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Why do you like Tiger Woods?

Discussion in 'General Sports' started by ConigliarosPotential, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I've noted my dislike of Tiger in the past. At his peak, he was boorish on the course and (as we now know, and previously might have suspected) worse off the course in many ways. His golfing skills were phenomenal, but in putting them on display, at his best he sucked much of the drama and uncertainty out of a sport about which uncertainty seems to be a central element. Rooting for him always felt to me like rooting for the best-performing and worst-behaved Yankees team of all time. And while I'm softening a little toward Tiger in what I assume is now the late autumn of his career, old habits die hard.

    But I want to set all of this aside and become enlightened. I know mine is and always has been very much the minority opinion about Tiger - one look at the Carnoustie thread in this forum is more than enough to prove that. And I understand the many reasons people might find him to be so compelling. But I'm curious as to why *you* personally love him so much and so badly wanted him to win yesterday. Is it his charisma? His transcendence of race? His spells of utter dominance? His ability to come up big in the clutch on demand? His skill set? His flouting of norms? Are you a casual golf fan for whom Tiger made you a fanatic? Are you not a golf fan at all but become one when Tiger is on the prowl? And does your love of Tiger contrast significantly with how you enjoy or dislike other dominant sports figures or teams? Tell me about your Tiger Woods fandom - I'm listening.
     
  2. Zomp

    Zomp Turkey Virgin Dope

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    I’m 33. I was 12 during the 97 Masters.

    Tiger Woods was unlike anything I’d ever seen after playing golf as a kid. He was cool, athletic, handsome, black. He looked like he should have been an athlete in another sport. Not golf. He made golf cool for my generation.

    He was the most clutch athlete I’ve ever seen. He made more must make putts (in the PGA playoff where he walked it down and pointed) and shots (THAT masters chip) than he missed, or at least it seemed like it.

    The man won 17 times between 1999-2000. Jason Day has 16 professional wins in his career.

    He was the best Ive ever seen in the sport that I love and growing up I thought he was the coolest man in the world because he was a charismatic athlete who played golf.
     
  3. terrynever

    terrynever Member SoSH Member

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    I met him and his father on the 8th hole at Wannamoisett in 1992. His dad was a Vietnam vet so we chatted for a newspaper story. Tiger was off-limits. He was 16 at the time, just a shy kid. I have followed him ever since. Greatest player ever, for 14 years. As charismatic as Arnie, as smart and powerful as Jack.
    I like him now because he's human. Better with fans, and with fellow golfers. Not afraid to bring his kids to tournaments. Human enough to screw up. Not a machine anymore. Rory was right. Tiger is still very good but he's not The Terminator anymore.
     
  4. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    I rooted against the 90s Cowboys. I rooted against Jordan. I rooted against the Shaq / Kobe Lakers. I rooted against LeBron and Peyton too, but that had a ton to do with my fandom of Boston teams (whereas that doesn’t apply to my Cowboys / Bulls / Lakers hate). The point is that I almost always root for the underdog when I don’t have a dog in the fight.

    And yet, for reasons I find hard to articulate, I find Tiger riveting. I root for him every time. I am a casual at best golf fan, but if he is in the hunt I am watching. Maybe because he has done so many spectacular things in improbable to impossible situations that I want to see it again. But the combination of his power, concentration, putting, and just sheer determination was and is captivating. We had never seen a golfer like that. He was new, different, young, cooler than the golfers we were used to watching win.

    Again, I find it hard to pinpoint it. But even knowing his history, I still want him to win.
     
  5. yeahlunchbox

    yeahlunchbox Member SoSH Member

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    Before Tiger my exposure to golf was playing mini golf on my family's yearly summer vacation and I might have gone to the driving range a couple of times my whole life. Never played real golf and certainly never watched it on TV.

    Tiger was so dominant in the 97 Masters that my dad and I watched the final round. I was 16 at the time, and here was someone who age wise could have been my older brother and he was just destroying other professionals. On top of that he made golfing seem cool. Within a month my dad and I each had our first set of clubs and an addiction. Even my mom ended up getting a set of clubs and would join us when we'd play the local par 3.

    Would I be excited if he started dating someone I cared about knowing what we know now? No. But I'll always love Tiger the golfer because I think of all the time I got to spend with my family and now my friends and it's almost totally due to him and how amazing he was in his prime. I don't think another professional athlete has had near as much impact on my life.
     
  6. luckiestman

    luckiestman Son of the Harpy SoSH Member

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    Because he is an all time great athlete.

