Tiger Woods: Great golfer, bad bloke

The return of Tiger Woods at this year’s US Masters has an awkward feeling about it. It is on par with taking your best mate to your favourite golf course only to find two holes are out of play, the greens have been cored and you’ve left your putter at home.
His comments last week raised some giggles across Australia when he claimed he was “getting back to his roots” which sounded counter-productive given his recent therapy sessions.
Australians are particularly fickle when it comes to choosing sporting heroes and won’t go easy on Woods. Any small blemish is fodder for “taking the piss”. Anything larger and ridicule is sure to follow.
Richard Hines gave a good example this in his article in the SMH this week:

However, perhaps the more pertinent aspect of the famed golf club’s controversial membership policy to Tiger Woods’s impending comeback is its failure to embrace a single woman. Thus, on the Sunday before the Masters when Augusta National’s gentlemen members tee up alongside practising superstars, the temptation for a recovering sexaholic will be diminished somewhat.

Tiger’s controlling interviews should not be sugarcoated. Most Americans seem to love therapy of one kind or another but in the language of those who laughed at Tiger’s “roots” – he has been in therapy for being a bad bloke.
It has zero to do with golf, but it surely you do agree it does affect the average golf spectator’s ability to “root” for him.

Ernie Els for example, is not a bad bloke. He might even be referred to as a bloody great bloke who would look great in a green jacket.

Sometimes it is not obvious who is and isn’t a good bloke. In Tiger’s case, despite very few people knowing much about him at all, he seemed like a top bloke. Someone we would like to have had over at a barbie. Now many people would like to see anyone but Woods winning a golf tournament let alone winning a golf tournament.
Yes, the ways of Woods has zero to do with golf but it will change his supporter base. Some people can differentiate between a sportspersons on and off field lives and many will still want Tiger to win. But the majority will not. Not yet anyway.
Sport has a history of fallen bad boys who are despised for most of their career. Eric Cantona, George Best, Mike Tyson and many more were supreme in their chosen sport but scorned for their indiscretions and it pleased many on the few occasions they lost.
Gerard Whateley spoke for many in his fine piece for the ABC:
Of all that can be said of this tawdry affair the thought of attaching the word triumph is most distasteful. Yet if Woods is draped in his fifth green jacket winning at his first tournament since scandal overwhelmed his career such exaltations will doubtless flow.
I fear the context will be misrepresented. There is no redemption to be found on a golf course for Woods. This is not overcoming adversity. Nor fighting back from injustice.Golf was never to blame for this mess. It was the collateral damage.
Watching Woods at the Australian Masters in November reminded me how pure sport can be.
Given the betrayal taking place at that very moment the bitterness is acutely felt.
No matter how hard Tiger’s fans try and put the transgressions to one side, the bitterness will still be there. He’s now a bad bloke. Categorised and chastised for it.

Come the final round of the US Masters next week, if Tiger is a chance to win another green jacket there will be plenty of fans rooting for him to win but not nearly as many as there were this time last year.

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2 thoughts on “Tiger Woods: Great golfer, bad bloke

  • April 4, 2010 at 04:32
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    I cannot wait for the first Tee shot from Woody at the Masters. He will feel just like I did when I first played pennants. Sh#tting myself I was.

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  • April 8, 2010 at 11:07
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    Tiger’s inactivity will have a negative impact on his play. The constant media pressure which his enemies are continuing to use as harassment will also hurt his concentration. There have been many negative stories about sports figures in our glorious history. It is only the blown out of proportion media negativity concerning Tiger that will be treated in the manner that it has been and will continue, it seems, forever. The only reason Tiger is receiving so much attention is that he is proving not to be the black eunich who had no visible sex life and no education and stayed out of sight and out of the minds of our young folks. I wish the people who did not want Tiger to play in professional golf in the beginning,would stop pretending that he was somehow their children’s hero. The only time he was mentioned in many homes is during negative conversations. For many of the people that I work with every day, they are finally getting their wish that the “Black Golfer” has finally been brought down.

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