I have to admit, I just lost a little respect for Tiger Woods.
There’s a little situation brewing at the upcoming PGA Championship this week, and it just happens to involve Tiger Woods and John Daly. Woods, who just recently came back to the PGA Tour (and won The Masters again) was taking questions after a practice round at the Bethpage golf course on Long Island, where the tournament is being played again.
He was asked what he thought about another golfer, (John Daly) being allowed to use a motorized cart to get him around the course. Pro golfers walk the course as a rule, though they have caddies toting their bags, so they’re not completely burdened while they play. Daly has had knee issues for years, and he’s not exactly young anymore. (He’s 10 years older than Woods, FWIW) He asked for an exception to be made by the tournament (and Tour) and it was granted, though he did have to invoke the ‘Americans with Disabilities Act’ in order to plead his case.
Woods was asked his thoughts on the issue, and Tiger, being Tiger had to say something. He opted to be smug, invoking his performance at the 2008 US Open where he played through what must have been pretty excruciating pain caused by two stress fractures in one leg as well as a torn ACL, not to mention he’d had knee surgery a couple of months prior to the tournament. Going completely against his doctor’s recommendations, he played the tournament. And he won. How he managed it is anyone’s guess. Of course, it wasn’t a blow-out, he had to endure an 18 hole playoff the day after the fourth round since he was tied with the runner-up after 72 holes. One wonders what would have happened if he’d lost. How many would have looked down their noses and said ‘Told you so’.
But in this instance, Tiger could have sidestepped the question. Or he could have been non-committal. Instead, he opted to say “I walked with a broken leg, so…” as if that was the end all and be all. What he’s conveniently forgetting is that he made the choice to go against doctor’s orders and play anyway. He didn’t have to. He chose to do it. And yes, it paid off for him. It very well might not have. So, simply because he lucked out and managed to win, he gets to make that sort of value judgment. Yeah, BS. Others have made similar noises, but honestly, unless they’re in that situation themselves, maybe they need to keep those comments off the record. We’re fairly certain Daly isn’t going to be contending for the lead, he’s playing out his time, and he’s a pro golfer, so why not let him ride in a damn cart. It’s not as if he’s getting some huge advantage after all.
Tiger Woods needs to come back down to earth, where the rest of us reside. He’s not invincible, he’s damn sure, not perfect. And come 10 years from now, when he’s as old as John Daly is now, I wonder if his back and knees are bothering him as much, is he going to be the one asking for a helping hand? I’d be curious to see.