    Society is moving toward this view where if you are imperfect or even boorish in one area that it somehow diminishes your accomplishments in another. I don’t subscribe to this view. It’s the old argument about separating the art from the artist, I still believe in that while realizing the culture views that as passé.
     
  7. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    I'm not-really-a-golf-fan who becomes one when Tiger is on the prowl. Back in his heyday, he had the Pedro-like magnetism of being so much better, so obviously better, than everyone else out there, that it was jaw-dropping even to someone like me who could barely understand the complexities of what he was watching.

    I'm drawn to the underdog in team sports, and part of the appeal there is that a team is a mix of talents and fortunes and so there's usually some moments (though they may be fleeting) where they have a surge, where they're ascendant or pushing back. That gives you hope, adds some drama. Whereas with individual sports, I find sometimes the top dog draws me in simply because their abilities are evident right from the jump. I like Federer, though I don't root for him in all matches. I love Serena, partly for her style of play, her background and struggles, and especially her relatably-human personality in a sport that sucks all the personality out of its prodigies by age 10. So with Tiger, there was either no drama, because he was spectacularly ahead of everyone, or the drama was behind him because it was a question of whether his superiority would assert itself before he ran out of time. Tiger has that eye-grabbing dominance of an individual world #1 with a relatably human personality.

    I also really like that he's a proudly black / multiracial superstar, in the absolute stuffiest of rich-white-men sports this side of polo. Robin Williams' bit on golf here is instructive. "How did he learn to play? We wouldn't let him join..." Keep sticking it to them, man.

    edit: I also like the idea that he could be the greatest golfer of all time and we're watching him go out there and try to prove it. A lot of people are stuck on his major-titles record, much the same way casual tennis fans put up 24 slams in front of Serena, so I'd like to see Tiger put that one to bed.
     
  8. Oil Can Dan

    Oil Can Dan Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    It’s the classic story. On track to be the best ever, huge fall from grace, and now we’re all awaiting the comeback. Everybody loves a great redemption story, no?
     
  9. glennhoffmania

    glennhoffmania but still failing Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Charismatic? There are many adjectives I'd use to describe Tiger, some positive and some negative. Charismatic would never be one of them.

    And I 100% agree with the OP.
     
  10. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    Along with Jordan he’s the most transcendent athlete of my time and of his sport. He transformed it on multiple levels and in many different ways. From fitness, to the lengthening of courses (‘Tiger Proofing), go commercial appeal, the money he made for everyone else by raising purses, to his dominance, to him being even close enough to be shown during a Sunday broadcast turning everything into must see and raising the stakes that much more. Quite frankly I don’t look to the athletes I root for to be saints on their off time and personally think anyone who thinks they are are naive, but that’s a different topic.

    The man broke color and age barriers. Dominated the sport for a long time. Had his personal demons. Battled injuries. And now appears back to finish the last chapter. It’s the classic rise/reign/fall/redemption story. And I personally think he learned from it. Between him embracing fatherhood, being more open to young guys on tour, less robotic with press - if he hasn’t genuinely learned how to do it better, he’s fooled me. And the more that comes out about how his dad drove him, the more I understand he never had much of a chance to not be what he was for a long time.
     
  11. Byrdbrain

    Byrdbrain Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I shouldn't like him, I don't know why I like him, but I like him.

    Does that help?
     
  12. Zomp

    Zomp Turkey Virgin Dope

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    He is absolutely charismatic. Maybe not off the course. But on the course we ate up everything he did and the way he acted and wanted seconds.
     
  13. cshea

    cshea Member SoSH Member

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    I was 13 in ‘97 and that Masters hooked me.The red and black Sunday’s, the monster fist pumps, the emotion on the course like running and pointing at the putt in the Bob May dual...it all sucked me right in. He consistently did things on the golf course that never seemed possible. He made golf exciting, and in a lot of ways he is the reason I love the sport. He hit it a mile and turned pro golfers into athletes.
     
  14. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    Yep. Even the way he walks the course, stalks a putt, hits a shit, etc. it’s friggin theater every time you see him. It’s incredible and he’s starting to get back his swagger. I noticed some of his old tricks popping up, like as soon as the other player tees off he’s walking so he’s in front of him, etc.
     
  15. Bigpupp

    Bigpupp Member SoSH Member

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    Some of the best moments I've spent with my dad were on the golf course, and we only go out there because Tiger made us think it was a fun game to play.
     
