Friday, August 14, 2009

A kinder, softer Tiger?

It’s beginning to appear that there is an answer to the question, will having children change Tiger Woods? Now, don’t think this is a definitive answer, but a couple of things that he’s said recently lead one to believe that this is just may be a kinder, softer version of El Tigre.

EXHIBIT #1. Following the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Tiger was incensed that he and playing competitor Padraig Harrington had been put on the clock for being out of place. He reasoned that it caused Harrington to exercise less than crystal clear judgment when confronted with a wayward drive on the 16th hole that called for a precise recovery. Harrington’s eventual recovery came to rest in an awkward lie next to a fairway bunker.

From there, his third shot buried in the grass to the right of the green. Rather than pitch onto the middle of the green and perhaps make a bogey, his brain cramped and he shot at the pin. With water lurking tightly behind the hole, his chances for recovery were slim and none and Slim had just left town.

Granted, Woods, who had also driven into the woods, but played to the middle of the fairway before knocking his third shot to six-inches from the hole, may have altered Harrington’s thinking as well. After holing out for a triple-bogey eight, Harrington appeared to be in shock and the tournament was over.

After receiving the trophy, Tiger publicly lashed out at rules official John Paramor for putting the twosome on the clock. “I told Padraig that he (Paramor) ruined a great battle that we had going,” said Woods.


Tiger sticking up for an opponent and not just an opponent, but the guy who was giving him all he could handle was confusing at best. He’s always been the ultimate step on the throat of the opponent when he is down type of guy. This left Harrington to defend Paramor by saying, “the players make the rules and we have to obey them. As a rules official, he was doing his job. When you’re out of position and on the clock, the quickest way to get off the clock is to put the ball in play and I didn’t do it.”

Was “Tiger the Intimidator” on hiatus? Why did he leave “Tiger the Compassionate” in charge? Sam and Charlie are getting to him.

EXHIBIT #2. We all know that Tiger lives for the Majors and the Majors alone. Not only have they been the focal points of his golf schedule, they’ve been the focal points of his life. A year without winning a Major has been like a year without sunshine for Tiger and those around him. Let’s just say he gets poor grades in “Plays Well With Others” until he returns to the winner’s circle.

When he arrived at the PGA Championship pitching a 0-for-2009 in the Majors, he followed up his defense of Harrington just a couple of days before with this gem.

“Even if I don’t win a major, this has been a great year,” he said. “Winning five times coming back from my knee problems is pretty good. Not many players get to do that.”

If his father, Earl, had been alive, you can make book that once he was revived; he would have chased his son down and washed his mouth out with soap. Someone has turned the ultimate competitor and intimidator into a wuss.

Having typed all this I am compelled to mention that Tiger has won two weeks in a row and has fired a five-under par 67 in the opening round of the PGA Championship. More than his score in that round, I noticed one appearance of Woods ablaze in that round. After a rare wayward drive, he did let loose with a string of off-color words and invective that have unfortunately been accepted as part of his lore. This begs that a question be asked.

If his kids can soften Tiger’s heart, why can’t they do something about the really classless language he spews? We kind of like the competitive stuff, but not so much the garbage mouth.

Bartender, please pour a tall tumbler of ice water for Mr. Woods. Better yet, inject it directly into his veins. While you’re at it, please remove the cup of human kindness. Thanks.

See you on the first tee.