The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - 16

THE LAST WORD

Close but no cigar makes Tiger a fan favorite

T

o me, the most surprising takeaway from Tiger's resurrection at
the Valspar event was not that he
came within a couple of putts from winning, but that merely by coming in second
he probably earned more fans that he used
to make in most of his 73 Tour victories.
Perhaps more than he would have gained
if he'd won.
The reason I say that is the polarizing
persona that Tiger has created for himself.
As a rule, you're either a Tiger lover or a
Tiger hater, or at least that used to be the
case. Just in the past week, I've encountered several folks who used to be firmly
in the latter camp but almost sheepishly
admitted that they admired his ability to
come back from spinal fusion and a host
of other surgical invasions and compete at
the highest level in what by any measure
has to be semi-miraculous short order.
Ironically, he probably made more progress in converting those haters by coming
up one shot short to the victorious Paul
Casey, who had been cooling his heels
atop his lead in the clubhouse for nearly
an hour. (It was almost fated that Casey
win: despite racking up 13 victories on the
European Tour, Casey had only 1 win to
show on the U.S. Tour, so in retrospect,
it was probably fortunate for him that he
finished so early with a very modest lead,
no doubt fully expecting it to be surpassed,
perhaps even by someone named Woods.)
Casey's track record indicated that more
golf on Sunday might not work out for
him, although he surely thought he had
some in store when the one player tied
with him, the fiery Patrick Reed, needed
only to 2-putt the 18th green to force a
playoff. When Reed's first putt failed to
crest the slope and rolled back to his feet,
he was basically out of it.
So, it appeared, was Woods ... but then
the Tiger of old made a brief reappearance, dunking a twisting 44-foot putt for
birdie on 17 to leave him only a closing
birdie short of forcing a playoff. Surely
we all know what he would have done
in the aforementioned "old days." Woods
would have snatched his driver and pummeled a 300-some yard drive to within
easy wedge range and the necessary clutch

16 The Pellucid PersPecTive

birdie would have been so foregone that
half the mob around the green would have
raced over to the playoff hole before Tiger
even drained the putt for 3. in this case, he
pulled an iron on the tee for safety, leaving himself some 180 yards away, and he
wasn't able to get the second shot any closer than 40 feet or so, where he subsequently left the needed birdie putt short! Those
were two things to remind us that he's not
all the way back - the old (young) Tiger
would have hit driver and hit the wedge
stiff, and regardless of the length of the
putt remaining for birdie, it wouldn't have
been short. Nevertheless, it was smiles all

Let's face it, some
folks are never going to
root for Tiger because
of the color of his
skin. If we accept
that statement, it's
somewhat ironic in that
many of those same
folks have no trouble
cheering for players
on their favorite high
school, college or
professional team who
happen to be black.
around for Tiger and his adoring public,
and even a few recent converts.
Since the Valspar event, there have
been reams of copy written about Tiger's
value to the Tour, to TV and to the game
itself. The Valspar event broke TV ratings
records on all four days, and event organizers had to scramble to accommodate
all the people eager to see if Tiger could
really put 4 competitive rounds together
and hang with the Tour's young guns.
Advertisers for events which Tiger has
committed to play in may have to pony up
some additional cash for their spots. On

the other hand, the charities which benefit from Tiger-rich Tour events may get a
bigger check than they'd anticipated.
As to those new members of the
Woods fan club, it's amazing how some
hard times can humanize a public figure.
Even some of those who began to take it
personally when Tiger won tourney after
tourney in his heyday, such as my wife,
were touched by his physical struggles
(if not so much by his self-propelled off
the course issues). Although she wasn't
so caught up in it that she joined me on
the couch to watch the Valspar event, she
did at least inquire "How's Tiger doing?"
whenever she passed through the living
room.
Sadly there are some who are never going to give Woods credit for his late in life
comeback, much less become a fan. It's not
that anyone is required to become a fan of
Tiger Woods or any other player regardless of how many tournaments they win or
what setbacks they overcome. In Woods'
case, however, I'm afraid there is a more
sinister underpinning to some of the antiTiger sentiment. Let's face it, some folks
are never going to root for Tiger because
of the color of his skin. If we accept that
statement, it's somewhat ironic in that
many of those same folks have no trouble
cheering for players on their favorite high
school, college or professional team who
happen to be black. It's as if those same
folks view golf as the last bastion of white
privilege in sports, and will never welcome anyone who looks like Woods inside the ropes. It's similar to the feelings
many people have about Barack Obama,
although as President, Mr. Obama had
the ability to affect lives and the country
in ways that Tiger will never share and
perhaps it was one of those positions that
alienated so many opponents rather than
his ethnicity. In all likelihood, it was some
of both.
In any case, welcome back, Tiger. I'm
on my way to the couch and The Golf
Channel for Arnie's tournament, which
has to almost be qualified as a home field
advantage for Tiger. I suspect that Arnie,
looking down from above, may even be
rooting for him.
-Jim Dunlap
March 2018



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018

TOC
More munis embrace golf “rationalization”
Unlikely owner rescues course from closure
Toptracer bringing revenue within range
Gleneagles operator turns course into life changer
February golf weather impact: Double-digit decline continues
hilly course operators not flying high
Slow play no cause for no play
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - TOC
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - More munis embrace golf “rationalization”
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - 3
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - 4
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - Unlikely owner rescues course from closure
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - Toptracer bringing revenue within range
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - 7
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - Gleneagles operator turns course into life changer
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - 9
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - 10
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - February golf weather impact: Double-digit decline continues
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - 12
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - 13
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - hilly course operators not flying high
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - 15
The Pellucid Perspective - March 2018 - Slow play no cause for no play
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