Not so Lazy Sunday

On a typical lazy Sunday there is usually nothing to watch. Last Sunday was far from that though. So what kept my attention and my eyes glued to the television screen for four hours last Sunday? That would be nothing other than the Masters. The Masters has been advertising on CBS since professional football still existed, and it actually managed to live up to the hype. The story lines were endless and it seemed that with each passing minute someone else either was tied for the lead, or moving into a position to take the lead. It’s a rarity, but golf drew my attention for the majority of the day. Amongst all the story lines the two most popular would have to be the collapse of Rory Mcilroy and the charge Tiger Woods made up the leader board throughout the front nine. Forget that Carl Schwartzer played magnificent golf all day long, and ultimately was able to pull away and put his arms through the green jacket.
I'll be honest though, I've grown up in the era of Tiger Woods, and the intimidation and prowess he brings to the course so he is the main reason that the Masters was able to keep my interest for so long. The only thing that bothers me though is all the reaction to Tiger swearing, or even showing emotion when he plays the game of golf. It aggravates me when people get on Tiger about some of his negative reactions to some of his shots, and because of this, these same people proceed to not root for Tiger or even hope that he doesn't return to golf again. Now, that last part may be a little extreme, but I have heard it. I don't understand how you get mad at the guy for wearing his emotions on his red Nike polo sleeves. If Tiger hits a bad shot he may slip a cuss word here and there or drop his club to the ground. So is he just not supposed to care? Or at least act like he doesn't care that he just hit the ball in the woods, or that the errant tee shot he just hit might have cost him the tournament? Let me put it this way, if you miss-hit a shot that possibly could cost you $500,000 would you be a little upset? I know I would be, granted, Tiger doesn't care about the money as much as he does winning. How about this though, if one criticizes Tiger for his negative celebrations, would it be the same to criticize him for his trademark fist pump? After all, that is a show of emotion isn't it? I, for one, love Tiger's competitive edginess and its one of the reasons that left me glued to my television during a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Tiger Woods is the PGA Tour. Why? Well, you know how Madden has a different cover boy every year for the newest installment of the video game series? Well, that doesn't mean that the game is then named after that player, they are just on the cover. There has only been one cover boy for the PGA video game, makes sense since the game is named Tiger Woods PGA tour. While Tiger was dominating the tour the name should have been changed to Tiger Woods' PGA Tour, but that's just my opinion. I guess it is that I just don't understand how people can dislike Tiger so much, I know it can't be the majority, but for the minority that can't stand him for what he does on the course I don't understand. In no way do I condone what Tiger did outside the course, don't get me wrong there, but he has taken the necessary steps to take care of his problem. As a Texas Rangers fan do I not like Josh Hamilton because of his past? Of course not, in fact, Hamilton is probably the most nationally known player on the Texas Rangers. He too has taken steps to improve his troubles and baseball fans love him for that. It’s not as if Tiger cheated the game of golf and owns tainted records like one Barry Bonds. Woods certainly hasn't disgraced the game, but he has made it so an entirely new audience is able to enjoy the game of golf and see it in a different light. Sometimes you don't get to love something until someone introduces you to it, and with the mass marketing of Tiger Woods nationally and globally, golf is much more well-known and more casual sports fans are more likely to sit down and watch golf Thursday-Sunday. Personally, I love how Woods freely shows his emotions, why not be excited for something you train hours upon hours for? Oh, and as for the occasional slip up for a cuss word on a bad shot that could have cost him $500,000 that happens maybe once a round...maybe, I'd like for everyone who dislikes that to watch a professional basketball game. They have microphones on the backboard so the crowd can hear the ball "clank" off the rim or "swish" through the net, well let's just say those aren't the only things those microphones pick up. Seemingly every time down the court a player is fouled or more than likely thinks he is fouled, or shouts a cuss word. He doesn't mumble it under his breath, just shouts it out. As fans do we get mad at those players for shouting expletives? No, because that apparently is part of the game.
Tiger Woods in unlike any other athlete in his/her sport. Tiger literally owned his sport for a decade, give or take a few years. The man had his own brand of Gatorade. Now, was he a perfect man throughout all the fame and fortune he achieved? By all means no. Is he a fantastic golfer that everyone who aspires to be a golf pro looks up to? By all means yes. What is the knock against golf anyway for those who watch it? "It's boring" "Nothing really happens" "it's so quiet all the time". Those are usually the complaints you hear about watching golf. What's not boring is five holes left in the tournament and at least ten people still have a chance to win Masters. I don't even know what that's comparable to. The Masters is about the equivalent to the Rose Bowl of College Football. So think of it as every team in the Pac-10 Conference had a chance to at least play in the Rose Bowl with one game remaining, and every game was being played simultaneously. Nothing really happens? Through 8 holes Tiger Woods was 5 under, and that includes a Bogey. In about an hour Tiger went from a long shot to the favorite only down one shot. Quiet? Sure, when the golfers are attempting to swing the crowd is quiet. I always enjoy hearing the guy in the tee box 600 yards from the flag stick yelling "It's in the hole!" as soon as someone rips one off the tee. The best roar of the day though was the 300+ people (probably a lot more) following Woods around saw him sink an eagle putt to put him right back into contention and the crowd roared as Tiger showcased his patented fist pump as if to say that he was still in this thing. A roar that could be heard throughout the course and sent a chill down everyone's spine thinking that they were all "witnesses" to Tiger Woods and that he is back. I'm not sure where back is. It seems as if for Tiger to be "back" he has to become immortal again and win a major tournament by 10 strokes again. I don't know if we will see anything like that soon, but Woods playing well on Sunday in his trademark red Nike polo wasn't just good for Tiger but for golf as well. As a viewer I enjoy watching people who really care about the sport and want to win above all other things, and Tiger certainly is that. He is never good enough for his own standards, a standard he now holds himself to on and off the course. I can't be mad at a man who gets upset over a bad shot, quite frankly, he should get mad. All he does is practice those shots for those situations so any time he messes up he should be upset. If he didn't get upset over that, then no one would care if the field goal kicker missed the game winning field goal. He wouldn't be negative about it either, maybe just shrug it off and go back and sit on the bench. What happens to a field goal kicker when they have a bad shot? It costs them their job. So of course they get upset over a bad kick, but, like golfers, there are going to be more opportunities. Just because a kicker didn't win the game in regulation doesn't mean that he won't be relied on to win the game in overtime. How many times have we seen Tiger get mad after a tee shot that ends up in the woods, then miraculously gets it from the woods, to the green, and in the hole to save par. He may be upset, but he puts that shot in the past and focuses on the shot ahead. Would he like to have it back? Uh, yea, but that's not a possibility right now. And when Tiger does drain the long putt or hits an eagle or a birdie and celebrates it is a great thing to watch. So I really don't see how someone can hate Tiger Woods for what he does. I guess it's just something I won't understand. If you want to go out and play a game with no emotion then quite frankly you don't have enough invested in your performance to even care about the outcome. Whenever I mess around at the range to go hit golf balls I aspire to be like Tiger Woods. That doesn't mean I throw my club down in disgust every time I hit a bad shot, I'd need a new set of clubs after every range visit, it means that when I'm on the putting green I'll make my stroke and follow the ball all the way into the cup to do my own version of the fist pump just like Tiger. I may be bias considering I've grown up watching Woods, but even through all the negative that has gone on in his life, I can see he has made a change outside of the course, but thankfully he is still the same Tiger every kid playing golf aspires to be. The kind of player that can turn a lazy Sunday into a much talked about one.

-Colby

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