Tiger Woods has finally broken one of the longest droughts of his career, clinching the Arnold Palmer Invitational before satiating himself in a marathon hotel orgy with 100 carefully selected Orlando hookers and US$40,000 worth of Perrier Jouët.
Well, the last part is fictional, but would you blame him if it wasn’t? Seriously, the guy has copped it from more angles than [insert porn star of your choice] ever since he crashed his car into a fire hydrant some 30 months ago – a poignant analogy for what his life would become. But while the world has dined on the tawdry details – every lascivious voice message, the specific sexual requests, etc – for the best part of three years, Tiger has finally done what many thought seemingly impossible. He’s won a tournament. And now, with the Masters just weeks today, he could be an outsider to take home the Green Jacket once again. And while he’ll remain a punchline for sometime yet, he’s at least reminding us of what he was born to do – utterly dominate a sport in a way no one has ever before.
Woods is hard to dislike – particularly if you’re a man. He’s one of the greatest athletes to ever emerge and his incredible life story – took up golf at two; first broke 80 at a professional golf course at the age of eight – only adds to his aura. As an athlete of mixed race – one-quarter Chinese and one-quarter Thai, one-quarter African American, one-eighth Native American, and one-eighth Dutch, Woods has also proved something of an inspiration for other young minorities looking to take up what is a sport inherently designed for the white, cigar-puffing middle-class. He’s also dabbled in philanthropy, establishing a foundation aimed at promoting golf among inner-city children. Within it is a learning centre that provides college-access program for underserved youth.
Woods is easy to dislike – particularly if you’re a woman. Leaving the whole sexual deviancy thing aside, he doesn’t come across too well on the court. Whether it’s arcing up at fans who take photos in his backswing or chucking his club towards the crowd after an errant shot, Tiger’s calm, Buddhist roots clearly lie dormant. While men can appreciate his tenacity and competitive nature, women see a snarling misogynist with an acute sense of entitlement. He’s also made billions off his squeaky-clean image, which is perhaps tantamount to some kind of white collar fraud crime.
So what to make of the New Tiger? It is interesting that he’s coming into form just days away from the release of former coach Hank Haney’s tell-all book, which threatens to Give The Real Story on what Tiger was like to work with. In it, we will learn of Woods’ military obsession and how it nearly derailed his career, his petulance as a client, and, presumably, more scandalous deets on his sinful past. But Haney’s tome will show us nothing new or serve any purpose rather than boost an opportunist’s bank balance by cashing in on his relationship with the world’s most high-profile golfer.
The people are starting to come around to Tiger – and it’s about time. If there’s anything to be learned from Woods’
absolute fucking disintegration fall from grace, it’s that athletes are, on a human level, as deeply flawed as the rest of us. Not that we didn’t already know that.
Honestly, if that orgy story I made up was actually true, I wouldn’t hold it against him. The guy deserves to blow off a bit of steam – and what better way to do so than in a palatial five-star hotel with some of Florida’s finest.
By Dave Edwards