I watch what I consider a moderate amount of sports. Two things I never miss are games played by the Pittsburgh Steelers, (don’t hate me because they’re winners), and Tiger Woods in a PGA tournament. After watching the Players Championship last week, it’s obvious the ‘Tiger Haters’ are back.
In the third round of the tournament, Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia were paired. They have a history dating back to 1999, and simply don’t like each other. The reasons don’t matter, but there are multiple complaints about each other.
On the par 5 second hole, Tiger mishit his tee shot far to the left side of the fairway into the tree line. Garcia was in the fairway, and was farther away from the hole. Sergio was to hit first. As he was completing his shot, Tiger took what was reported as a three wood out of his bag, and was obviously about to attempt a difficult shot. The problem occurred when the crown became verbal.
As Garcia finished his stroke, he looked back in Tiger’s direction. Garcia’s shot was errant and right. He would bogey the hole.
He later accused Woods of purposely creating the situation. Tiger claimed that he believed the course marshal indicated that Sergio had completed his second shot. Either way, Tiger could not see Sergio.
When the day ended, they both had plenty to say to the press. Sergio indicated that players always know when the man they are paired with has completed his shot. Tiger said that he wasn’t surprised Garcia complained.
The fact that USA and ESPN are continuing to keep the incident alive is nothing more than an attempt at sensationalism. Tiger has been the most scrutinized player in the history of golf. He appears to be once again at the top of his game. He overcame adversity at the Master’s when he was heavily criticized for an illegal “drop”. Almost no one discussed the unfortunate shot that put him in that situation, when he hit the flagpole, and the ball caromed into the water.
I doubt that the reporters who continue to keep what they see as Tiger’s faults in the forefront of Golf news actually watch the tournaments themselves. I watched both the Masters and the Players, and as hard as I tried, I was unable to find obvious violations on the part of Woods.
In the Masters, he appeared well on his way to victory. Every part of his game was in his control. When he hit the flagpole, and knew he would be penalized for his ball going into the hazard, I could not imagine his mental state. He must have been fully aware that that single stroke most likely lost him a major championship.
At the Players, there was no way he could see Garcia’s attempt. Instead of discussing Woods’ composure after finding the water once again on the 14th, Tiger haters are making every attempt to act like politicians and belabor an unfortunate incident.
Some fans and sports writers love to hate a winner. Underdogs are more interesting, and offer more opportunity to sell newspapers. For me, having been able to watch winners such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Tiger Woods has been a privilege. I have to cheer for talent, mental strength, and a desire to be the best of the best.
I see it this way. If you are among the Tiger haters, you are probably jealous of his success. Garcia certainly is. Not only has he never defeated Tiger head to head, he beat himself last Sunday. With a chance to tie and force a playoff, Sergio hit two balls into the water on the legendary par three 17th hole. He beat himself. Tiger just played great golf.
The Guardian Express