Tiger Woods, baggage in tow, is headed to Augusta for the Masters. Does his return to the game warrant the unbridled attention?
Jeffrey Boswell says "yes," and offers some possible headlines should Tiger win or lose.
Whether you love him, hate him, or are sexually involved with him, you will tune in to see Woods at the Masters. Considering the lurid details of Woods’ exploits that have emerged over the last five months, a “turn on” is to be expected.
If you are somehow foolish enough to boycott the broadcasts, for whatever reasons, then enjoy your isolation.
Are you disgusted by the fact that Woods is in the news despite his troubling behavior? Do you feel that watching would somehow amount to condoning such behavior? Is it an affront to your sense of decency that when Woods announces himself primed for “18 holes,” the qualifier “of golf” has to amend the statement to avoid confusion?
If you answered “yes” to all these questions, then you, like Woods, apparently have trouble saying “no.”
It is perfectly okay to be offended by Woods’ behavior. It was wrong and morally reprehensible, albeit immeasurably newsworthy. But let’s not allow the past cloud our views of Woods’ future. He is a troubled human being, and as such, he deserves a bit of sympathy.
Would we not applaud the comeback of an athlete recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction?
Lord knows, Woods has been stricken with an equally debilitating affliction—sexual addiction, which, like drugs and alcohol, has been known to bring people to their knees.
In Woods’ case, however, his addiction often brings other people to their knees. It’s no wonder Woods, like any other addict, was reluctant to seek help.
Regardless of, and despite, his sexual proclivity, Woods is a 14-time major champion, and that alone demands media coverage of the highest level. Particularly since this year’s Masters will likely serve as the divider between two significant eras in Woods’ career—the “pre-scandal” and the “post-scandal.”
If he fails to match Jack Nicklaus’ mark of 18 majors, this Masters tournament will be looked upon as the beginning of the era of the “new” Tiger, who was not nearly as dominant as the “old” Tiger.
Should Woods match or surpass Nicklaus’ major total, then this time will mark the “second coming” of Woods, and praise will be heaped upon him for overcoming such distractions and returning to form.
Either way, the ramifications are monumental.
Woods’ tee shot from hole No. 1 on Thursday at Augusta will be one of the defining moments in sports history.
Years from now, many of us will fondly recall where we were when Woods’ driver sailed errantly into the shrubbery along Augusta’s first fairway, as a wise-cracking gallery member cries “We’ve got bush!” Or “Fore-gasm!” Or “Let the healing begin!”
As the world chuckles and a golf fan is escorted from the premises, it becomes obvious that the next step in Woods’ rehabilitation has begun.
And we all should rejoice.
The Masters, and the media frenzy encircling Woods, come at a perfect time in the sports arena—just after the NCAA basketball championship and before the next baseball drug scandal. And it falls conveniently in between Pittsburgh Steelers assault scandals.
The Masters is already an epic sporting event, and it’s being made even more epic by Woods’ presence. The story can only be larger if Woods accomplishes the unthinkable and wins the Masters. It will be classified as a “shocking” victory, and one that Woods will secretly describe as “better than sex.”
Should Woods win at Augusta, what are some of the headlines we can expect to see describing his accomplishment?
“Masters Bastion: Woods Spanks Augusta Field”
Woods self-satisfies himself by shooting a 278, including a 67 in the final round to outpace the hard-charging Retief (rhymes with “relief”) Goosen.
“Hare-m Razing: Woods’ Purges Memory of Past Conquests with Masters Win”
“Hair-raising?” That’s one thing. “Hare-m razing?” That’s something entirely different. How do you cleanse the fond memories of relationships with a dozen and a half women?
By winning the Masters, of course.
“Major Wood-y: Woods Scores 15th Major Victory”
Tied with Sergio Garcia on Sunday after 17 holes, Woods seven iron from 169 yards lands stiff. Woods easily drains a two-footer for birdie, as Garcia overshoots the green on his approach, a shot Woods later describes as “Spanish Fly.”
“Missionary Position: Woods on Top at Masters”
As a four-time Masters champion, Woods already knows the feeling of being on top. And after being busted, literally and figuratively, by his wife for his numerous transgressions, he’s familiar with the bottom, too. But at Augusta, Woods again mounts the leaderboard, claiming victory and redemption.
“Shaved And Ready: Augusta’s Fast Greens No Match for Woods’ Hot Putter”
Woods needs only 23 putts in navigating some tricky hole placements, geared to maximize the impact of Augusta’s sloping greens, for a final round 66.
“15 Down, Three to Go”
Although this headline could easily be confused with a tabloid magazine’s investigation into identifying all of Woods’ affairs, it’s simply a reference to Woods’ major titles won, and what he needs to match Jack Nicklaus’ 18.
Had Woods’ sexual transgressions never become public, he probably would have made it to 18. With his Masters win, 18 again looks like a number he’ll easily surpass.
“Eating Crow: Masters Champion Woods Proposes Menu for Champions Dinner”
Chicken and collard greens for the champions dinner? No way. Like his women, Tiger doesn’t like ‘em “Fuzzy.”
Woods takes a dig at all those who doubted him, and suggests they attend the champions’ dinner next year at Augusta, where they can “eat crow.”
“Green in Regulation: Woods Birdies 18th, Avoids Playoff with Harrington”
With a dramatic birdie on the final hole, Woods nips Harrington by one shot, and realizes for the first time, in a long time, that one stroke is enough.
“Bump and Run and Grind: Woods’ Par Chip on 18 Saves the Day”
Woods holes out on 18th from the rough with a nine iron, avoiding a bogie and preserving a one-shot victory over Stewart Cink.
An ecstatic Woods celebrates, and, with wife Elin Nordegren by his side, ironically “kisses” a nine iron again.
“Crowd Pleaser: Woods Thrills Gallery with Masters Triumph”
Adept at appeasing multiple women at one time, Woods kicks it “bisexual” at the Masters, giving both sexes something to cheer about on his way to the Masters win.
“Hootie Call: Former Augusta Chairman Johnson Congratulates Woods on Masters Win”
Already well-known for answering the call of a “Johnson,” Woods takes another as Hootie Johnson phones with his respects after Woods wins the masters.
“Tee an A-Plus: Woods Eats Up Fairways at Augusta, Wins Masters”
“Woods boasts an impressive 77 percent driving accuracy, up from 0 percent in November, and captures his fifth Masters over rival Phil Mickelson.
And if he loses:
“I Get A Round”
Woods bungles his way to an 86 in the first round at the Masters and withdraws, inspiring this Tupac Shakur-themed headline.
“Couples Therapy: Fred Gives Tiger Lesson in Patience”
Deadlocked after three rounds, Woods and Couples stage an epic battle on Sunday, and are tied at four under after 12 holes.
On the 13th, both find Rae’s Creek on their third shots.
Couples scrambles for a bogey, but a frustrated Woods cards a triple bogey and snaps his putter over his knee. The elder Couples comforts and counsels Woods, and the two match each other shot for shot down the stretch, with both birdeing the five remaining holes.