  16. glennhoffmania

    glennhoffmania but still failing Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I think the charisma issue may be what divides his supporters and detractors. I find nothing about him on the course to be charismatic. To me he's a humorless robot. The things that PP described may be interesting or theatrical, but they aren't charismatic.
     
  17. steveluck7

    steveluck7 Member SoSH Member

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    he quite literally changed golf. Being able to witness it firsthand is pretty cool. Most of us here are Patriots fans. They’re great - historically so - but they haven’t changed football even a fraction of the amount Tiger has altered golf.
    I was 17 in 97. Up until then, golf was the game my grandfathers played. I remember thinking the kids in our high school golf team didn’t really play a sport...
    Tiger changed that. Golf wasn’t just a game for middle aged white guys. It was a sport, played by athletes.
     
  18. terrynever

    terrynever Member SoSH Member

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    I concede your point. Tiger's chariśma was in his golf game, not his personality.
     
  19. PC Drunken Friar

    PC Drunken Friar Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I love sports. I want to be able to tell my grandkids that I saw and rooted for Pedro. I saw Manny. I saw Papi... Garnett, Bergeron, Brady, Gronk, Moss, Tatum...

    But I also saw Bonds, Jordan, Lemieux, Jagr, Lebron, Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice... Players I didnt root for when they were playing "my team".. But recognized for their greatness and I appreciate and am thankful for the entertainment they provided me.

    Tiger was the cross of both worlds. I had no golfer to root for. I liked Fred Couples because of my dad. I liked David Duval because I thought he was a rebel. But Tiger Fucking Woods was unreal. He made golf a contact sport, if that makes sense. I rooted for him because he was the best and I want to see the best. He was the Barry Bonds of golf!
     
  20. LogansDad

    LogansDad Member SoSH Member

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    A lot of people ask me why I enjoy watching golf. I tell them its because I play, and I suck, and I know how hard it is to play, and the guys in the PGA are incredible because while I simply hope my ball ends up closer to the green than it was when I hit it, these guys plan on hitting the ball into a 5 foot circle, with spin. It's crazy how good they are. And Tiger took that to the next level. He was a machine, and I appreciated everything he did on the course, and he did it with flair. Before him, Fred Couples was my favorite player, and while I still really love Freddie, Tiger overshadowed him in a way that I can't really explain. Him being pretty close to my age (he is about 3 years older than me), probably helped.

    The cheating stuff, having been married to a serial cheater, I can easily forgive. There are so many people that are held in such high regard, who have done much, much worse things than that, and who haven't had to endure the amount of criticism that Tiger did. Hell, Ravens fans give them a standing ovation... I've always felt like Tiger was somehow held to a different standard than other athletes for some reason. I don't really understand why (if anyone can answer this, I would appreciate it.... I'm afraid to state what I think the reason is and derail the thread).

    Anyhow, I think the big resurgence now is because now that he has fallen so far, we can all relate. We've all had hard times that we have had to come back from, and those of us who have been watching his whole career are a lot older now than when he started, just like he is. Watching the old guy (US) compete against all these young guys (who are incredible athletes these days), it's hard not to root for him. Because if he can do it.... maybe we can, too.
     
  21. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    Honest question, do you play? Are you a golf fan? Have you ever seen him live? I assure you he is charismatic, unless we are working with different definitions. Charisma, to me at least, is stealing the show, stopping the room, drawing attention, etc. it’s tough to work with the traditional sense of charisma here because there’s no interpersonal aspect to it, no verbal. So if you want to slice it that finely, then sure; we can agree he has an air about him, a dominance, an intimidation factor, unlike anyone else, no?

    He’s unique in every aspect. One can not be a fan due to personal issues, or being a hater or just plain old simple ‘he rubs me the wrong way’. But there’s no team affiliations here, he doesn’t even have rivals on tour anymore (there was a long time when you were a Tiger guy or a Phil guy’; I always appreciated both for their unique attributes; end of day I went Tiger; now you don’t need to choose).
     
  22. FL4WL3SS

    FL4WL3SS Member SoSH Member

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    You're curious how people can love the greatest and most exciting golfer of all time? You need that explained to you? Really?

    None of these young guys happen without Tiger, period. No Rory, no Dustin, no Spieth.
     
  23. Marciano490

    Marciano490 Urological Expert SoSH Member

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    Can you get more into this? I watched the last round this weekend and it seemed like most of the golfers were trim - same as they seemed in the 60-80s mostly, but the guy who won was 30 pounds overweight. Even Tiger seems much slimmer than before. It seems to me that golfing is more about innate leverages and flexibility and hand eye coordination like throwing a 95mph fastball or being a great QB than a sport that’s evolved much. I’ll also note that Tiger the fitness freak seemed to suffer from a ton of injuries for a golfer.

