On Saturday, upon my remarking that Tiger Woods was leading the PGA Championship, my friend replied “Ugh, how boring.” And at the time, I agreed with her. However, due to the fact that I was lampooned into attending a family function on Sunday, I watched Tiger’s entire dominating final round from start to finish and during the process I came to the conclusion that if you consider yourself a sports fan to any extent, you are absolutely required to root, and root hard, for Tiger Woods.
My friend’s argument was that she was sick of seeing Tiger win all the time. Who wants to watch the same two or three people (or teams
) competing for titles every single year? At this point, Tiger winning a major has become seemingly routine. He is now 12 for 12 when leading or tied for the lead going into the final round. Watching the tournament on Sunday, it wasn’t a question of “if” Tiger would win, it was “by how much?”
And therein lies the fun. If you watch the final round of a major, you are no longer seeing Tiger compete against the other golfers on the course that day. You are seeing Tiger compete against Tiger. Against Jack Nicklaus. Against history. He had a chance on Sunday to set an all time record for score relative to par in a major championship and as a result, in spite of his five stroke cushion, you could still see the frustration on his face when he missed a makeable birdie putt on the 16th hole. Or when he bogeyed 17. In most cases where an athlete has a chance to break a record, you’ll hear him say things like “All that really matters to me is winning.” Tiger? Not so much.
“That’s great, Biff” you say, “but why does it mean I have to root for him?”
Nowadays in sports (there are those of you who will argue that golf is not a sport and you're objection is duly noted and, for the purposes f this blog, ignored), nothing is really pure. Major League Baseball is a prime example. Tiger Woods dominates the PGA not because he has more money
by virtue of playing in a larger market. He doesn't make fifty-foot birdie putts with the aid of performance enhancing drugs
. He is simply better than everyone else. There are absolutely no mitigating factors to refute this. Tiger has absolutely no competitive advantage over his fellow golfers other than his extraordinary talent. He has no teamates to prop him up
if he should falter, no officials that can err in his favor
. He is dominating his sport in a way that no individual ever has or ever will and he is doing it virtually all by himself. The day he wins his nineteenth major, it will be arguably the single greatest sporting accomplishment any of us will ever see in our lifetimes and to root for anything other than that outcome is unacceptable.
Interesting/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week: I flew from BWI to Long Island on Sunday and as I was sitting in the terminal waiting for my flight to board, who should I find myself sitting next to but none other than John Riggins. The inside dirt on Riggo? He has some seriously nasty toes. Nobody with toes like that should ever wear sandals.
Labels: incredible feats, John Riggins, Tiger Woods