I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I’ve been really upset about Tiger Woods all weekend.
I’ve got bigger things to worry about than Tiger Woods. But it’s neither personal troubles nor the war in Afghanistan that has me checking Google News every hour.
Why do I love this particular multimillionaire stranger? Why do I feel such absurd sense of protectiveness for him?
I love Tiger Woods because I’m a golfer.
I play golf just like everyone else I know plays golf. Like an idiot. I hit three good shots in a row. I tell myself, “I’ve hit three good shots in a row. It is high time for me to hit a pull-hook into the lake.” I hit a pull-hook into the lake, and then I curse in phony astonishment.
Tiger Woods doesn’t play golf that way. Tiger Woods hits the fourth shot perfectly, then the fifth and the sixth and the seventh and the twentyseventh. He may never shoot a professional record-low round of 58, but it won’t be because he is afraid to. He may not reach Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors, but that’ll be a pure tribute to Nicklaus. Even if he doesn’t prove himself to be the greatest golfer of all time, I’ll bore my grandkids to tears telling of his exploits.
He is not afraid to be perfect.
He has no need to screwball around.
A golfer knows how unusual it is to see unmitigated confidence another golfer. That golfer reasons, childlike, that maybe the human being who plays golf that way can live his life perfectly, too.
As a golfer, I think: Maybe there’s a chance Tiger Woods lives like he plays: unapologetic, graceful, balls-out, beautiful, controlled, intelligent, passionate and though not mistake-free, perfect nevertheless.
When the CBS camera pans to a regular jamoke like Phil Mickelson (like me), my mind wanders. I allow myself to believe that maybe this man who can play golf like a genius can live perfectly too. So what if you hide your politics? You teach us other things. You teach us that it is possible to be:
a man who knows he is lucky, and puts his good luck to work.
a man humble enough to enjoy his single life—(like the rest of us, Tiger Woods gives most of his good mind to the humdrum task of keeping up with his narrow profession)—without using his spare resources to try to live three more.
who doesn’t automatically pull up short, fiddlefart around and ultimately screw everything up.
who answers the question, “Why does being human mean being flawed?” with, “It doesn’t!”
Tiger Woods, I’m still hoping you were going out in a big rush for baby formula. But in case it was more complicated than that, even in case it was much more complicated, nobody knows better than you how to put a bad shot behind you and focus on the one at hand. Birdies and eagles make up for bogeys.
From one golfer to another: Play well today.