If anyone has a question about the impact Tiger Woods has not just on golf, but sports altogether, look no further than the news reports generated after Tiger’s single-car accident on Tuesday.
The story was all over every channel, with some even pushing their non-stop political ramblings out of the way.
It was a horrific looking crash, but somehow Tiger suffered non-life threatening injuries. He did mangle is right leg and now has rods and pins holding the leg together – but he is alive.
Whether Tiger plays golf again is not important right now, rather it is that Sam and Charlie did not lose their loving father. Say what you want about Tiger, but if you watched the interaction between Tiger and Charlie as they played together in the PNC in December, there is no doubt of the love he has for his children.
It also was obvious after his win in the 2019 Masters with the long embraces he had with both after walking off the 18th green.
But along the lines of “say what you want about Tiger,” I was shocked by the number of idiots throwing out negative comments about Tiger following the accident.
People jumped to conclusions, insinuating without any evidence that he was on drugs and other such comments. There were also a series of horrible memes involving the crushed car he was driving.
It appears Tiger was driving too fast on a downhill, sweeping street with a history of accidents. People in the area now are calling for changes to the street. The Los Angeles Sherriff has announced there will be no charges. It was an accident and accidents happen.
In full disclosure, I have been a big fan of Tiger since he came on board and what he’s done for the game has allowed people such as myself to write about the wonderful sport of golf for so long.
The very first print issue of ACES featured Tiger on the cover, with the main story written by Art Spander, who I consider a friend and mentor when it comes to golf writing.
Tiger has had his share of past indiscretions and he was justifiably criticized by all. He also apologized in a very public press conference, then proceeded to take the heat that came from his acts.
He owned his mistakes, which is a lot more than I can say for some professional athletes.
As he did with the numerous surgeries he has encountered, he bounced back and through it all, the incredibly popular golfer, gained even more fans. America loves and supports a person that admits their frailties and changes their ways.
Golf fans, and for that matter, sports fans across the board admired his perseverance and resiliency. The win in the 2018 Tour Championship – his first in five years – was amazing to watch when the sea of humanity overtook the 18th fairway in the final round as Tiger walked toward the green.
That was followed by the Masters’ win in the spring of 2019 that was closed out with the never forget embraces he shared with his son and daughter.
Now thanks to airbags and that he had his seatbelt on, Sam and Charlie will be able to get more of those hugs from their father.
I had the pleasure of being able to follow Tiger inside the ropes during the AMEX Championships at Harding Park in 2012. I was working in the newspaper industry (remember newspapers?) and was assigned by my boss to write a first-person narrative of what it was like to follow Tiger throughout the tournament.
What I learned that week was seldom seen on TV, until the last few years, when special events have become a big thing on TV, almost always featuring Tiger.
Throughout the first three days of the tournament, he was loose and joking with the other players in his group during the rounds. His sense of humor was unseen by many in those days, but after the first three days of the tournament I realized what a bad rap he got from many that accused him of being robot-like.
Then came Sunday.
When we walked to the 1st tee on Sunday, the switch had been flipped and it was go-time. It was stunning to see first-hand and it made it easier to understand how he intimidates other golfers.
As time has gone on and Tiger’s popularity has grown, not only with the fans, but with the young guns that have become part of not just the PGA Tour, but the LPGA golfers as well.
Watching the interviews of players Tuesday after the news of the accident had broken, players that were interviewed were noticeably shaken.
One young LPGA golfer–I can’t recall her name–talked about having pictures of Tiger in her room when she was a kid and that he was the inspiration for so many to take to the game.
On the PGA Tour side, most of the players added how happy they were for Sam and Charlie that their Dad was going to be okay. Some like Justin Thomas, were visibly shaken.
That Woods is alive is all that really matters at this point. And if you don’t have something positive or supportive say, crawl back into the hole you came out of to spew your hate.
Perhaps nothing sums it up better than what Rory McIlroy had to say Tuesday as he was preparing for the WGC event in Florida.
“I think that everyone should just be grateful that he is here, that he’s alive, that his kids haven’t lost their Dad. That’s the most important thing,” McIlroy said. “Golf is so far from the equation right now – it’s not even on the map at this point.”
By Dennis Miller