    That said I’m wholly ignorant and have had variations of this discussion here before, but since you mention it...
     
  24. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    The guys before Tiger weren’t athletes. They may have looked ‘trim’ but shit, even Nicklaus was called ‘Fat Jack’ before it morphed into ‘Golden Bear’. They may not have been carrying a ton of of extra weight but they weren’t muscular or athletic. He revolutionized it and careers were made or ruined by it (see: David Duval) as guys tried to keep up.

    Tiger is smaller now but I’d say no more ‘slimmer’. He bulked up a bit for a while, but there’s a whole back story to that and his injuries and them intermingling. He has a crazy military background to his story and there’s some interesting stories about him training with Navy Seals and that helping contribute. If you want to get down to fine mechanics of his swing and what that did to his knee - and further his car accident and back injuries and how that all mixes in - that’s a longer conversation, but part of the story of his struggles (and also part of the lore) is he had to change swings four times now, in part because his knees couldn’t carry the load of his leverage and muscularity.

    The golfers today, yes, now they are mostly trim athletes. Dustin Johnson is considered a freak physically. The power Rory generates from his smaller frame is insane. Part of that is technique but part is fitness. The game has outgrown the Craig Stadler’s of the world at this point.
     
  25. luckiestman

    luckiestman Son of the Harpy SoSH Member

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    BCFDD5BB-2C1C-40F3-B746-80570A7265C5.jpeg
     
  26. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    Arnie was an outlier. And a God.

    [​IMG]

    There’s always been one or two guys, sure. But the entire field is fit now, with the handful of outliers.
     
  27. Marciano490

    Marciano490 Urological Expert SoSH Member

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    It’s funny, when I was watching these guys swing I thought the torque on their backs must be insane. Never thought about the knees.

    How much are the modern guys outdriving the legends by and how much can be explained by better technology? This article at least suggests there wouldn’t be a huge difference.

    https://www.google.com/amp/amp.pga....lfs-legends-drive-ball-using-modern-equipment
     
  28. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    Equipment absolutely makes a difference but an article like that brings in both the absence of context (‘he hit a drive this far!’ Ok, was it downwind, was it downhill, what was the weather?) and also it’s great to hear the old timers claim they could match but there’s some ego involved there.

    Unfortunately it’s kind of an apples to oranges comparison; kind of like asking how Babe Ruth would fare in today’s game. We don’t have Tracman stats on the old timers so you can’t really compare on a numbers basis.

    As noted some guys had a physical advantage, like Arnie was a physical stud from the get go; Jack was a brute that got into shape. Plenty of the guys of that time were ‘in shape’ but they weren’t hitting the gym or doing squats or had trainers. Shit look at Daly, he’s always been a fat slob and he hits the ball a ton but he wasted his talents and couldn’t keep up because of it.

    Tigers big problem to start the chain of injury was changing his swing and putting more load on his left leg with all that torque. Then he had to change again to reduce it because he couldn’t maintain that leverage. Then he changed again. It’s really remarkable to look at the changes he’s made and see how competitive he’s remained, wavering aside. Guys just don’t do that. He’s really had three stories of health/injury; dominance/fallow/comeback?; and four swing overhauls over that. It’s quite remarkable imo.
     
  29. Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat

    Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat has big, douchey shoulders Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Unless it's my team, I tend to root for the underdog. So I found myself always rooting against Tiger. I acknowledged his greatness, but I wasn't attracted to it. Yes, I rooted for Y.E. Yang, Bob May, and Rocco Mediate.

    But now Tiger is the underdog, and I find myself really rooting for him to succeed. I still wouldn't say that I like him or that I'm a fan. But I'd like to see a happy ending to this amazing story.
     
  30. luckiestman

    luckiestman Son of the Harpy SoSH Member

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    It’s a mildy interesting story of why Arnie was the first guy to come to mind when I read your post. I never followed golf closely but my grandfather watched all sports, so I saw Palmer play and I saw the way he was loved and everyone always spoke in a cult like way about him.

    One day, years later, out of nowhere, I just thought to myself (this is how crazy I am, this was just a random thing that started bothering me one day) I want to know why the fuck Arnold Palmer was so great and what this cult is about. The search ended quickly, I saw the photo I’m going to post below and I thought “oh, that makes sense”

    2564A8F0-92CD-4B5A-9CBE-7FF36D7D3FCA.jpeg
     
  31. page 2 protege

    page 2 protege Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I never look for my morality or values to be reflected in any person that isn't close to me. Honestly, I'd rather athletes be good people, but I guess I can separate my moral compass with watching someone do something great, which hopefully doesn't say awful things about me. But his transgressions though awful and I don't believe he's come near atoning for them, didn't affect my joy in watching him shake it up.

