Monday, June 16, 2008

Am I a heretic for rooting against Tiger Woods?

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!


Melissa Clouthier said...

Yes, you're a heretic!

Sisyphus said...

Yes, JFnK, you are a heretic for not rooting for Tiger. I used to be like you and pull for some underdog to upset Tiger. I am not a big golf fan and rarely follow anything other than the majors and Rider Cup, but I did usually root for someone to make a charge and topple Tiger and I was usually disappointed.

Then one day I decided to stop torturing myself. There is absolutely no reason to root against Tiger. Why root for a bunch of choking losers when you can root for a winner?
Which of these traits don’t you like?
•He is the most skilled player
•One of the hardest workers
•He’s cool under pressure
•He is consistent
•He is probably the most intelligent successful athlete in the world at any sport
•He is capable of breaking down and rebuilding his game like he did to win the British Opens
•He is rich
•He seems to be classy
•He usually wins

It is not really fair to hold the obsequiousness of the television announcers against him – they should be obsequious. And as for the TV time he gets, well they are only giving us what most of us want to see.

Join us, JFnK. I have been much happier since I jumped on the Tiger bandwagon.