

You can't tell me that hearing those Tiger roars from the gallery doesn't effect these guys. It feeds Tiger, and just piles the pressure on his opponents, its fun to watch!

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I really wanted Levin to win so he could get over what happened earlier this year, but he crumpled again... As for Tiger winning, I think he's an ass to fans, so I really don't care. I tell my son he should act like Phil or Bubba (except for this tournament), not like Tiger.

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I don't think anyone has to root for him. They didn't have to before the "scandal" and they don't have to now. Hell, they don't even have to like him, appreciate him, or anything else. All I can tell you is that I cheer for him to win every time he tees it up because it's damned boring without him, and it's great for the game when he wins. I wasn't a fan before because of his character/personality, and I don't care about it now, I just want to watch the guy who is the best at what he does.

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I found myself watching the final round of the Memorial yesterday with mixed emotions. Does Tiger raise the excitement level of any tournament when he plays well? Yes, he's a dynamic player capable of amazing feats on the golf course. Was I rooting for him down the stretch? Well, that's more complicated. He was head-to-head with Rory Sabbatini, one of the biggest a$hats on tour, so I guess from that perspective I wanted Tiger to win. But, if he had been in contention with Mickelson or one of the young up-and-coming players, then I wouldn't have been pulling for him.

 

In the spirit of full disclosure, I've never been a huge fan of Tiger. He's always struck me as the model for Don Johnson's character in Tin Cup, "Whatever you think of me, you should know he hates old people, children, and dogs." I also have always disliked Steve Williams and since Tiger employed him for so long.... well... that told me everything I needed to know about the player. So, when Tiger's indiscretions surfaced, I wasn't all that surprised. It just confirmed what I had suspected about the man off the course.

 

Anyway, I'm interested to hear if many of you feel the same way. Tiger's rise from the ashes is good for golf. Does that mean we have to root for him or is it ok to dislike the player even to the point of rooting against him but still have admiration for what he brings to the game?

 

I'm right there with you and then some. When it became clear that either Tiger or Sabbatini was going to win the tournament, I changed the channel. It was nice to see Stacy Lewis win the ShopRite LPGA instead.

 

I think I've made it clear that I'm no fan of Tiger Woods, and I don't think that anyone outside his immediate family would own up to being a fan of Sabbatini, so rather than watch two of the games most despicable personalities finish up, I choose to watch anything else. On Twitter, I referred to it as the battle of Masengill vs. Summers Eve (PGA Edition), which apparently was enough Tiger-hating to get GolfSpy Matt to threaten to unfollow me on Twitter (side note: one of the best things about MyGolfSpy is that we don't feel any need to present an official company position. Matt has his options, I have mine, X has his, and Dave and Tim have theirs...anyway...)

 

Sabbatini isn't really worth discussing outside of the fact that he's the one exclusion to my ABT (anyone but Tiger) rule that dictates who I cheer for down the stretch. As for Tiger Woods...I won't argue that he's not pound for pound the most supremely talented golfer to ever play the game. He is. Unfortunately he's also one of the most despicable personalities...think about this for a second...perhaps THE most despicable personality on tour (who curses more than Tiger? Who throws more clubs? Who gives a more evasive interview? Who runs more of a dog and pony show?). And yeah...he's good for ratings, but what does that say about your sport when you have to rely on a despicable malcontent to get people to watch. (Another side note: I blame the media guys for that. There are 100 great stories that could be told every week, but it's much easier to make your money suckling from the teet of Tiger than it is to actually find something new to write about. It's lazy...and it's bad for the sport).

 

Apart from the complete and total sham of an image Tiger and his merry band of enablers created, I honestly don't have an issue with his "off the course" stuff. If he chooses busted hos over a beautiful wife and two children, even if it's something I can't understand, if we can basically forgive The President, I'm not going to hold it against a golfer...

