Has the Tiger been caged?
written by Laramie:
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Well, the Tiger is back. And John Daly, he never went away. One was welcomed back, the other snubbed out of a golf tournament he felt he should have been invited to. For the life of me, I just can't understand why the red carpet was put down for the one. But I can see clearly now why the other wasn't asked.
You have to understand where I'm coming from. I've been watching all those professional golf tournaments on television for as long as they've been aired. My wife got hooked early on and joined me in front of the tube, rooting for the men who were playing a game the way most of us can't. These golfers were especially talented men who followed the rules of the game, dressed nicely, some more outlandish than others, and who suffered the dreaded three foot putts along with the rest of us who were in awe of the way the pros made impossible shots look routine.
Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, were all household names to all sports fans across the country. They were men more or less respected for their behavior on and off the playing field. And then Tiger came on the scene. A young, arrogant Black man who said he is not Black, said to be unfriendly, if not uncaring, to the fans who seemed to idolize his skill. And he swore like a sailor on the course, using the "F" word and all. But he did seem to be born to win.
Maybe one of the most famous shots not heard around the world happened when John Daly was playing in a tournament and, seemingly for kicks, teed a ball up, took aim at a grandstand full of fans, and proceeded to drive the ball over their heads and the bleachers as if it was a routine act to hit a ball travelling 100 miles an hour into the face of a crowd. No one was hurt, but just imagine, if you can, the potential. The man who could hit a golf ball as far as any man alive got lucky!
Well, the new young gun, nicknamed Tiger for some unknown reason, whose mother was Thai and whose father was a Black man, began the greatest display of golf the game had ever seen. He was unbeatable. He made impossible shots and he had opposing players, and the toughest courses, begging for mercy. He could do no wrong. He was given unheard of endorsements that eventually made him, along with his earnings, a billionaire. And he had a beautiful young white wife and two beautiful children to show to all those lovers of golf how successful he had become. He was the heir apparent to Hogan, Nicklaus, and Palmer all put together.
In time, John, the long ball hitter, won tournaments. He became a crowd favorite. He made lots of money. He was sitting on top of the world. But alas he was soon to spin off into space. Too often he saw the bottom of the empty glass. He cancelled out of tournaments, didn't finish eighteen hole rounds, and worst of all, he didn't play up to his potential. When the Bob Hope tournament in Palm Springs was scheduled, he wasn't invited, tournament sponsors reported, because of the level of John's play. Maybe it was also for other reasons. John ranted publicly and said, "I'll never play in the Bob Hope again, ever." No one shed any tears over that outburst.
Then one day, actually it was a night, Tiger Woods' walls came tumbling down. He drove his car into a wall in his own yard and later was found by police all cut up on his face. Turns out he was booted out of his house because he had been unfaithful to his wife and she found out. Not just once, or twice, or even three times, but countless extra- curricular episodes were recalled by ladies who stepped forward when the news first broke, including waitresses and prostitutes. Rumors were that his wife had hit him with a golf club that night, but that was denied by both parties. The news about Tiger spread worldwide in no time at all. He enrolled in a sexual rehab program and stopped playing organized golf for months while several sponsors dropped him. The topper was losing his wife and custody of his children in a divorce. Several sources close to the situation reported that alimony, child support and sponsor losses amounted to close to a half billion dollars.
John Daly kept on playing, kept on drinking, even changed his wardrobe to outlandish color combinations, saying he wasn't going to stop any of the things he enjoyed. Trouble was, he kept on losing, including several wives. He was even in danger of losing his PGA card which would mean he must qualify all over again to play in tournaments. For John, maybe the party was over and the lights were out.
The Tiger is trying to make a comeback. He hasn't won, and his fan base is splintered, but for some strange reason, the headlines and the cameras at the tournaments still talk about and show Tiger, strolling up the fairway, chatting and laughing, almost like it was business as usual, like he was still the man of the hour. Some of the media act like they want him to win. How can men of character and self respect root for Tiger and all the other sports heroes who have fallen from grace? I can't say I want him back on top after he was shot down. He made his choices and should pay the price, if he hasn't already. The fact that he could hit a little round white ball so straight and so far does not in any way, to me, insure him a place alongside the legends, the respected pioneers of the great game of golf. The record of Tiger Woods speaks for itself.
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