    I grew up outside Chicago, so I have a bit of a soft spot for sociopathic stars. When I was playing competitive golf (such a jock!) in school, he brought what was to me a dying sport back to life. I enjoyed his dominance, I enjoyed that he pissed off people and exposed some of the racist nature of those within (read: Fuzzy) the sport. It seemed like something the sport needed.
     
  32. patinorange

    patinorange Member SoSH Member

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    I’m guessing watching Tiger Woods is equivalent to watching Bobby Jones or Ben Hogan or Byron Nelson. You probably don’t realize it while it’s happening, but you or your kids will be talking about it 50 years later. I find myself rooting for him now just to see a flash of that greatness he demonstrated during the glory years. He’s good for golf. Ratings were way up this weekend.

    The other great thing about Tiger Woods is that it makes the legend of Jack Nicklaus even better.
    Jack may be one of the top 3 or 4 athletes in the 20th century. ( assuming you consider golf a sport, which I do) Tiger is still in second place.
     
  33. steveluck7

    steveluck7 Member SoSH Member

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    PP did a great job addressing your original question but I wanted to chime in about technology. I was actually going to include this in my original post. As to the advance in clubs and balls and, hell, even clothes and shoes... I submit that without Tiger making the sport so profitable for everyone, these advances would not have happened. I can’t imagine Nike makes such a huge investment in equipment without Tiger creating the demand, etc.
     
  34. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I thought I made it clear in the OP that I'm curious as to which of the many possible reasons one could have for loving Tiger feel the most relevant to the many different individuals here who love Tiger. (And FWIW, I believe Tiger has a much more solid case for being the most exciting golfer to have ever played than being the greatest golfer to have ever played - read on...)
    Funnily enough, I turned 12 the day before the 1986 Masters started. I was already a Nicklaus fan by then, but that tournament made me truly love Jack...and I suppose my admiration for Jack probably subconsciously made me not want Tiger to knock Jack off his pedestal right from the start of his career.

    That said, there's a fundamental difference between Jack and Tiger that goes to the heart of my own feelings about Tiger: Jack was a great golfer in every sense, while Tiger was a great player. Tiger's peak as a player, between 1997 and 2008, was I think higher than Jack's peak (although Jack's peak was longer, probably encompassing 1962 to 1980), but Jack's greatness as a golfer complemented and sometimes transcended his achievements as a golfer. Tiger never would have conceded that putt to Tony Jacklin at the Ryder Cup, and never would have walked off the final green at Turnberry in 1977 with his arm around Tom Watson - he had a Jordan-esque will to win and indeed dominate, without always caring about the bigger picture. And in a sport like golf, which has loftier ideals and traditions than a sport like basketball, I think that counts for something.

    The obvious counter to this is that among fans who aren't invested in golf's ideals and traditions and always viewed Tiger as a breath of fresh air in a stuffy locker room, this is a feature of Tiger's and not a bug. Tiger's best historical analogue in the golfing world is of course Arnie, right down to the off-course skirt-chasing. And I guess some people like Tiger's swearing and club-banging, whereas these aspects of Tiger always uncomfortably remind me of what I regard as the worst aspects of my own golfing persona, aspects that I try - mostly successfully, but with occasional lapses - to purge from my character. Notwithstanding their difference in age and relevance to the modern generation, I wish more golfers wanted to be like Jack than to be like Tiger. But then, Tiger is box office in ways that Jack never was...and I've certainly been accused of golf-related sanctimony here at SoSH before. (Ironically, Jordan Spieth strikes me as the modern golfer who seems to most try to emulate Nicklaus in most respects on and off the course, but because he whines a lot in the immediate aftermath of his shots, the hatred he engenders in many fans is off the charts.)

    Anyway, I appreciate the responses in this thread so far - it's been very interesting reading, and pretty much everything I expected of SoSH on a topic like this.
     
    #34 ConigliarosPotential, Jul 24, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  35. Clears Cleaver

    Clears Cleaver Lil' Bill SoSH Member

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    As Tiger became the greatest player of his generation I loved watching him play. I am a golfer and my best had a low single digit handicap. I couldn’t believe how good he was. How long. How many shots he hit. The putting. People forget he was the best putter in the world for awhile. It was remarkable how good he was. I wanted him to be great and he always came through.

