As most of you are aware by now I’m sure, Tiger Woods is a little bit upset with some obscure Irish tabloid for publishing photos purporting to be nude pics of his wife . . .who just happens to be a blond, sweedish super-model. The photos turned out to be of someone else, but that didn’t turn down Tiger’s temper. Nor should it. I’ve never been a huge fan of Tiger, and I often think he is acting like a child on the course but I don’t think anyone of us would take this type of thing laying down.
Part of this whole thing stems from the whole nature of European media, or tabloids more specifically. I’ve been to Ireland twice, and at least passed through most of Europe and while for the most part I like to separate Ireland from the continent the media is definitely something they have in common. If any of you think those tabloids we see in the supermarket checkout lanes are bad, oh my do you live in a sheltered world. These publications hound celebrities like Charlie Weis hounds the waitresses at an all you can eat buffet for more sticks of butter. Hell, they probably contributed to the death of a princess at one point. . .that is if you don’t believe in conspiracy theories. The bottom line is the media over there is a completely different animal, and especially for Tiger, who has trouble handleing the media exposure he gets from the American media, this is a very tough thing to deal with.
All that being said, you don’t attack a man’s family like this. If you want to rattle Tiger’s cage a little before the matches start, release some fake story about his homosexual relationship with his caddy Steve. Family=off limits and classless. Caddy=fair game and probably pretty funny. I realize a lot of people are going to say: “Hey he’s a public person, he puts himself out there so he needs to be prepared for this kind of stuff.” No one puts themselves out there for that, I don’t care how much money or fame or incredibly hot wives with twin sisters they have, no one expects or should get this kind of personal attack.
The more I think about it, I can start to see why people claim Tiger is subject to all this negative attacks because people are jealous of him; I’ll freely admit that I would like some of what he has. That’s why I’m renaming this year’s Ryder Cup, the Ride Her Cup. . .in honor of Tiger and his wonderful wife. Mainly because it’s perfectly clear that Tiger now has something more to play for than a silly trophy, he’s going to spin this as playing for his wife’s honor. Tiger has always been able to motivate himself, even when his competiotion wasn’t in the same league. Tiger looks to records from the greatest ever and those are his goals. The Europeans are crazy if they think such a competitive person isn’t going to turn this type of personal attack into motivation for him to get up and take that 2-iron stinger up side the heads of some Old Worlders.
That is the part I don’t really understand. Tiger, as he would freely admit, hasn’t had the greatest success in Ryder Cups. Some honestly isn’t his fault; he’s put up at least 4 low 60 numbers that didn’t hold up against inspired European play, and he’s also had some INTERESTING pairings to fight through. (Seriously, who thought Tiger and Phil was a good idea. . .well not me, and that’s about the only person I have to poll right now). What Tiger wouldn’t admit, is that maybe his lack of Ryder Cup success was partially because he didn’t get up for them like he did other events. People won’t rememeber Ryder Cups when thinking of Tiger’s legacy like they will when he catches Jack’s 18 majors or takes over the all time win lead. And at this point maybe money isn’t his biggest motivating factor, but on the other hand since how much money he earns is how the world number one is decided primarily, yeah he probably does stll care about each and every dollar he earns out on tour. So, if the best golfer in the world didn’t really play his best against you because he isn’t that motivated, do you really want to piss him off? Well I wouldn’t, but I also wouldn’t do a lot of things Europeans do.
Even if it was just the media trying to piss Tiger off that would be more understandable. But of course that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as having Sergio Garcia trying to out foot-in-mouth Roy Williams. (Yes the Bears knocked the shit out of the Lions to prove Roy Williams wrong, but that doesn’t make me less offended that a man that stupid makes millions of dollars a year) Garcia was quoted as saying “Fortunately for us he doesn’t have a great Ryder Cup record,” and then hinted at wanting to see him 2 or 3 times on the course. Garcia has recently backed away from those statements, probably because someone like Colin Montgomerie smacked the shit out of him. (OK that’s just wishful thinking, but I like Colin and that waggle and time Sergio takes is just fucking annoying)
Whatever the state of lame ass spanish smack talking is, it seems Sergio was trying to get cute with a reporter and ran his mouth off before thinking. I’m not even convinced he knew what he was saying, after all if you haven’t noticed, his english isn’t that good. But more than likely he was trying to make a point that Tiger has been somewhat dissapointing in the Ryder Cup, but hey Sergio maybe talk a little more shit when your best memory from a major isn’t running down a fairway and jumping like you were auditioning for the lead in “Peter Pan”. Sure you’ve had some success in the Ryder Cup, and while I don’t have the stats to back this up, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that your partners were carrying your skinny ass. We’ve all seen how well you putt when the pressure is on, so it just maybe that you are fine if you know you have someone to carry your ass around the course.
Lost in all this hoopla is how Tiger has quietly started to focus more on the Ryder Cup. A lot of the veterans, the more vocal leaders, like Davis Love and Fred Couples are gone. This has given Tiger the opportunity to step up, and he has. He has taken the rookeis under his wing, even took them out to dinner DURING a tournament. Tiger doesn’t do those things, he’s like a machine during tournaments. Also, Tiger changed his plans to make sure he got some extra practice with the team despite being extremely familiar with the K Club in Ireland and usually unwilling to take part in all the team activities.
All this little stuff adds up to the fact I think that Tiger Woods may just have the most impressive single performance in the Ryder Cup. It doesn’t hurt that he’s been playing phenomenal lately in stroke play events, but that isn’t all of it. I won’t go as far to say that Tiger playing out of his mind will guarantee an American victory, but I will say he is finally going to bring it to the Ryder Cup like a lot of us have always wanted him to. There are a lot of questions surronding the American team with four rookies, a rookie captain and a lack of success in these types of events. On the other side the European team is really pretty good. Not a lot of Americans are too familiar with the European players because we rarely see them here except when they get housed at a major. The Europeans, every one of them, get all frothy about the Ryder Cup probably more than any personal event. A lot of that stems from the fact they feel like they are slighted, being seen more as a secondary tour to the PGA than a peer. They really aren’t on the same level top to bottom, but the top players over there certainly can compete with our top players.
The Europeans also seem to assimilate to the team concept better. There is a grander point here about the capatilistic tradition of America versus the socialistic tendancies of Europe to be made here, but I don’t have the time or the brainpower to articulate it adequately. Lets just say the play better with others and leave it at that. European players are also more adept at playing different styles, being able to go from St. Andrews to Brookline with no problems because they do it on their tour consistently. Fortunately for the Americans the K Club is an Arnold Palmer designed course, so there isn’t going to be much of an advantage as this course is more “Americanized” if you will.
Either way, despite probably the two best players being on the American side I wouldn’t hesitate to call the Americans the underdogs in this Ryder Cup. Hopefully that is finally the position the Americans can get motivated from. All I know is I like the Americans’ chances this year, especially if it comes down to the final singles match on Sunday. NO WAY am I betting against Tiger in that match, especially if it’s against “El Nina” (yes I did take Spansh, so the Nina was intentional. . .if you couldn’t tell I am not a fan of Sergio)