All season we’ve felt like Tiger Woods needed to prove something to us. The standard was clear. Win tournaments. Win majors. Chase Jack. And boy didn’t we fool ourselves into thinking that Woods was of the same thought process as us.
What we found out on Sunday was how wrong we were. Tiger wasn’t trying to prove anything to us. He wasn’t chasing Jack Nicklaus’ record nor was he worried about getting a win. After sinking a birdie putt on 18, he showed us who he had something to prove to. The fist pump tells it all and can be summed up by the well known poem, The Man in the Glass.
When you get what you want in your struggle for self
and the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what that man has to say
For it isn’t your father or mother or wife
who judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts the most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass
Some people may think you a straight-shooting chum
and call you a wonderful guy
But the guy in the glass says you’re only a bum
if you can’t look him straight in the eye
He’s the fellow to please never mind all the rest
for he’s with you clear up to the end
And you’ve passed your most dangerous difficult test
if the man in the glass is your friend
You may fool the whole world down the pathway
of life and get pats on the back as pass
But your final reward will be heartaches and
tears if you’ve cheated the man in the glass.
Growing up watching golf in the 1980’s, I was taught that golf wasn’t about winning. Sure, you were out there to win. You competed against yourself and the course and top 10’s were to be appreciated not just first place. For me, it was different than any other sport in that respect. Wins and losses were reserved for the Ryder Cup because it was a team competition.
Tiger came in and changed that. He was young and confident. His game was different that others. He would take a mighty gash off the tee with the attitude of “land wherever you want, the course can’t stop me”. He didn’t look for perfection, he looked to score low. The only thing that superseded his game’s brashness was how he carried himself. It gave off the stench of “everyone else is playing for second”. He had taken a team sport attitude to a country club sport. Golfers bristled. Some media members did the same.
The reason why I’m not as put off with Woods’ attitude is because I really don’t know how much of it was in the form of protection. We’ve seen in history, when sports feel invaded by someone who doesn’t come from the same side of town they can get very protective. Very cruel. Not very inviting. So I saw John Feinstein’s tweet, I took it with a grain of salt.
Best thing Woods did all day was waiting at scoring area to give Koepka a hug. That NEVER would have happened in the past. He’d have been wheels up. WIth all the CBS love-in moments (geez it was relentless) they barely noticed that–or pointed out the difference. Good for TW.
— John Feinstein (@JFeinsteinBooks) August 12, 2018
As I recall, I didn’t see anyone waiting for Tiger with hugs when he was kicking butt on the Tour. In fact, to be fair, it didn’t seem to become prominent until the young guns got on Tour. The Justin Thomas’. Rickie Fowlers’. The guys who all vacation together. That type of “fraternity” attitude didn’t exist on Tour prior to those guys. The same young guys who were drawn to golf, in part, because of him.
Tiger waiting to congratulate Brooks Koepka all makes sense now. We’ve been acting like Tiger is the same person he was ten years ago. We had it all wrong. He isn’t living the past, we are.