 

except maybe the Joslyn James thing...I mean THIS (and this is actually a good picture of her):

joslyn.jpg

 

 

Perhaps it's not Tiger's fault. His father spent the better part of 2 decades teaching his son to be the ultimate golfing machine. Sadly, it seems he barely spent 5 minutes teaching his kid respect for the game, or how to be a decent human being. Sure...Tiger is great when he's winning...we're all on our best behavior when we're winning. The thing is, you'll learn more about a man watching him play 1 round of bad golf than you will 10,000 rounds of good golf. The cursing, the club throwing, the evasive interviews after the fact...it's all too much. Apart from his game, there's absolutely nothing to like about Mr. Woods, and I'm simply not one who believes that winning trumps everything else. The end, to me, doesn't justify the means.

 

At the club I belong to, there are several adjectives that get thrown around to describe the various members on the course. If you're a "stick", you're a steady, solid player who seldom has a bad round. "Tough" is the one used most often to describe me. It's for guys who don't always have their best game, but who dig in, fight, and who compete to the end. Tiger is perhaps both of those. The rarest of all tags, however; is Gentlemen. It's reserved for the guys who win and lose with absolute class. They are the first to take their hats off and offer their hands. They're the guys who when they walk off the course you can't always tell if they won or lost because their demeanor never changes. The respect the course, and their opponents....ALWAYS, without a single moment of exception.

 

The tour guys that live up to that standard...those are the guys I want to see win. Guys like that...Tiger, for all his talent, isn't fit to carry their bags. The apparent reverence Mr. Nicklaus shows for him, actually makes me think less of Jack. What he should have said was "that was an amazing shot. I only wish he'd learn to stop acting like a petulant child when things don't go as well as they did today".

 

Here's how I look at it...if my daughter grows up to love the game...and could be blessed with the talents of the pro, but the trade off is she'd grow up to be exactly like one of them in every way...Tiger would be the LAST golfer I'd want my daughter to emulate. Be anything your talents allow...just don't be like Tiger. All of the talent can't make up for none of the class. Nobody will ever label him a gentlemen.

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Great post T, I couldn't agree with you more.

 

There is another type of guy at all golf clubs, and that is the "competitor". He's probably not the most liked guy, but everyone that draws him in the bracket knows they're in for a tough match and that they better bring their A game that day. He's the guy that wants to WIN and when he beats you, he is jacked up, and when you beat him, you get a feather in your cap because you know you did something that day. That guy is there to play golf and compete, and when he's on the course he's trying to take your money every time. He's the guy that when you bust him up and take him for $10, you make him sign the bill.

 

Despite his many and huge flaws, Tiger is that guy. I think that when he is playing well, he brings out the best and the worst in everyone else. You really get to look into the psyche of the other players as they go down the stretch with Tiger in contention. They know he's not a good guy, they surely know he's no gentleman, but they also know that he is there to make them fold. They know that they have to go out and play their best and execute under the most intense pressure available in the game of golf today. It really is THE test of golf in this time. Can a guy mix it up with Tiger and at the very least not embarrass himself? Without Tiger, that pressure cooker is only on 1/2 way. Guys shake hands after the round finishing 1st or 2nd or 3rd and collect their checks and no one cares. Tiger playing well turns it up a notch and makes golf compelling to watch, instead of just entertaining.

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I was so hoping that Ricky was going to blow Tiger away and win, and instead, he just imploaded! Tiger winning does help ratings wise, but I was only rooting for him over Rory yesterday, other than that, he's just an ass that can't win week after week like he used to.

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On Twitter, I referred to it as the battle of Masengill vs. Summers Eve (PGA Edition), which apparently was enough Tiger-hating to get GolfSpy Matt to threaten to unfollow me on Twitter...

 

Nice one T. I almost spit out my coffee after reading that. :D

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All I can tell you is that I cheer for him to win every time he tees it up because it's damned boring without him, and it's great for the game when he wins. I wasn't a fan before because of his character/personality, and I don't care about it now, I just want to watch the guy who is the best at what he does.

Exactly.

 

He is damn near impossible to like as a person, and equally impossible not to appreciate as a golfer. The game is far more exciting when he's in the hunt. Did you hear the crowd roar when he holed that flop? Those weren't simply cheers.....those were roars akin to a David Ortiz walk off homer in Boston.

