11I’ll Admit, I’m Happy Tiger is back
I’ll never forget that Friday after Thanksgiving in 2009 when we all woke up to the news of Tiger Wood’s car crashed into the tree with the window smashed in. Soon thereafter, we found out about Tiger’s massive cheating scandal.
I remember thinking immediately “I knew it.” Obviously, I didn’t know that he was cheating, but I had always suspected that in some way Tiger was not the same Tiger we saw on TV, in interviews, books, & magazine articles. Or maybe he was. There was always something hiding, there was always a deeply choreographed show Tiger was putting on. Turned out I was right.
2009 was my senior year of college, and, like most college kids, my room at my parents hadn’t changed much since leaving for school. In my room for years was the famous Nike poster of Tiger, crouched, reading a putt with those intimidating eyes.
I remember feeling, like a lot of people, that Tiger had let me down. I wondered what else about him was a lie. And I sure as hell couldn’t support someone who would do such a horrible thing to his family. It was such an amazing display of selfishness and narcissism from a person who had it all. I quickly removed that poster from my wall.
We all watched the apology and knew it was total bullshit. To me, Tiger was so gone from reality that there seemed to be no turning back.
Jump ahead to April 21st, 2016. Wright Thompson of ESPN publishes his article – more of a short story – “The Secret History of Tiger Woods,” a staggering written article chronicling Tiger’s childhood, obsession with the Navy Seals, the Green Berets, and, most important, his relationship with his father.
In short, Tiger was trained to be who he was. He never had a regular childhood with friends - Earl controlled his life. Earl made the decisions, Earl lead by example. This was Tiger’s greatness on the golf course, his downfall off.
The article especially hit home for our family. My dad grew up on Long Island in a household where he was verbally abused by his mother while his father did nothing to stop it. And my dad’s anger carried into our household for years. We were never verbally abused, he was too aware of it, but our house could be tense with yelling, and we all walked on eggshells.
It wasn’t until my dad was forced into an waking up that he took responsibility and worked on changing, and he has. No longer does anyone walk on eggshells around my dad anymore – and I’m proud of him.
As far as I can see, Tiger has had his awakening - his fellow tour pros say so. He still seems to hide, and maybe he always will. Every word in interviews is still scripted long before the mic is placed before him. But Tiger does seem happy and it seems golf is not life anymore.
I couldn’t help but root for him when he charged at the PGA Championship this year. I missed it: Tiger’s energy, his flash, his toughness, are good for the game. It’s exciting to again have him part of the Ryder Cup, and somehow I think the Ryder Cup will have an even bigger buzz because of him. I hope there’s a few more years of Tiger left.
I’m happy to see Tiger back, to root for him again. I just hope he doesn’t fool me again.