Thompson: Too Many Rooting For Tiger

By Brad Thompson–

The final round of the Masters was as exciting as it gets in the world of golf. The logjam atop the turbulent leaderboard on Sunday afternoon at Augusta National made for spectacular TV. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I had one problem. Why do so many fans want Woods to win?

Isn’t this the same guy who had the sports world in the palm of his hand and used his power to run around on his wife? Woods’ marital and personal problems were aired publicly, so I’m not going to revisit them, I just don’t know why the galleries at Augusta wanted him to win so badly.

This isn’t a story of a person overcoming adversity to achieve greatness. He isn’t coming back from surviving cancer or a devastating injury. He’s responsible for all his problems away from the course. I understand why people were rooting for Mickelson to win the Masters in 2010. It was heartfelt story, Mickelson winning another green jacket while his wife is fighting cancer.

I believe in second chances, but this isn’t a case of someone making one regrettable mistake and returning a changed person. After his marriage fell apart, he vowed to be a better person and golfer. All I’ve seen from him since is a bunch of whining and groaning on the course. He still disrespects the game by the way he plays. Do you think his father would be proud of the way he behaves on the course and treats reporters? My guess is that his father didn’t teach him to play this way.

In this country we, as fans, are so quick to forgive athletes. In today’s sports culture, athletes are idolized and become children’s heroes based solely on a their athletic performance. I understand that players’ personal lives are subjected to public scrutiny that may be unfair and unwanted, but like it or not, it comes with the territory. On Sunday, it was clear that the masses have moved past Tiger’s transgressions and only care about seeing him return to greatness. What’s wrong with our culture when athletic performance is more important than values, like decency and respect? What message does that send to children?

This Masters showed us that golf is teeming with ambitious, young talent. The game is full of young bucks crushing monster drives, draining tricky putts and having fun while doing it. As Rory McIlroy demonstrated, not all of the younger players have the experience to succeed in a major, but they are certainly contending.

I hear golf commentators and experts say that it’s better for the game when Tiger wins. Remind me again why that’s true? So we can return to a situation where the masses love Tiger and idolize a golfer who lacks the respect, etiquette and integrity that the game of golf is based on. It seems odd to me that the game of golf would want a person with a reputation “like no other” to carry the torch for the sport.

Woods finished in a three-way tie for fourth place. By old Tiger standards, that’s disappointing, but by the new Tiger standards it was encouraging. Woods will win again soon enough, and everyone that has been waiting for him to return to greatness will be able to rejoice.

With or without him winning, golf is heading in the right direction. The growing number of international players and crop of young talent is the future of golf. And until Tiger starts respecting the game, I can’t find a reason to root for him.

Do you agree with Brad? Post your comments below.

brad thompson bio pic Thompson: Too Many Rooting For Tiger

Brad Thompson

Brad M. Thompson, a former college football player and coach, made his return to the Midwest in 2009 after fighting wildfires out West. He earned his master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and covers the Big Ten Conference and Chicago sports. Follow him on Twitter at @Brad_M_Thompson. Find more of Brad’s blogs here.</em

  • Mark, Sterling

    Bread, shut the hell up. I dont care if he was high on meth or anything else. The guy is the most dominant golfer EVER and I want to see history continue to be made. What happens off the course is not my concern nor problem. I don’t idolize Woods or any other pro athlete. I want to see the great ones BE great! Were you cheering to Jordan to win in 98? Cuz I’m pretty sure, he cheated on HIS wife before that. I did, and will continue to cheer for Woods to win EVERY TOURNEY he plays in!

  • The Evil Robots

    Maybe you don’t need to worry about who people want to root for. I think Ben roethlisberger is a rapist and generally disgusting human being, but I’m not going to tell Steelers fans they shouldn’t root for him. Tiger has kept this sport from dropping into mediocrity for the last decade. How many of these young players got into golf because of Tiger.

    • Joe Blow

      Ben Rapeisberger is disgusting and I will certainly look at fans differently who idolize him. You are the company you keep.

