Posted by: mdegeorge | August 7, 2010

Tiger losing his stripes

I’m a little alarmed at just how much I’m relishing in Tiger Woods’ precipitous fall from grace.

It’s not because he’s such a male chauvinist (he is). Or that his irrepressible, testosterone-fueled misogynistic sex romps hurt to so many people, especially his family (it did). Or that I maintain severe doubts as to his contrition and think he’d still be banging porn stars and Perkins’ waitresses if he could get away with it.

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Now that the evil media has prevented him from, uh, placing his clubs in whatever golf bag he’d like, his form on the course is plummeting. Sure, he’s managed two fourth-place finishes in Majors this year. But he never posed more than a nominal threat in either and rather than mounting weekend charges at the lead, back-doored (no pun intended) his way into the top 5 as players taking risks to challenge for victory lost ground.

But his other performances have been decidedly un-Tigeresque. A missed cut at Quail Hollow. A withdrawal on Sunday at The Players’ Championship after three tepid days. A pedestrian performance at the Open Championship in which he was never a factor. And now this debacle at the Bridgestone Invitational.

The cherry on top—a reward us reproachers of Tiger have been on the precipice of for weeks now—is the forfeiture of his world number 1 ranking to Phil Mickelson if Lefty finishes in the Top 10 and Tigers fails to climb above 44th place.Tiger has illustrated the fineness of the line between hubris and greatness. For the years he rapidly ascended to the summit of golf, his aggressive tendencies on the course—the swearing at photographers, the terseness with fans daring to foolishly breathe excessively loud during his back swing—in the name of his greatness.

The part of all Tiger’s casual onlookers (whatever you do, don’t mistake me for a golf fan who tunes in beyond the final two days of Majors) that detested his bravado had to suffer in silence as he amassed his prolific cache of victories. Now that we know the taboos those triumphs came at the expense of in his personal life, I feel at least a modicum of vindication in knowing, amongst other things, just how right I was to root for Rocco Mediate.

Every shanked drive, lipped-out putt, and dropped shot is further indictment not only of Tiger and the odious personal means by which he nurtured the competitive drive that led him to the top, but also of the blinder-donning fraternity of golf writers whose overly eager re-acceptance or Tiger is delayed and (hopefully) questioned with every weekend that passes without his name atop the leaderboard.

Tiger’s case if proof of the idiom, “the bigger they come; harder they fall.” With the addendum of “the more I enjoy it.”

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