 

BK

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I guess I'd agree more or less with everything written here although it's hard to know who Tiger is - by all accounts the guys on tour enjoy playing with him - perhaps more than they enjoy playing with Phil.

 

Whether you root for him or not his presence and even better his being in the mix makes it more exciting. I wasn't necessarily rooting for him but it was hard to imagine him not catching Spencer Levin (is that the worst swing in the history of the PGA tour or what? - and don't give me Jim Furyk - his swing may look ugly but it repeats - Levin? Man my swing is better than that - he must be one great athlete)

 

He played the best down the stretch which is typically what the winner of the tournament does. But this is also a course that he is very comfortable with - like Bayhill - let's see what happens in the Opens and the PGA where he has to deal with not so golf course friendly type surroundings.

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Without Tiger, that pressure cooker is only on 1/2 way. Guys shake hands after the round finishing 1st or 2nd or 3rd and collect their checks and no one cares. Tiger playing well turns it up a notch and makes golf compelling to watch, instead of just entertaining.

 

This especially.

 

The hype for Fowler has been huge lately and to be fair, he's been playing some rather good golf. However maybe all the talk about him being the next Tiger will quite it down. He entirely self destructed under the extra pressure. Now if only Rory can be stuck in the same situation so we can see what happens there as well.

 

More importantly Stacey Lewis is killing it out there this year. That was a damn fine win in a strong field. I'm sad Brittany couldn't repeat but Stacey taking it is the next best thing.

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Leaving the marital issues asside.

 

It is hard for us to know what Tiger is really like out there. We are dependant on the media for the most part and Tiger has no reason to love them and they strive to promote controversy because that generates interest. They have lambasted him for two years, and while he might have deserved it last year, since December he has had a pretty good year, not even counting the win in December that they so easily dismiss. He has looked horrible at times but now has 2 wins, 1 second, 3 top 10, 5 top 25, and 8 cuts in 9 starts. For anyone else this is a good year. But for Tiger, the media, and most of the people here, are calling for Sean Fowley's head, and chastising Tiger for changing his swing.

 

Tiger does not come accross very well in the interviews, but then again, for the most part, everyone of the media types are looking for some sound bit the will really generate interest and/or controversy.

 

I think Tiger deserves props for trying to regenerate his image by using Twitter and the on-line press conferences. The first time he tried it with himself acting as moderator was a complete flop. This time he did it again with a moderator and had it not conflicted with the PGA's conference it would have gotten more press. Of course, he will still be garded but then while Earl may have done a very good job training Tiger to be the greatest golfer ever, he did fall woefully short in the greatest man of all times.

 

Having said that, Arnold, Jack, and even Byron MAY have fallen short of the greatest man of all time award. Just not as short as Tiger.

 

 

 

But to answer your question, I did enjoy the tournament. and Tiger winning. And when Jack Nicklaus says the shot on 16 is the greatest shot he has ever seen!!! not even counting that it went into the hole. That was a happy accident.

 

I would still like to see Bubba win all the majors this year, but I do not think that will happen. He may not recover from winning the Masters by then, but if not him, a Phil - Tiger - young guns shoot out for the US Open will be pretty good.

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I again am not a huge Tiger Woods fan, I don't condone his personal life actions. HOWEVER, his personal life actions have nothing to do with him as a golfer. No one can sit here and deny that Tiger Woods is one of the greatest golfers that has lived, the record books and wins speak for themselves.

 

Now you may not like Tiger for the persona that he has had in his career with the media and attitude about his projected results. However, I don't see that done by accident early in his career. He came off like a complete argent a$$ to the media and in general think that was apart of the intimidation factor he was cocky as all heck but could flat back it up with talent. Persona is something that is developed, take Ben Hogan he could have a round with someone and not speak a single word, he was also quoted when a lady asked him for an autograph before a round on the practice tee "Sorry Ma'am I have already started my round". Now that could easily be interpreted as him being a a$$ but it was juts that he had gone into his cocoon and started his process for that days round and didn't want to break it. I think Tiger is also one of those that has a semi cocoon type of personality, you won't hear him talk much during a round when he is in the hunt.

