Tiger Woods: Why He Shouldn't Be Criticized for Picking Up Caddy Joe LaCava

Ralph LongoAnalyst IIINovember 16, 2011

Woods and LaCava
Woods and LaCavaDavid Cannon/Getty Images

Much has been made over the past months about Tiger Woods' decision to hire Joe LaCava, a caddy who has been on the PGA Tour for over 25 years and was most recently with top pro Dustin Johnson. 

Sports fans and the media had been very quick to criticize Tiger for "stealing" LaCava away from Johnson. However, the true facts of the story have really been glossed over by the media and golf fans alike. 

First off, Tiger called Dustin Johnson, the exact date and time at which this occurred is really irrelevant.  Golf is a business just like any other professional sport. Things change daily and people move on. Who says Tiger owed Johnson a phone call, the Golf "code of ethics"? Did Johnson call up Freddy Couples to get his blessing on hiring Joe LaCava? Probably not, and Joe was with Freddy for 20-plus years.

Still though, Dustin apparently took it pretty hard and the media inflamed the story to make things worse. At the end of the day, can you really criticize LaCava for wanting to work with perhaps the greatest player of all time? That would be like a coach turning down a chance to be with the Lakers or the Yankees. 

Tiger's going to have to deal with a lot of criticism from people due to his past indiscretions—I get that. People are going to rush to judgments whenever his name comes up with anything that has even the slightest bit of controversy. But, let's examine some facts about what Tiger has done for the game since he turned pro.

In the mid-'90s, golf was a second-tier sport, where making over a million dollars a year was something only done by the top pros. Now, you can go all the way down to the 96th golfer on tour—no, you did not read that wrong—to find a player who made less than $1 million last year.

TV ratings are way up. Endorsements are through the roof. Would any of this have happened without Tiger? No way.

The final chapters on Tiger Woods' career have yet to be written. His tumultuous relationship with fans and media probably will have a few more bumps in the road due to the insane amount of bad press he has received as a result of his infamous scandal a couple of years ago. But at the end of the day, the only people that Tiger Woods ever owed an apology to was his immediate family.

Tiger knows the mistakes that he made. However, fans and media need to stop using the past as a way to criticize Tiger for any decisions going forward, such as him picking up Joe LaCava. From this day forward, let's worry about what he does on the course, not off it.

The PGA Tour, its players, the media and, most importantly, the fans, owe him that.