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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tiger, Tiger burning dimly

I don't pretend to be the biggest golf fan in the World. And those who know me well will attest I am perhaps the worst golfer in America. But for the past 15 years or so I was always intrigued when Tiger Woods played on Sundays. He breathed life into the gentlemen's game and polarized everyone who watched. No one took a passive role when it came(comes) to Eldrick Woods. There were and always will be two ways folks view el Tigre. You love him or you hate him. And I am not going to sugar coated because I have heard plenty of the jokes, lots of the haters do so cause of the color of his skin. Sad, but true, so please don't bother denying it. His brash and unapologetic demeanor made it far easier to dislike him. Or in my case enjoy him. The white folk and their presses pants and collared shirts had themselves some difficulties when Tiger was locked in. 14 major tournaments and for a while it looked like many, many more to come. Then it all came tumbling down. I forget which comic said it, but it was brilliant. Tiger ran his car into a tree the other night and a bunch of women came out. It is not an issue that he was not the same soon thereafter. Clearly he had to work through the divorce with Elin. Then he had to rebuild his image, and brand, and finally his game.

It ain't looking good.  And after losing to by 18 strokes and failing to compete on his comeback tournament this weekend, I may be losing faith.

The best part about this, or the worst depending on where you sit, is who won this weekends event.  Adam Scott destroyed Woods and handled the rest of the field to capture the WGC Bridgestone.  This is a tournament Woods had won 7 times previously.  Scott is no slouch.  He has 8 wins including a Tour Championship a few years back.  The beauty here is Steve Williams, Woods caddy up until just last week, was on Scott's bag.  And I happened to catch his post match interviews where he was quick to tell David Feherty this was his "Best Week of Golf Ever!!!"  Really???  Better than the Masters, and US Opens, and British Open's he won on Tiger's bag???  He was so emphatic.  And he kept going once that interview ended (http://espn.go.com/golf/story/_/id/6842373/steve-williams-says-tiger-williams-told-needed-break.)

Tiger's meltdown and fall from grace are more the story than Scott's win.  Williams wanted to let everyone know Tiger was a liar who didn't fire him face to face.  His cowardice is still very much evident and the bravado that made him a great champion is now sorely missing.

Rory McIlroy isn't scared.  Ricky Fowler, in his absurb clothing and un-folded hat, isn't scared.  Lefty isn't scared.  The aura is gone, his body is aged, and I fear, quite logically, that Jack Nicklaus may just kep that record for most major victories.  And although I like some of the players on tour I am far from compelled to watch Sunday afternoons.  AS the final major of the 2011 season is upon us (PGA Championship in Atlanta this coming weekend) you can be pretty sure I will be poolside, manning a grill or getting my drink on unless Tiger is in the mix.

It just isn't as much fun rooting for or against anyone else.  May as well be Tom Kite and Larry Mize out there circa 1987.

Reason I am so bitter probably stems from my allegiance to the worst baseball team EVER, the Houston Astros.  I cannot remember a season where I watched as little baseball as I have this year.  And why should I?  ESPN is once again showing me the tired, played out Red Sox v Yankees game.  I just tuned in and a 1-1 game is in the 6th inning...  nearly 3 hours after it started.  Who can sit through these things???  And why do they bother playing anyway.  They are both about 10 games ahead of the nearest wild card team.

In the NL I am going to expect to see the Phillies (made up of some of the Astros finest ex players) storm back to the playoffs along with notable squads like the Giants.  Boring!!!

I cannot believe I am going to say this, but bring on the fall.  Bring me college campuses brimming with action as football grabs the spotlight.  Bring me incoherent ex-players telling me who is going to win the Bills/Titans game and why.  Bring me men in suits replicating plays on faux fields in LA or Bristol, CT studios.  Bring me Rex Ryan putting his foot in his mouth, and then getting excited about me writing "foot in mouth."

The summer sporting season has been a total bust.  Maybe if our soccer women could have held a lead I might be less bitter.

At least I had some quality softball to watch, with both my wife and daughter.  It made the dog days much more tolerable.  But as the Pink Ladies season comes to an end this week I am very much looking ahead.  Seems pretty clear it will be a fall without Tiger.  One of these years I know I am going to get a fall without Boston or the Yankees.

Picture if you will an Orioles, Royals, Mariners and Indians AL playoff.

Naturally, the NL would be Astros, Nationals, Padres and Pirates.

Right, if I am dreaming I may as well go to sleep.

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