Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Tiger Woods: Must Be Irish....

In a 1997 interview on "The Oprah Winfrey Show"—Tiger Woods said he came up with a name to describe his background—a blend of Caucasian, black, Indian and Asian."I'm Cablinasian," he said. I would like to suggest however, Tiger left one key component out. He must be Irish.

How so? One could make for the fact he's had a good amount of luck (but that's not confined to the Emerald Isle). And great athletes know, you make your luck, right?. Rather, Tiger Woods must be Irish because he lives by the Irish proverb: the only thing worse then being talked not being talked about.

I can't think of an athlete who generates more press that Eldrick Tont "Tiger" Woods. He is a fiction writer's worst nightmare. Whereas said authors get to pen the story how they want, with Woods, there's simply no need to do so. Good, bad and otherwise, no one could possibly make up what he does. Non-fiction talks.

At 46 years old, Woods has 15 majors, five green jackets (the Masters), and 82 tournament victories. He is one of three athletes to have been named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year twice—the first in 1996 and the second in 2000 (the other two are LeBron James and Tom Brady. In other words, Tiger Woods has created buzz for over 25 years now.

Tiger looks good in green, on the green!

And that buzz was primarily quite positive until November 2009, when news of his "transgressions" began to surface. Smashing golf clubs onto a Cadillac Escalade SUV became a sight, symbol and sound for poetic justice. In the years after, we had the video footage of the DUI test, the mug shot, not to mention the "Mac Daddy Santa." Woods made some headlines for dating Lindsey Vonn and returning to the number one slot from March 2013 until May 2014; that's 58 weeks!. How's that for buzz?

It would have been easy for Woods to fade away into retirement. He underwent four back surgeries from 2014-2017. Like Bo Jackson, we would have understood that a great athlete was  "here today, gone tomorrow." We would share our own stories of the red shirt/black pants player who changed the game, look for him to play The Masters, given his exemption as a past champion, and guess who could (ever) take his place.

But Tiger didn't retire. Tiger didn't fade away. In fact, he only turned up the volume. He won the 2018 Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, only to do what was at one point unimaginable: win the 2019 Masters. Truly, it must be one of the greatest comeback wins of all time. I'd never felt so conflicted of what it means to be a "hero." Tiger, you got us talking. 

Due to COVID-19, Tiger Woods defended his green jacket in November of 2020. He tied for 38th and but a few months later, survived a rollover car accident. Removed from the vehicle via the "jaws of life," Woods sustained compound fractures in both legs. Many surmised he would never play golf again. A little over one year later, we anticipate what is once again unthinkable: Woods will play in the 2022 Masters tourney. Buzz begets buzz!

Tiger Woods wouldn't know what it's like to NOT be talked about. Jay Busbee of Yahoo! Sports writes

Yes, Tiger Woods has dominated all golf conversation for the last quarter-century. There’s a reason for that: he’s more compelling than any other golfer that’s teed it up in the last quarter-century. Want proof? Can you name the No. 1 golfer in the world right now? Go ahead, take your time.

This is why we’re still so focused on Woods: because he contains multitudes. He’s the son who achieved his father’s dreams. He’s the father who takes immense, boundless pride in his children. He’s the competitor who looked every one of his challengers in the eye and broke them down, one by one. He’s the striver who set astounding goals and came closer than anyone could have imagined — closer than anyone in history — to achieving them. He’s a player who found his purpose in life early, and then remade an entire sport in his image. He’s a success and a failure, and he’s used those failures to propel himself to even greater successes.

Golf fans are anxious to know what kind of success will meet Tiger Woods at the 2022 Masters. Will he make the cut? Is he able to play like Tiger again? And in case he didn't provide enough reason to talk about him this past week, he did affirm, with conviction, his belief he can win. Luck of the Irish to you, Tiger!

Photo Credits
In green, on the green
Tiger and Joe
Navy...not Seal
Great jacket: Masters

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