Over the years of his youthful reign, we treated Tiger Woods as someone who could do no wrong. Many abhorred Fuzzy Zoeller's reference to serving chicken. After all, Tiger Woods was a black man in an almost all-white sport.
Tiger Woods was the best athlete in a world crowded by great athletes. We treated him as a king among men. We wanted him to win and overlooked his bad conduct whenever it occurred, which was very often.
Then came his fall from grace. Serial adultery. Bizarre behavior and a horrible marital breakup.
Tiger's life continues its downward spiral even as he attempts his comeback. The old conduct emerges on the course, as it is part of his nature. And during the Dubai Desert Classic, it finally resulted in a fine.
Tiger spits twice on camera. The second time he gets fined.
Last year, I predicted that Tiger would never win another tournament. That Tiger's reign was over and that he should never be placed on the same pedestal again. That he should never be treated the same because of his despicable conduct towards his family and especially his wife.
Many scoffed at the idea, claiming that he was still ranked No. 1 and that it was only time before he would be back winning again. They believed he would silence the critics, prove his hidden personality was not so bad as to deny him redemption. That his serial adultery was not too much because he was a great draw for golf and was too much of a superstar to become irrelevant and a non-issue in tournaments.
For some time, it looked like he was on his way back despite injury and his wayward ways. He was close in some tournaments, finding himself in contention at times and making some noise again.
Then came the continuing reality of what happens to a man revealed for what he is rather than his public persona. After 17 tournaments, the real Tiger Woods has emerged as someone no one wants to touch. Someone who it is best not to highlight for fear that his conduct will show the other seamier side of Tiger.
The first time Tiger Woods' spitting was caught on camera last week (he has done it many times during his career) was at the second tee during the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic. Ewen Murray, a Sky Sports TV commentator, called it "one of the ugliest things you will ever see on a golf course."
Tiger Woods came into the final round one shot off the lead, but quickly fell out of contention with two bogeys in the first three holes. By the time he reached the twelfth green he was ready for his second spit on TV, gobbing it out onto the putting surface. As Murray noted, "somebody now has to come behind him and maybe putt over his spit. It does not get much lower than that."
Woods is no stranger to spitting on the course. His regular use of foul language while on TV is a matter of record. And Woods' club throwing and petulant acts are legendary. His rude behavior is now all the more obvious because he is losing.
Despite this boorish behavior, most of his peers have excused Woods. Not Tom Watson, who teed-off on Woods last year saying that "His swearing and his club throwing, that should end." According to 59-year-old Watson, "That’s not part of what we want to project as far as the professional golf tour is concerned.”
The excuses for the man once the world's best golfer now rankle many who used to stand by this man. While his behavior on the course is horrible, his off-course behavior was far worse.
There is simply no excuse for Woods any more. For those who stood by him despite his awful behavior, including the advertisers who found it in themselves to continue to support this man, shame on you. Shame on all of you who find anything sympathetic in the man whose sole concern is himself and his own game.
Tiger was never a gentleman. Now the entire world sees him for what he always was: self-indulgent, disrespectful and a bad mark on the game of golf.