Well, Tiger Woods won another US Open title today, and fans and journalists alike are heaping praise on him for winning his 14th major title, especially with his gimpy knee. I will give him his due credit. He did everything he needed to do to win, and pulled off one of the most amazing shots in US Open history on Saturday when he one-hopped a chip shot into the 17th hole for birdie when the ball could very easily have gone 20 feet past, leaving him a probable bogey, a 2-shot swing.
Yet I find myself among what feels like a small group of people who actively root against him. Why would I do that? A good question. I don't dislike him. The spitting and cursing don't bother me in the least. And I am very impressed with the shots he can pull off that he has no business even trying, as well as his talent and his work ethic.
So what is it that makes me pull for everyone but him when he plays? I suppose part of it is my love for Jack Nicklaus. Not only is Tiger approaching Jack's professional major title record (18) at breakneck speed, but he was also universally loved from the moment he won his first Masters victory in 1997, whereas Jack was loathed by many Arnold Palmer fans. Jack's anointing as the best golfer ever took a long time, having to overcome the animosity from Arnie's Army.
Another reason why I root against Tiger is that, frankly, I am sick of seeing him. I have watched golf for years to see shotmaking, as well as appreciating the games of all the players. Watching an event with Tiger in it these days feels like a 4 hour televised lovefest. Commentators are leery of saying anything negative about him, for fear he will give them the silent treatment. We get to see Tiger on the range, Tiger on the practice putting green, Tiger walking down every fairway. Even when he loses, he is the story. Trevor Immelman didn't win the Masters, Tiger lost it. To me, Tiger has become like the New York Yankees.
Don't get me wrong. I am not pleased about his knee problems. I have had some very significant issues with my feet and ankles, so much so that I can't run or jump, and I would never wish chronic pain on anyone. I just can't root for him as a golfer. Except in the Ryder Cup. Then I'm behind him all the way!