  • HeWillWinAgain

    I agree with Sterling above. The only role models should be the parents, not an athlete, actor or musician. Athletes, actors and musicians are paid to entertain, not to rear our children. I could care less what he does after his round of golf is over, I want to see some entertaining golf while he is on the course.

  • Willie

    Brad sounds like a jealous, bitter, failure of an ex-athlete and is using his poison pen in a manner that he could not achieve on the football field.

  • Jeff

    I’m not Tiger Woods’ wife so I really couldn’t care less about the fact that he cheated on his wife. Why do you? Spare me the “won’t someone please think of the children?!!” line.

    And “disrespecting the game of golf because he groans on the golf course”…give me a break.

  • Drew

    Oh-so-disconnected Brad Thompson…you’ve proven yourself a clueless cad. Tiger Woods made personal choices that he will have to live with. End of story. In fact, there is no story in this JUDGEMENT PIECE you’ve incorrectly labeled an article. The guy cheated on his wife–wow, now there’s news. Multiple times even…wow, even BIGGER news! I think not. He and countless other men have done likewise. Those rooting for the guy want to see him win. They still like the man. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, they’re called FANS. Fans lack the luxury of judging anyone unless they themselves are without the slightest blemish. I might add that you of all people most certainly don’t have the privilege of condemnation–because it’s kinda clear to anyone with a brain that you’re not perfect either. Just sayin’.

  • Tiger is Golf

    Brad M. Thompson. R U for real ? I cant not beleive they let you post this ?? Look at the viewer numbers for the masters over the weekend… they were out the door for a reason !!! Cuz Tiger was in contention….. ‘nough said …now that he seem to have swing back the other 3 majors will be the same…GO TIGER… man u r a doofus….. what happen to NU ??? porn on display and now u… my gosh !!!!

  • GigFCP

    Brad, perhaps one could look no further than someone as myself for example. I made it my business to become a huge fan of Tiger prior to his indinities. Why? I did it to myself because I lost out on allowing myself the same with Jack Nicklaus until he won his final three majors. For whatever reason, I never appreciated golf that much anyway, but I also didn’ “get it” about making it special somehow by latching onto someone as a fan. I think perhaps you need that more if you don’t care that much about the game itself.

    Tiger Woods disappointed me big time. I was as disgusted by his dalliances as anyone and certainly put myself, as much as a man could, in his wife’s shoes. I went through a period in which I didn’t care about his lack of success since. Then, all of a sudden, I found myself rooting for him at the Masters. I fought myself about why this passion was happening and the only thing the made any sense whatsoever is that I had allowed myself to become his fan long ago. Being a fan is short for fanatic which means an “irrational allegiance.” No definition befits how I feel about Tiger today. I’m sure the same could be said for guys like Babe Ruth or Bobby Hull, Once you’re a fan, you’re a fan for life. It makes little if any sense, but that’s the way it is. It also can happen to the most rational fans out there! I think I know, because I constantly get accused of being one.

  • scott thompson

    Give me a break “holier than thou Thompson”!!! It is Augusta National that denied black folks entry to the premises (unless caddying or serving drinks), denied women and Jews membership, discriminated (or still does) in every conceivable way possible! Get real………”etiquette and integrity” that golf is based on??? Golf has historically been a “snob” sport that has judged and denied decent law abiding, self respecting, honorable people with good values for not being “good enough” to play or be a member at their snob clubs. I believe you’ve seen and LOVE the classic parody of golf and it’s hypocrisy: Caddyshack. Fans love Tiger’s golf ability. We don’t give a damn what he did or didn’t do to his wife or kids. It’s the history he’s made and the thrill of watching an athlete dominate for so long at such a high level.

    You are a Chicago sportwriter……..go pick on Michael Jordan and all of his infidelities for so many years. Arnold Palmer was no saint….and I don’t care. What they do on the field/court/course is what matters. Tiger is one of a kind and we are lucky to have been around to see it. It will be a LONG time before we see another player like Tiger. The Browns have a better chance of winning the Super Bowl before we see another golfer win 14 majors.

    Go back to church and let the rest of us enjoy Tiger.

    Wow….this column stirred a nerve.
    Un abrazo, Scott

  • Get

    You sure stirred them up. I like that. Keep up the good work!

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