Seriously, in the history of televised sports do you think there has been anyone who has had more know-better lies — and of all sizes — told on his behalf than Tiger Woods?
Almost everyone who plays golf carries a Jerkometer, a mental device that gauges compatibility with those in your group and measures whether you’d play with them again based on enjoying one another’s company more than ability.
Most golfers, I’ve found, are good folks. The sport feeds that.
For example, if I’m riding with a fellow who suddenly spies the cart girl and he says “Let me buy you a cold one,” chances are I’ve scored a mensch. Good for me, and, perhaps, us.
But if the guy in the cart with me tells me his fantasies about the cart girl, I know I’ve landed a jerk, a one-and-doner. We used to play with a guy we cruelly nicknamed, “Once,” as in all that’s we could take.
When I began to play golf, 40 years ago, a consistent “tell” came after someone left a putt short then issued the anguished semi-standard, “Hit it, Alice!” to deride himself for not being “manly” enough to have hit that putt harder, thus he was no better than an, ugh, woman.
I cringed at that expression. Still do. It’s cheap, childish, not clever, tired and bigoted. It’s Jerkometer-rated.
So then what kind of guy would a 47-year-old be if he made sure to bring with him to the golf course a tampon to play a joke on a buddy?
That brings us to 47-year-old Tiger Woods, who last week determined that before he played off the first tee of a nationally televised PGA tournament he’d pack a tampon to bust the chops of playing partner Justin Thomas when Woods outdrove him, handing him the tampon for emulating a woman in the throes of her menstrual cycle.
Funny stuff, eh?
But we know by now — and since Woods was 16 and despite gobs of evidence to the contrary — that he’s the finest human on the planet, even if his tampon gag created reasonable disgust in reasonable, well-comported men and women who further suspected he’s only Top 5 on the planet.
And so another Tiger transgression — not a big one, not by far — but another one washed away as it doesn’t rhyme with the story TV has written for him and recites every time he plays on TV.
Naturally, Woods, lucky on at least two occasions not to have committed vehicular homicide — a verboten topic on TV last weekend as per usual — was granted self-entitlement as he was by California police crash investigators and those assigned to enforce The Rules of Golf.
So he was able to beat this rap with the modern contingency apology indicating that you’ve got the problem, not him:
“If I offended anybody in any way, shape or form, I’m sorry. It was not intended to be that way. It was just we play pranks on one another all the time and virally I think this did not come across that way, but between us it was — it’s different.”
Thus the chance for 47-year-old Tiger Woods to say, “That was stupid. It’s not even funny, and I took an ugly and cheap shot at women. And to think I have a 15-year-old daughter. I am unconditionally sorry” was lost by Woods in pro forma self-service to Woods.
But what else is new? The media remain totally disinclined to paint a marginally accurate picture of Woods & Co. The man TV golf broadcasters have, since 1996, claimed is pure class, has always coasted on fabrications.
Interesting, though, is that last week a fellow world-class athlete, U.S. Olympic sprint champ Michael Johnson, nailed Woods with truths the media sprint from:
“An apology starting with ‘If I offended anyone’ is no apology. But this is Tiger. Never been a leader and he’s Teflon. Still heralded after all the mistakes so he’s learned nothing. Media focus always on miraculous recovery. Never why the need for recovery.”
And then it was back to the televised worship services, even if Saint Tiger of the Woods just may be something of a jerk.
800-pound ‘guerilla’ in room at ESPN
I just finished a book about how the Allies’ World War II D-Day landings were aided by info provided by French and Belgian “guerrilla” fighters.
And every time I read “guerrilla” my blood boiled.
I couldn’t shake the reality — the ongoing disgrace — of ESPN for firing veteran tennis analyst Doug Adler after complimenting Venus Williams’ “guerilla” tactics — ruined him, destroyed him, defamed him as a racist for something that was so logically contextually and conspicuously untrue: calling Williams “a gorilla.”
And that got me thinking. What do top ESPN execs, those who could rescue, better late than never, Adler from this hideous injustice, when they come across the word “guerilla.” Does ESPN boss Jimmy Pitaro feel shame? Regret? Remorse? Uneasy? Nothing?
Does Disney boss Bob Iger stop to consider the career-ending, reputation-destroying decision to which Disney sentenced an innocent man?
The public sports figure most known for calling an opponent “a gorilla” based on racial ridicule was when Muhammad Ali taunted Joe Frazier as “a gorilla.” ESPN then established the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award.
Yankees infielder Josh Donaldson says he’s eager to get started, improve on last season’s hitting. That shouldn’t be too hard, just cease playing Aaron Boone Baseball — be on second base instead of first, and on first instead of back in the dugout.
The NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL, all under the care of their current leaderships, have allowed their sports’ All-Star games to become valueless.
Reader/author Doug Branch: “Why do they have officials in NBA All-Star Games?”
The Harlem Globetrotters, who have worn red, white and blue uniforms since their founding in 1929, have recently added a black uniform.
Wait’ll you see what Rob Manfred has in store for the 11th inning! And in keeping with his active sense of leadership, it has nothing to do with baseball!