However, after watching bits and pieces of the tournament, and watching the recurring highlights and interviews of Eldrick, the one thing that struck an accord with me was one simple, damning truth. The man is not having fun anymore, not at all. The man would much rather be at home playing with his children, figuring out ways to deal with his personal life, and honestly...sitting in a dark room with an ice cold beer and just being quiet.
I think the media, fans, and on-lookers of this Eldrick Woods debacle have been somewhat selfish for what he's gone through and we're about to lose the only thing that ever made us give a damn about golf. Shame on us.
Now let me be perfectly clear about this...I am in no way, shape, or form excusing Eldrick (I can't call him Tiger anymore until he gets his mojo back, not necessarily winning again...but just having that flair of being Tiger again) of any of the mischievous deeds he committed in the last couple of years. Those deeds being going against his wife and cheating on her with salacious, jezebel hussies. He was clearly in the wrong, and he was going all in with the multitude of hussies he'd "collaborated" with. The man was in the wrong.
But to be honest....I COULD REALLY CARE LESS. I really could. I didn't care about Michael Jordan gambling (and getting in trouble for it like none other, I didn't care about Michael Vick and the dog fighting, I still don't care about Brett Favre's "retirement" until he does or does not show up for Week 1. I just don't care. Again, I'm not excusing their behavior, but as a sports fan my main focus is what that athlete does in between the lines. If I took the time to care about what all of these players did in their off-time, and worried if their levels of morality met my "standards" then I wouldn't be a sports fan. It's hard enough to keep your friends and family in line, and most of the time you don't want to be bothered with their problems either. You do it because you love them.
Eldrick's adultery issues aren't any different than what we see from our friends, family, co-workers and associates we deal with on a daily basis. Yes, I understand Eldrick's on a higher standard, but did you SEE that man on Sunday? He needed a hug and a cold drink. He needs someone in his corner to tell him it's going to be okay. He doesn't have that anymore. He doesn't have his father there anymore, and he doesn't have his wife...well, that's his fault, but still.
Eldrick was put on this earth to be the best professional golfer of all-time. He reminds me of Kobe Bryant in a certain type of way. Eldrick's real quirky like Kobe, I bet Eldrick doesn't have a lot of friends, and I don't know how much fun he'd be to hang out with. However, Eldrick has a similar focus on playing the game of golf is much in line with Kobe's focus on being the best in basketball. (Shoutout to my girl Jo for the inspiration to write that, Lord help me.) What was crazy is that in his interviews, he mentioned that "he hasn't had any time to practice" and that "he's spending time with his kids, and that's what he should be doing." Of course it is Eldrick, get your personal life together, that is a must.
I wonder if Eldrick only has that night of fisticuffs with his wife, fleeing the house and getting attacked in the Escalade with the golf club, and everything else gets hushed up...does all of this end up having the same affect on his play of the golf course. It seemed like the media, casual fans, leaches and those lame ass golfers who were ready to just crucify the man and drill this story into the ground didn't actually think of what they were doing. Eldrick Woods is the only person that made this game relevant to EVERYONE. He made everyone care.
Golf had kind of achieved a different status, past soccer, bowling, X-games, boxing, MMA, tennis, and any other "niche" sport that has a certain type of following. There are die-hard golf fans, and then there was everyone else. When Eldrick came into the fold, the crossover was ridiculous. Now everyone cared. Secretly, there are a large number of die-hard golf fans that were jealous or just didn't like the fact that something that was theirs and theirs alone was now being shared (or in their view, bastardized) by the general public. This isn't uncommon. Think about your friends you have that are die-hard soccer fans, then the World Cup came along and the gen pop got involved, die-hards HATED it. Hated having to explain things, saying things like, "you just don't understand." Its just how it is if you have a niche sport.
Well, I'm afraid if Eldrick falls by the wayside, the die-hards will get their wish. If you see Eldrick on the streets, give that man a hug and a cold beer, and tell him better days are ahead.
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!