    I heard the stories about his dad. I always hated his dad (and Mom for enabling the dad) because I felt as a new father that the blue print for true greatness was being set and I hated it.

    I felt bad for him through the divorce and the porn stars and the injuries and the drugs. I understood it. Being wealthy and famous has to be impossible when wanting to be normal and since he was prevented from having normal relationships as a kid and teen, it probably was inevitable. The wright Thompson piece was so enlightening. And sad.

    I know people well who know Tiger. People who work for him. They swear he is a great guy. Great father (which has become priority number 1 in his life, perhaps understanding why that’s so important) and just a warm, positive, fun person in private. Tiger in public is not comfortable. Or happy unless it’s w kids. He has said his biggest mistake was not staying at Stanford longer.

    I hope he wins again. I was so pumped on Sunday and was emailing and texting friends to make sure they were watching. The last times I did that were Liverpool v City last year and 2013 Ortiz.
     
  36. Zomp

    Zomp Turkey Virgin Dope

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    I don't know if you mean it to come off this way, but this whole quote (particularly the bolded) sounds very...prudish? I think.

    What, exactly, is the bigger picture? That you should always be a gentleman? Meh. Tiger taught me to not feel bad about swearing on the course. That it was a release. A way to get over a bad shot and hit reset for the next one. He taught me that laser focus on the course is an advantage. You don't be rude to your opponent, but you don't have to baby him either.

    Here's another angle, on the bigger picture. I'd argue that because of Tiger Woods, golf at the levels I was playing growing up changed over time for the better. Both my parents worked. I used to play golf a lot as a kid because it was a way for me to spend time with my dad. The first time I played in a challenge cup tournament was when I was around 16. Most of the kids who played in the tournaments all knew each other from playing in them since they were 10 or so. Most were private schooled kids who would talk about where they were vacationing for the next month. Golf was my vacation. By the time I graduated high school, everyone was playing golf. Not just the rich kids.
     
  37. Koufax

    Koufax Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Most of the posts above lauding Tiger have said it all, but I'll chip in and say that his laser focus, concentration (especially on the putting green) and competitive nature made for compelling golf. Yes, he had a boorish streak at times but it was not strong enough to water down the electricity that he brought to a golf course like no other player I've ever seen, including Arnold Palmer. And so, during the most recent Open, I was riveted to the TV, hoping every shot hit by every other golfer would wind up in the gorse, or a bunker, or the water. If he were to win another major, the TV ratings would go through the roof.
     
  38. snowmanny

    snowmanny Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Right when he turned pro he was interviewed by some other golfer. Couples? I can't remember, which is annoying. Anyway, the interview went something along the lines of this:

    PGA Veteran: Tiger, what are your goals going out there for this tournament?
    Woods: I want to win.
    PGA Veteran: Well, sure, we all want to win. I mean, what would you consider a successful outcome? Making the cut?
    Woods: No, I want to win.
    PGA Veteran: Well you can't win every week. It's really hard to finish in the top ten, it's hard to even make the cut, so I'm asking for a realistic goal for this week.
    Woods: Every time I go out there, my goal is to win.
    PGA Veteran (snickering): You'll learn.

    I mean he showed up when everybody seemed to be happy with finishing in the money and collecting endorsements, said he was going to be great every week, got laughed at, and then was great every week. I cannot stand people who think they are incredibly wonderful at this or that, except for the rare individual who actually is incredibly wonderful at this or that.
    I'm sure I'd rather hang out with five hundred pro golfers besides Woods, but he's the one I want to watch.
     
  39. PedroSpecialK

    PedroSpecialK Comes at you like a tornado of hair and the NHL sa Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    22,633
    I turned 7 right before Tiger turned pro in '96 - by the time I turned 8, I'd nagged my father into buying me a US Kids golf set.

    Golf is pretty much my favorite thing to do, and without a doubt Tiger is the reason I play golf.
     
  40. dcmissle

    dcmissle Deflatigator Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    23,942
    A few thoughts:

    1. Every modern professional athlete who makes any kind of money, especially endorsement money, owes Arnold Palmer everything. They ought to build a shrine to him.

    2. Anyone who does not recognize the great athleticism of Gary Player does not know Gary Player, one of the most significant figures in golf history.

    As for Tiger, I love and hate him. He’s great and he’s riveting; quite predictably, they blew out viewership numbers at the Open.

