Tiger Woods isn’t perfect. He has never claimed to be. He is an adult and he plays a professional sport. Like Kobe plays basketball and Alex Rodriquez plays baseball, they are professional athletes that have managed to make a living playing the sport they love. Tiger has been playing golf since he was a little kid, and will play until the day he dies. That is why I love golf… you can play well into your senior years.
Tiger hasn’t been playing well since the scandal broke a couple of years ago. He has also dealt with injury, especially with his left knee. Tiger hadn’t won an event in a LONG time, but managed to sneak one in at Bay Hill in the Arnold Palmer Invitational earlier this year. Majors are what matters to him, but a win will help his confidence. He barely made the cut at the Masters this year, and isn’t looking good going into the U.S. Open. But that isn’t the point of this blog post.
I love reading about golf. I subscribe to both Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine, a Sports Illustrated publication, and obsess over these issues month to month. I like GOLF Magazine because I often see tips from PGA pros that I know and have interviewed right here on the blog. But I also like their LETTERS section. This section of the magazine allows readers to send in comments and concerns to be expressed on several pages of the magazine each month. This month, Jim Hancock really got me going. He sent in a comment via email that said, “The picture of Tiger throwing his club (“Teeing Off,” April 2012) should not have been made prominent unless it was accompanied by text condemning his behavior. This is not something we should be showing our kids as an example of acceptable behavior. Tiger, and the golf media, have an obligation to be role models for our youth.”
First off, why do these people have an obligation? Does Kobe? Does Michael Vick here? Does Metta World Peace here? If they don’t, why does Tiger? The golf media has a job because of Tiger. Chances are you are watching golf because of Tiger. I don’t approve of his actions, but I understand why he behaves likes that.
When I was playing high school and college golf, I used to get mad. I would slam my driver and throw a club every now and then. I don’t do that now, but I am also not playing competitive golf. They are. He is. They are playing at the highest level in the biggest events vying for the biggest titles and for a record that if Tiger doesn’t break may never be broken. If he hits a bad shot, and throws a club… by all means. He’s the best player to ever play the game of golf. Who is going to stop him?
I will admit, junior golf is the future of the game. It is like that with all sports. Just because Tiger throws his club doesn’t mean that your kid will. If he or she does, that might need to fall on the parent, not Tiger. This is a similar argument to violence in movies and video games. Just because I can play Grand Theft Auto doesn’t mean I am going to go around stealing cars and killing people when I set the controller down.
Tiger also doesn’t care what you or your kids think about him. He is at work… he is in the office when he is on the golf course. He isn’t coming to your office criticizing you for getting upset at a client or a co-worker. Just because he is on TV doesn’t mean he has an obligation to censor himself and his actions. He spits on the course because it’s hot outside, not because he is trying to piss off folks at home.
I don’t approve of the way he acts. But I understand why he acts the way he does. Until you have played at this level, you will never truly understand. I only played high school and college golf and I understand. Tiger Woods is a professional athlete, and should be treated as such. You don’t have to respect him to appreciate and acknowledge what he has done for the game of golf. You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. Tiger is not perfect. Stop trying to paint him as a model athlete and focus on what he does on the golf course.