On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 20, 2013 #437 Up next…”It was fun”.
After further review…”I hit it so good today. It was fun” said Tiger Woods after last weekend’s The Players Championship tournament. It was fun? Really? If it was fun Mr. Woods, please tell your face! Throughout the play all four days there was nary a smile that crossed Tiger’s face. Of Course when David Lingmerth, a surprising unknown, failed to birdie the 18th (which would have set up a playoff with Tiger) the camera caught Tiger breaking out a huge smile and saying, “How ‘bout that!” OK, Tiger, how ‘bout a smile on the course from time to time?
This is not critique of Woods, per se; he certainly is entitled to his own style of play. This is more about behavior of athletes during competition. Tiger was raised as a strong-willed competitor; and saying he was going to “kick-butt” in a tournament was practically his verbal trademark. His focus during competition is fierce, to say the least, and he is arguably the best golfer in the game today. He certainly is to be congratulated on his four tour victories in 2013, alongside his 78 career PGA tour victories. But he should remember the many great golfers who preceded him and the many more who will follow.
What snared Woods in controversy once again was an ugly word exchange born on the second fairway in round three of the tournament. Sergio Garcia hit a poor shot from the fairway; he later blaming Tiger for a distraction that was caused by Tiger taking a club from his bag and the responsive loud cheer from his fans. The two batted irate words back and forth during a weather delay that day. Was a simple apology too difficult for either golfer to take? That often seems to settle disputes, if said sincerely.
The game of golf is a “Gentlemen’s Game” and for the large majority of players, both amateur and professional, it is played that way. Generally on their own, golfers observe regulations concerning placement of the ball as the “book” demands. Even junior golfers are required to learn and observe their “Nine Core Values”. Playing golf for a living subjects one to constant and extreme pressure. But this is a choice the professionals make, and we should expect them to practice the common courtesies of the game.
Will you treat any game, including the game of life, with gratitude, enjoyment, and respect?