    The affair was a human failing. I do not expect better than norm behavior from a superstar athlete. It’s natural to expect worse.

    I do hold it against him, that long period of acting like a boor to his colleagues, being generally without any sense of humility and grace. He seems to have become a better person, probably a significantly better person. But I have to confess delight when Molanari beat him man-on-man down the stretch, no excuses — so much for red shirt intimidation.

    I despise with every fiber in my being the ESPN-led hype machine. Always have. The shameless covering for him at the outset of his problems (the ESPN crawl that long holiday weekend was straight out of Pravda: “Tiger in accident, car dented.”) Ian O’Connor embarrassing himself in two columns this past weekend.

    Yet I have to acknowledge that Tiger did not turn them all into starfuckers; that’s who they are.

    The drama continues. Tiger is good for the game. But don’t underrate the game. It is a beautiful sport.
     
  41. Average Reds

    Average Reds Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    22,036
    This about sums it up.

    For all those excoriating Tiger for his arrogance and boorishness, it's instructive to remember that he was treated like shit by the majority of pros until it became clear to them just how good he was. Then they complained that Tiger ignored them, which should have been recognized as karma slapping them in the face.

    I was stunned this weekend to hear Johnny Miller talking about Tiger like a beloved figure when Miller (along with Jim Nantz) went out of his way to try to crush Tiger in his prime. (I distinctly remember Miller at the TPC suggesting that Tiger was a cheater based on a replay from the blimp taken from a poor angle. Nantz inserted himself into the Masters one year in an attempt to get Tiger kicked out for a rules violation. Then was stunned when it turned out that he didn't know the rules and the penalty was two strokes rather than disqualification.)

    Nothing in Tiger's off-course behavior is admirable, surprising, or unique. Anyone who knows the history of Arnold Palmer or Ray Floyd should understand that.

    He's never again going to be the guy who simply intimidates the field into submission. But his performance at his peak was/is unique. And it's great to have those memories come flooding back every once in a while.
     
    #41 Average Reds, Jul 24, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  42. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

    Messages:
    5,240
    It was a knee injury that dogged Tiger through the 2008 US Open, the one he won in a full-day playoff and then had surgery on immediately after, right?
     
  43. cshea

    cshea Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    18,757
    He had a torn ACL and stress fractures in his left leg.
     
  44. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

    Messages:
    5,240
    I forget who it was that said that the rest of the tour owes Tiger for about 40% of their weekly paychecks, given how much he had personally grown the market for their services.

    If you look at the decline in golf over the last decade, particularly among young people and in related consumer spend, one might surmise that not only was it Tiger's glory years that gave it a huge push in the late 90s and early 00s, but that his (relative) absence from contention has led to a corresponding fall. If you love the sport and want it to grow and succeed, every golf fan ought to be a Tiger fan.
     
  45. Comfortably Lomb

    Comfortably Lomb Koko the Monkey SoSH Member

    Messages:
    9,066
    It’s a combination of a few things the least of which is that golfers are stronger and more fit (not listed here in order of importance):
    • Modern balls fly further. The manufacturers made some progress here. Anything toward reducing spin with the long clubs while keeping it high with shorter clubs helps. The difference between a 60s ball and a late 90s ball is probably far greater than a late 90s ball and a current generation ball.
    • Modern drivers/woods have massive sweet spots and are extremely forgiving beyond the sweet spot compared to even a decade ago. Compared to pre-Big Bertha (early 90s) woods they’re basically a different game. Players can take max effort swings and not be punished like they would in the past for missing the middle of th clubface. Players reaching the tour now grew up in an environment where they started by taking max effort swings essentially as a rule.
    • Shaft technology today is fantastic compared to even what was available in the 90s. Everything is tuned to the individual golfer to ensure the best trajectory/spin rate. Nailing those maximizes distance.
    • Lengthening courses stressed the importance of distance. Shorter and more accurate isn’t as valuable as longer and wilder. Players are coming up in this environment and tuning their game to it.
    • Golf instruction is probably better today than ever in the past.
    Anecdote: With a well-struck driver I’m currently carrying the ball around 250-255 on a launch monitor (and that’s without having spent anything fitting the shaft to my swing so I’m leaving a few yards out there since it’s just a decent but not ideal match). In the early 2000s a 250-255 total drive (carry plus roll) was pretty good for me. Until this year I played the same irons for the past two decades and my distance with them didn’t really change at all.

    The biggest fitness impact is to keep players from wearing down over the course of a tournament IMO. I know it’s just golf but a golf swing is timing reliant and any fatigue can throw it off. Strength/fitness helps there.

