Really, Tiger?

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.


What would you do?

I was going through news and articles this morning as I do, and I came across an article about the California Angels’ ballplayer Albert Pujols, who hit for his 2,000th career RBI last night.   Apparently, for the feat, he hit a home run, which landed in the stands of Comerica Park, where the Detroit Tigers play.  The ball was grabbed by a local fan, who decided to keep it, rather than give it to the player in exchange for swag, which is completely within his right to do.  He explained that he might have given up the ball to Tigers’ security, or the reps from the Angels if they hadn’t been so rude and heavy-handed with him from the outset.  (Naturally, the reps from both teams dispute this, but of course, they would)

The fan, (who just happens to be a lawyer) said that the Tiger’s security person began his negotiation by stating he the fan wouldn’t be able to re-sell the ball, because there’s no ‘chain of custody’ available, to authenticate that that ball was indeed the ball whereby Pujols hit for his 2,000th RBI.  If it were me, I’d be a little peeved with that too, suggesting the only reason I was being stubborn about it was that I wanted money.  The fact that the guy, later on, wasn’t interested in any of the other items that were offered to him (an autographed ball, a ‘meet and greet’ with Pujols, a signed jersey and even Tigers swag from another player [Mickey Cabrera]) definitely tells me that all he was interested in was the ball and the fact that he had never caught one at a ballgame.  It didn’t matter -which- ball it was, even though this one is somewhat special.  Honestly, for Pujols, it would only be another ball in his collection, gathering dust on a mantle or in a display case, until it was sold years later (or donated) after he either died or his family needed money.  Since Major League Baseball gave him the bases from Comerica Park to commemorate the moment, he has in concert with them, the bat that he used, the jersey and whatever else he wishes to save, he could take any ball and say ‘Hey, that’s the one‘ and be done with it.

Even after he was informed that the fan didn’t want to part with the ball, he seemed ok with it.  He didn’t want the stadium staff to push the issue, he seemed to understand that he’s there to participate in a sporting game for their benefit and if someone wants to keep a ball, they should be able to.  Not to mention the fact he’s getting paid an exorbitant amount of money to play said game, so it’s good to know that he ‘gets it’, even though there is a multitude of people on social media arrayed against this particular fan.  They seem to think he should give it up, but sure, they can make that call, since it’s not them.  If it were they sitting on the ball, would they be so quick to give it up?  Something like that changes when you’re the one sitting on the problem.

As for me, personally?  I think it would depend on the situation.  If like here, the stadium personnel were asses about it, I’d hold onto the ball until the furor died down.  After a bit of time I was over the ‘newness’ of the ball, I’d have a lawyer or someone in authority reach out to the player in question and ask if he’d like to have the ball.  To me, it’s a ball.  It has a memory attached to it of where I was, who I was with and so on.  To him, it’s a milestone of sorts.  I can understand if he’d want to have it, for him, his family and friends and whoever else wants to see it.  Would I hold out for swag and a meet and greet and whatever?  Nah.  I don’t need autographed items from ballplayers or famous people.  I enjoy what they do, and pay for the privilege of seeing them in action, either on the screen, at the ballpark or wherever.  They can keep the overpriced items.

But as for you, dear reader…what would you do?  I’m curious to know.