Doesn’t Tiger Woods Deserve A Little Bit Of Compassion Right Now?
I have trouble watching certain sports press conferences. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty I absolutely love to watch. Allen Iverson ranting and raving about practice? Rasheed Wallace repeating “Both teams played hard” over and over again? Jim Mora yelling “PLAYOFFS?!” in complete disbelief? Those were pure comedy and I could sit and watch them 100 times today (hmmmm…?) and not get bored.
But there are other press conferences that are just tough for me to sit through. From time to time, a player blows up at a reporter or a coach talks down to a journalist or—the worst, at least to me—a player sits and answers questions as if he hasn’t eaten in a week and there’s a buffet on the other side of the door leading out of the room. The player’s hungry, so naturally, he’s in no mood to sit and answer questions. At the same time, he knows he’s gotta get the press conference over with, so he runs through the questions as quickly as possible. You know how those go:
REPORTER: “Why weren’t you ever able to get on track today?”
PLAYER: “I just never got into a groove. That’s all. Next question?”
REPORTER: “Was there anything going on off the field that was a distraction?”
PLAYER: “Nope. Anything else, guys?”
Those types of post-game interviews suck and, unfortunately, we all got the chance to hear one the other day when Tiger Woods came in second to last place at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. After ducking reporters for the first three days of the tournament, he gave a brief interview at the end of the fourth round which basically went a little like this.
REPORTER: “What happened out there, Tiger?”
TIGER: “WHY WON’T YOU GUYS JUST LEAVE ME ALONE? I HATE YOU ALL! DIE, REPORTERS, DIE! THE ONLY THING I WANT TO DO IS PLAY GOLF AND YOU KEEP ASKING ME ABOUT ALL THIS (EXPLETIVE) THAT DOESN’T (EXPLETIVE) MATTER.”
Okay, so he didn’t use those words. He said something like, “It’s been a tough year, guys” and tried to keep it moving. But that’s what I heard. Tiger Woods falling apart at the seams. Almost a year’s worth of tabloid covers, blog posts and bad golf outings after his now-infamous Thanksgiving night car accident, Tiger’s shown us he actually is human, after all. And it got me to thinking: Doesn’t Tiger Woods deserve a little bit of compassion right now?
The easy answer is no. He brought all of this on himself. He used all the endorsement deals and sneaker contracts and golf championships to make himself one of the most famous men in the world. And then he threw it all away by cheating on his wife and going through one of the most public celebrity scandals of all-time. On the other hand, everything Tiger’s gone through—and everything that he continues to go through—is proving no matter how rich you are, no matter how talented you are and no matter how good things may seem for you, it’s hard to be successful on your own.
Over the course of the last nine months or so, Tiger Woods has lost his wife, his children, his swing coach, a handful of sponsors, and, it would seem, a bunch of people who he probably considered friends at one time or another. He’s lost the respect of some of his fellow players. He’s lost the confidence of golf analysts and sports bloggers. He’s lost the only life he’s known for the last 30 years or so. As a result, he’s struggling to move forward in his life. It’s not to be completely unexpected—but we expect more from a guy who’s one of the most famous athletes in the world.
At the same time, there are plenty of people reveling in the position Tiger’s in right now. A lot of folks are still mad at him. Others still want to know more of the juicy details behind the scandal between Woods and his wife. And everyone else just wants to see him start winning some golf tournaments so that they’ve got something else to talk about on Monday morning.
But is that really the only thing that’s going to help Tiger move forward? It seems he won’t have a future in golf if he continues to lose—and lose by large margins. Will he ever be the same type of golf player as he used to be?
Only time will tell. But, for now, I say we get off the guy’s case for a couple months and let him figure everything out. He got himself into this mess and I’m sure he can do just fine without us hounding him at the end of every round. Besides, I have trouble watching certain sports press conferences. And lately, Tiger’s are right at the top of that list.