 

If you have watched his interviews this season it has almost seemed like he has gotten a little more humble coming into this win. Seems a little more open with the media a touch a hair not a lot. Is that a new side of tiger coming out now that he is older and slightly more wiser I hope, maybe more mature? Time might tell that much I am not jumping to conclusions. I think a lot of people are ABT (Anyone But Tiger) type of people because Tiger is statistically the favorite, it is almost like "Anyone but the NY Yankees" in baseball or "Anyone but the Detroit Red wings" in ice hockey. Whatever you want to compare it to people like to route for the "underdog".

 

With that said good for Tiger that he won, better him then Rory Sabbatini. Sabbatini is a completely different story then Tiger, Tiger might curse here and there and act a bit argent but Sabbatini will yell at 16 year old volunteers for no good reason. Sabbatini has anger issue problems and has been suspended by the tour on more then one occasion for his behavior. I think it seems like once a year I read about Sabbatini getting into a verbal confrontation with someone. Sabbatini, reminds me of some cash game players that use any legal way possible to get an edge including verbally abusing you to get under your skin. Another one is slow playing you so that your tempo gets off, anything to just get you off your game but yet keep their own, not real ethical but there are examples of where this happens in tour events on the last day in the last group, slow playing to get under the skin of the opponent when it gets down to match play situation type thing.

 

 

love it or hate it Tiger is good for the game and has helped grow the game of golf, Seve was Tiger Woods before Tiger was ever a superstar so to speak.

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That's why, even though my feelings regarding Sabbatini mirror T's, he obviously has a different side to him, which it's my guess, based on comments by Tiger's extended family, he does not have..It's a shame really, because at the end of the day, when the rush of victory, competing & cheers have faded, it's got to be a little empty when ya look around you...Nomatter how beautiful the ho is who's looking back at ya...Fairways & Greens 4ever....

 

OK, so he likes kids. I still think he secretly hates dogs and old people. B)

 

Seriously though, that's a great story and definitely shows a different side of him. Nobody accused the guy of being a monster... and you'd have to be just that to ignore the dying wish of a small child with bone cancer.

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Richard, that is a really cool story about Sabbatini. And a really terrible one. Hard to figure that guy out.

 

Back to Tiger and my ongoing argument with Tony: You can say that it's just semantics, but I have a hard time seeing how someone is "despicable" for acting childish (throwing clubs, cursing, etc). Despicable: "deserving to be despised. So worthless or obnoxious as to rouse moral indignation." Again, the behaviors you're listing don't rise to "moral indignation" for me. Guess you're more sensitive.

 

Perhaps it's because I did not grow up on golf (I don't know if you did or didn't). I grew up playing basketball where showing emotion is the norm rather than the exception. If I don't play well, I'm going to be mad. I will absolutely shake your hand after you beat me and I will congratulate you for doing so (which, so far as I know, Tiger has always done), but if you see me walking out of the gym you will know whether I won or lost. On that count, I find Tiger easier to relate to, I find him to be authentic. You can say that's two douchebags relating to one another if you'd like and that's ok with me, it won't change my life.

 

Now with regard to how he interviews, really? There are MAYBE 3 guys who say remotely interesting things in interviews. All of these guys in every professional sport are coached to say the same boring crap, "I just want to take it one day at a time, give 110%, and, god willing, we might win some games." (Someone name that movie!)

 

Also, a couple of times you refer to him as being the most "talented." Read The Talent Code and understand what talent is. It's work. A lot of work. I think a lot of people are dismissive of his ability via the word "talent" as if he was born with it. No one is born with talent, talent is earned through hard work.

 

Now, however, I will close with something I think we can all agree on: that girl, Tiger, really? (vomit emoticon)

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Nice post Matt - I will take one small exception or perhaps put something out to see what you think......