    To answer you original question: previous generation players played a different game and had swings not as often built around power. I think they would rip the ball like modern players had the same equipment been available to them though. Some of them were popping 260-270 yard drives with a wooden driver, garbage shaft, and a marshmallow. Jack had 300 in the bag when he felt like taking a rip.
     
  46. Average Reds

    Average Reds Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    22,036
    You know, I just finished watching the PBS documentary about Ted Williams and found it somewhat amusing to realize that perhaps the closest analog we’re going to find to Williams today is Tiger Woods.

    Both came from highly dysfunctional backgrounds. Both were obsessed with an unattainable quest for perfection, which helped them reach the pinnacle of their profession. Both were deeply flawed humans, often sullen and given to fits of inappropriate anger. Both were terrible husbands and had difficulties as a father. And both are beloved figures in spite of it all.

    Feels like we should have no difficulty figuring out the attraction of such a figure ...
     
    #46 Average Reds, Jul 24, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  47. Bergs

    Bergs Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    10,780
    I'm older than Tiger. In my late 20's, I had never given a single tiny shit about golf. Tiger is literally solely responsible for me being a fan, and more importantly a golfer (albeit a shitty one).

    My father died on Masters Sunday in 2002, and I have watched the Masters every year since with a cylinder of his ashes, his Zippo, and a soft pack of Camel non-filters. It is against that backdrop I have seen Tiger do the spectacular, time and again.

    He walked past me on the bridge off the 10th tee box at Muirfield, and I was in awe. He radiated intensity.

    In short, I love the fucking guy.
     
  48. Zomp

    Zomp Turkey Virgin Dope

    Messages:
    10,784
    I've seen him in person probably 6 or 7 times. Mostly at the TPC Boston at the PGA event. Every person I take to the event says the same exact thing about him, "He doesn't look real".
     
  49. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,214
    I saw Tiger play several times during what had to be the peak of his peak. He used to live nearby so he almost always played both Bay Hill in the Spring and the Disney tournament in the Fall. I saw him win the Disney tournament in the midst of the seven consecutive PGA tour event win streak in 2006-2007. He was unstoppable.

    I think the Ted Williams comparison is apropos and I'll add Michael Jordan as a comparable also.

    I think Tiger has similar ultra-competitive intensity as Jordan. To watch Jordan closely was to watch an athlete to whom winning was the reason to show up. I saw him play live both basketball and baseball. Although not very successful, he had the same competitive intensity on the baseball field. From all reports, Jordan is a bit of a prick also. I think it comes with the territory to some extent. A D-1 college baseball coach I know once said about all good baseball players, "You have to be a bit of a dick to successful." It's very true in my experience and think it carries to to the other sports also.

    I couldn't care less who any public figure or athlete sleeps with. From what I have heard first hand, many professional athletes have unusual if not creative arrangements in their marriages. I will never have enough information to judge anyone on this subject. It's hard for me to think of anything much more none of my business than who someone sleeps with. Unless it's your husband or wife I don't get the fascination at all.

    I appreciate Tiger Woods as a transcendent athlete just as I do Russell, Orr, Yaz, Gretzky, Jordan, Pedro, Brodeur and now LeBron, Trout, Mookie, Crosby, Rodgers and Brady. The past 30-40 years have given us some of the best athletic talent across all major sports ever in my opinion. These are the guys who are the reason it's all worth watching. The guys competing with and against them are pretty damned good too.

    Amateur golf is in a bit of trouble and has been for a while. A resurgent Tiger can only help the game. At this stage of his career I think he's a bit humbled and appreciates any success far more than maybe he could or did when he was younger.The new generation of PGA tour studs (I am thinking Spieth, Thomas, Fowler, Johnson, etc.) are directly traceable to Woods' influence. They acknowledge his impact openly. I think Tiger understands now the Game is bigger than him. He's gone from owning it to potentially being perhaps its best ambassador. I think he has come to understand his importance to the broader game and his role in this importance. This is a good thing. I hope he stays healthy and contributes his considerable talents indefinitely.
     
  50. FL4WL3SS

    FL4WL3SS Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    10,400
    You fucking nailed it.

    Tiger dealt with a lot of bullshit on and off the course. Things no other golfer ever had to deal with. He has a camera in his face 24/7, not even Jack had that (and the jealousy Jack shows for Tiger is unbearable). Nobody is screaming in Jack's backswing on the 72nd hole of a major while in contention.

    Tiger is not boorish, Tiger is human.
     

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