Turns out there may be more to Tiger Woods’ return to prominence than anyone initially believed. There was Dropgate at the Masters. He may or may not have taken another incorrect drop while winning the Player’s Championship this past weekend. And now at least one marshall who was with Tiger Saturday is countering Woods’ claim that he was given an all clear when he grabbed his club and, allegedly, distracted Sergio Garcia as he took a swing.
Well, when they heard that remark from Woods, the marshals were surprised. One of them, Gary Anderson, said on Sunday, “He didn’t ask us nothing, and we didn’t say nothing. We’re told not to talk to the players.”
Hmmm. Now this is Tiger we’re dealing with, so that marshall could be full of shit.
But let’s explore the possibility that he is telling the truth. What if Tiger has come back to competitive golf with an even fiercer competitiveness than he had before. He burns to get to 18, and then 19, major titles to catch and pass Jack Nicklaus. And he knows his physical skills aren’t what they were 5-10 years. He needs every edge and angle he can get.
What if he’s come back as a WWE-style bad guy? He’s going to fudge his drops to get an advantage. He’s going to make noise while a competitor is swinging. He’s going to comment on the green conditions while his playing partner is lining up an important putt. Basically treat other golfers the way his dad treated him when he was a kid and trying to learn how to sharpen his concentration on the course.
Tiger was never really a good guy. People loved him because of the way he played and how often he won, not because he was a lovable guy like Arnold Palmer or a fundamentally decent and honorable guy like Nicklaus. Tiger spent most of his career being a complete dick, but he got away with it because we loved seeing him lap the field at Pebble Beach when no one else could play the course.
But he was never overtly bad, either.
There’s no evidence that Tiger has turned into a cheater and dirty competitor. But if things like this keep happening when he’s on the course, I’m going to start thinking he is. True or not, it will make golf a lot more interesting.