 

I believe that everyone is born with a certain talent potential level in lots of different areas - it takes a great deal of work to reach that potential - I'd have to say that no amount of work would ever have gotten me to the level of Tiger Woods on the golf course - he's way above my potential in that regard. Since at one time playing the trumpet was my chosen vocation I discovered that no amount of work was going to get me into the trumpet section of the Chicago Symphony or the NY Philharmonic - I was very good but did not have that kind of potential and trust me I worked very, very hard - practiced 8, 9 hours a day every day for five or six years once I decided that this was what I wanted in life.

 

Having written that I'm all over the fact that many people disregard how hard a talented person has worked to get where he or she is at in life.

 

I'm also not as bothered by Tiger's behavior as some others (you'd think I would be given my profession.) He wants to win but I've never really seen an example of him being a bad sport - the club kicking thing at Augusta was a bit much, I'm not fond of the constant use of profanity but everyone is entitled to some of that. Everything I've read about him is that the other players generally enjoy playing with him although sometimes they get upset with his galleries.

 

I haven't seen a thread on it but right now I'm pretty amazed at Phil and the other players for being ticked at people taking pictures of them with their cell phones. I know that they have those signs when you walk into a tournament and I always turn my cell to stun and won't take it out of my pocket unless it buzzes but - What does anyone think is going to happen with that many people there? Do you really think that everyone will be quiet all the time or follow the rules? You have to have enough focus to not be bothered by what's going on or to back off until whatever it is disappears. This one has me more upset than his withdrawing - who's the customer here?

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revkev,

 

You bring up an excellent point regarding potential, and I don't disagree with you. Nothing in the world would have made me an NBA center. Much as I believe in the research put forward in The Talent Code, genetics do have some role in it. That said, we agree that all the "potential" in the world doesn't amount to a hill of beans without an amazing amount of work.

 

I haven't put much thought into the Phil, cell phone situation. Are people not putting their phone cameras on silent? I did hear that Phil's withdrawal was a message regarding the policing of cell phones, but that obviously was not a confirmed statement from Phil, just a thought from some golf scribe.

 

Regardless, to your question about who the customer is: I (unfortunately) agree that you can't expect everyone to behave appropriately, but when you go to any entertainment, you agree to follow the "rules of the road": you don't talk in movie theaters, you don't wave your lighter at the symphony, and you should be quiet during someone's shot at a golf tournament. The customer is important, but he's not always right.

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As for Tiger's personal life - my feeling is it's his life and his business. He has to live with the consequences of his choices and his actions (but that girl? Really?) -- but for me, I have enough issues in my own life...

 

That said, there are so many compelling golfers with compelling stories to root for. I mean, what does it say about Bubba that his good buds were among the first to greet him after winning the masters. That says a lot about a guy. Or that he bypassed The Players so he could be with his newly adopted son...

 

We don't really know these guys at all -- RP shared two distinct sides of Sabbatini: a$$hat and humanitarian - and the real Rory is probably both of those things and somewhere in between. Do we really know what Tiger is like? All we get is anecdotes, tidbits and what his publicity machine wants us to see, plus stuff people with axes to grind want us to know.

 

Since we're talking movies (Bull Durham, thank you very much!), there was a scene in Fever Pitch - after the Red Sox lost and the main characters were drowning their sorrows in beer, they see three members of the Sox having dinner and apparently enjoying themselves. The guys were downright mad that the players, after losing such an important game - could be out enjoying themselves, that is was somehow an insult to them as fans. Then Fallon says something like to them it's their job, so us it's something bigger.

 

We can't forget that for most of these guys the game is a job or a business - they're passionate about it, for sure, but it's what puts food on the table.

For us, it's just a passion - sure, some of us make our living through the game, but it's not quite the same thing. Maybe that would make Sabbatini's behavior with the kid who returned the watch understandable - not excusable - certainly no excuse for that kind of rudeness, but if you're trying to make a living and feel as though everyone's trying to get a piece of you...well, I can see that kind of stuff happening, especially if you have a$$hat tendencies.

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All good points -

 

Maybe we should start a thread on the talent/potential thing - don't know that it's a measurable settleable thing but I do know that every "talented" person I've ever been blessed to spend time with works his or her butt off. They have great potential and take the realization of that potential seriously.

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