Tiger’s swing not the only thing that failed him at The Masters
The first two days didn’t go too badly. While not particularly sharp, Tiger was playing well enough to keep himself in contention and, just as importantly, appeared to go out of his way to play nicely with the fans.
But as his swing fell apart over the weekend, so too went Wood’s disposition and the real Tiger Woods began to emerge. By the end of the tournament, he was back in full, ‘it’s all about me’ form.
Answering the ‘to be expected’ post-tournament question as to how he thought the week had gone, Tiger expressed anger and frustration. He had come to win, not place fourth.
That’s fine. The man is a competitor and we all appreciate that.
Still, it’s what he did not say that deserves just as much of our attention.
Given the circumstances, and how well Tiger was treated by the thousands of golf fans in attendance, would it have killed him to point out that while he may have experienced some frustration with his game, he nevertheless took away a few positives from the week? That while his swing may have deteriorated as the week went on, the treatment he received from the fans did not – making the experience a worthwhile and gratifying one for that alone?
He didn’t say it- at least in his first post-tournament interview- because, I suspect, he didn’t feel it.
Making it all the worse was the juxtaposition of Tiger’s ‘all that matters is golf’ reaction while, over in Phil Mickelson’s corner, we were being so poignantly reminded that there are so many things far more important than winning at work. There was not a viewer in America who interpreted the uncharacteristic tears flowing from Lefty’s eyes to be the product of winning The Masters. The joy for Phil was not that he had won another Major – it was that his wife was alive and present to see it happen. For the first time in almost a year, Amy Mickelson, who has been fighting cancer, was well enough to to travel with her husband and be there at the 18th green to watch Phil finish a tournament – although she had spent the first three days of the tournament in bed so she would have the energy and strength to make it to the event on Sunday.
You see, while we’ve all been distracted by the Tiger Woods nonsense, golf fans know who has suffered the true disaster this past year. Anyone who has ever had to nurse a spouse undergoing chemotherapy knows that to even make the comparison is nothing short of absurd.
For those who may not know, Amy Mickelson was diagnosed with breast cancer almost one year ago. To add incredible insult to injury, Phil’s mother received the same diagnosis one week later.
How does Tiger Woods not acknowledge this in his post-tournament interview? While expressing his disappointment over the loss, Woods had a perfect opportunity to remind the viewing audience that he really has learned what is important. All he had to do was note that while his loss was personally disappointing, it paled in comparison to the special moment Phil’s victory created for the Mickelson family- a family who could certainly use a great moment. Yet, Tiger appeared to be the only person among those at Augusta National or watching at home who didn’t seem to get it.
Finding his swing will prove easy for Tiger Woods. Finding what he really needs – a little class – will likely prove far more difficult.