Tiger bias?
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      In the recently played 2011 President's Cup in Australia, the United States played a golf match against an international team made up of the best players in the world outside of Europe. The U.S. team members had to qualify to play, either by winning tournaments, or by being high up on the list of money winners for the year 2011. Also, the team Captain, Fred Couples, was given the option of picking two players of his choice that he felt would help the team. One of his choices was Tiger Woods. Tiger didn't qualify for the team because he was at the bottom of the money earners, and he didn't win a tournament in 2011. He played only a select few matches, and admitted he didn't play up to his hopes. When asked why he had chosen Tiger for the team, in light of his poor showing for the year, and his personal problems, Couples said that Tiger's behavior outside of golf was totally irrelevant, and anyway he felt Tiger was the "greatest player forever."
      During the match, the TV screened sports scores, and information about the tournament that included the statement that Tiger would lead the Americans in the match against the international team in their race for the Cup. Tiger then proceeded to lose his first two matches, adding no points for the U.S. This seemed to me to raise two questions. One, how could Captain Couples fantasize that Tiger would be an asset to the team, given his poor showing all year long? And two, how could some mindless TV writers see Tiger as the leader of the American team, when he didn't qualify but was just a personal favorite of the team Captain?
     And then to top off the media bias towards Tiger, a bias it seems to me that the media wants to perpetuate, after the Americans won the tournament, headlines flashed "Tiger wins climactic point." Actually, there were 5 other players whose final win would have won the tournament, and only 3 out of 12 players scored fewer points than Tiger. And one player, Jim Furyk, won 5 matches for 5 points. The fact of Furyk's sterling play and an article about his accomplishment in the news seemed to be an afterthought by the press. It was all "Tiger plays, Tiger wins a point, Tiger back in form! Tiger, Tiger, Tiger." What kind of responsible reporting would give Jim Furyk second billing to a non qualifying fill in player who scored fewer points than 6 other players? That's strange sports reporting indeed.
      Tiger just may be the best player "forever". Not the greatest, as "great" implies more than just low scores, but maybe the best. The "greatest" would imply not only a player with superior talent, but also a player who respected the game and its history and respected the fans who look up to the players. It would mean being a player markedly superior in terms of character and it would imply a general attitude of approval of the player. Just how many of these attributes Tiger has or will display is wide open to debate. But wouldn't it be nice if more attention was paid to the other eleven players who worked hard, won match points, and contributed as much to the American victory, in some cases more, than the man whose "strut" down the fairway seems to have, if not disappeared, at least has been humbled, and by his own doing. There are lots of new, young, talented players and the public deserves to read about and see them at least as much as the man who fell from grace.
      Captain Couples made this interesting but bizarre remark after the match. "Obviously, we want to win the Cup. But it's more important for me to have people realize that he (Tiger) can play the game." I wonder if the rest of the team felt the same way? No doubt in my mind. I'll bet they didn't!