Why Golf’s whacky sideshow must go on

Will McCloy Roar Pro

By Will McCloy, Will McCloy is a Roar Pro

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    Is Tiger Woods back from the brink? AP Photo/Dino Vournas

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    Tiger Woods has still got it. It was never in doubt, really. He can still play, he can still carry himself with that old swagger, and he can still draw the crowds.

    Love it or hate it, Australians place so much emphasis on sporting prowess that just about any off-field indiscretion can be forgiven – if you keep winning.

    Tiger is benefitting from this, and we saw that over the weekend.

    Take the 2nd hole on Sunday, for example. After spraying them all over in the 3rd round, he was 5 shots off the pace.

    Yet, with a huge crowd, the sun shining, and some of the old arrogance back, he didn’t opt to use the iron off the tee like the previous day. He knew he had to pick up shots, so he pulled out the driver and ripped that little white ball down the middle like it was 2001.

    He may not have birdied the hole, but he gave everyone there something to remember.

    He is still worth the asking price for Golf Australia. The Sunday crowd at the Lakes nearly doubled to 67,000, and those that run the game here know that was largely due to Woods.

    The crowds around him were 6 deep at all times.

    The Network Ten telecast was the Tiger show, in the strongest field the Open has boasted in years.

    That’s the effect the world number 58 still has.

    Of course, Ten and everyone else had their eye on Tiger because he strung three excellent rounds together, and would have won had he not shot a 3 over 75 on Saturday. Ok, maybe he’ll never find that extra 10 percent that made him almost unbeatable a decade ago, but he’s on his way back into some form.

    It’s excellent for Woods, and it’s excellent for golf.

    There are those who would see our collective readiness to forgive as a bad thing. That we shouldn’t allow someone who has made such a mess of their private life enjoy the spotlight.

    It happens all the time – sports star messes up, weathers the bad press, promises to change, gets selected on their proven ability, and walks out and takes wickets, kicks goals, wins tournaments.

    I understand the negative impact of any star’s actions away from their chosen sport. People look up to them. Ok, they’re not great role models, but then why should they be?

    They don’t owe it to us to be good.

    We didn’t make them stars. Sure, we write about them, follow them on Twitter, give them the airtime – but they did the hard work, and they were blessed with the talent.

    If anything we hope they will keep getting themselves in trouble – it’s great entertainment. Take John Daly, for example.

    Golf Australia were livid when the ‘Wild Thing’ packed up and went home after hitting 7 straight into the drink on the 11th hole of the tournament.

    At least, that’s what they’re saying. The truth is, Long John got them more column inches by storming off than he ever would have languishing down in the lower half of the field with a pair of bright pants on.

    Thats why we need Tiger, and Daly, and whoever else provides a sideshow in any sport. They might be grubs, but like it or not, the people still love them.

    And so do I.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • November 15th 2011 @ 10:17am
      Tissot Time said | November 15th 2011 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      Like Peter Fitz said ” Proven grub and better to have better men win”

    • November 15th 2011 @ 2:08pm
      sheek said | November 15th 2011 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

      I’m not a fan of Tiger Woods, & his continued popularity in golf proves only that humans are impressionable sheep, with a warped sense of values.

      The Kardashians caused a media frenzy when they arrived in Australia recently, & they are famous for nothing except being famous.

      John Daly I’m willing to cut some slack – the guy basically means well, but is terribly mixed-up in the head. Nothing mixed-up about Woods though, he knows exactly what he’s doing, & happy to manipulate the media & public while suckers abound, & there’s millions of them.

      Just ask the religious manipulators…..

      • Columnist

        November 15th 2011 @ 2:18pm
        Brett McKay said | November 15th 2011 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

        Sheek, I agree with pretty much everything you’re saying here, but that still doesn’t make watching Woods hit a golf ball any less enjoyable. I frankly don’t care what he does away from the golf course, all I know is I like what he does on it.

        I made the same point yesterday about Peter Roebuck; how he lived his private life, or whatever may have led to his death doesn’t change how I’ll remember him, and that’s as an exceptional cricket writer and broadcaster. I could go on, about Warne, about Johns, Ablett…

        • November 15th 2011 @ 4:26pm
          sheek said | November 15th 2011 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

          Yeah Brett,

          Fair enough. We can still appreciate Woods for his golfing talent, but we don’t have to carry on with the idolising anymore…..

          • November 15th 2011 @ 11:06pm
            Tissot Time said | November 15th 2011 @ 11:06pm | ! Report

            I am with you Sheek no idolising the grub.

            There are plenty of golfers out there that can play shots that TW can. I walked round the Singapore Open last weekend and enjoyed Anthony Kim coming home on the last day 7 under and the winner Fdez Castano blast a 61 on the Saturday. Both excellent ball strikers and countless great shots, so if you are truly a golf lover then you are spolit for choice. No need to follow TW and his whacky sideshow.

            I acknowledge that TW has a talent. What I do detest is that he furthered himself commercially, at the expense of the golfing public on the back of a clean cut principled ethical role model image that has proven to be a lie.

            ” All we like sheep have gone astray…” Handel Messiah. Lets not blind ourselves to the fact that TW lived a big lie.

    • November 15th 2011 @ 4:05pm
      Gary Russell-Sharam said | November 15th 2011 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

      Agreed Brett, well said.

    • Roar Pro

      November 15th 2011 @ 4:25pm
      Adam Ludeke said | November 15th 2011 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

      I think the majority of people out there watching Tiger were proper golf fans (except for the typical few cowboys yelling ‘get in the hole’ every shot), and any proper golf fan will always love watching this guy play.

      He’s won 14 majors and is one of the all time greats. No one who really cares about golf would let it his personal life affect how they view Tiger’s game, because although he’s slipped in the rankings, he’s still one of the current elite players.

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