Today we will all judge, we will shake our heads, and we will look at that sad sad mugshot. How far the mighty have fallen, how far Tiger Woods has tumbled from the perch at the top of humanity he once occupied so proudly. He was on his way to eclipsing Nicklaus, and Palmer, in the golf world, even Jordan and Ali, as the world’s most known and notable athlete. Then it all fell apart, literally crumbled in a mind-numbing instance of infidelity, injuries, and insanity. And just when Tiger Woods seemed to have escaped his demons or at least gotten out of tabloid hell, this latest arrest happens.
Tiger was arrested and booked on suspicion of DUI Monday morning in Jupiter, Florida. It’s not as much the crime as the mugshot that will shock you. The swagger long gone, he looks more like a lost soul than the man who once was the biggest draw in sports. The only word that comes to mind when you see the picture is sad. Nothing more, nothing less, just sad.
Maybe the reason it makes us feel sad is because we, like Tiger, continue to hold out hope that there will be some kind of magical comeback. That like Bagger Vance or some other magical negro, he will fix everything. That one of these days, at a major tournament, we will once again see Tiger Woods slaying the competition like it’s 2005. Smoking drives a million miles and making impossible putts that will make us jump up off our couches and celebrate. Let’s be honest; that’s the real problem. We refuse to come to grips with the fact that it’s over, that this journey that promised to change the world and rewrite the record books ended way before we were ready.
Michael Jordan came back, twice … Why can’t Tiger? Well, maybe he will; it’s unlikely but maybe. The difference is that Jordan was healthy; Tiger’s not even close. His back is jacked, tore up. Last week he announced that he is doing better after his most recent operation, his 4th, but he still can’t swing a club. He can’t play, can’t practice and can’t work out; he’s got nothing. You think that bugs you, imagine what it does to Tiger Woods, a lonely, divorced, middle-aged man, with buckets of money and little else. His father, the one person who could stop this spiral is gone; he is utterly alone.
Tiger Woods needs help, not scorn. At this point, dude needs a hug not ridicule. We need to remember the magic he delivered on a weekly basis for a decade. How he made history at Augusta or how he started a golf boom that had brothas in every barber shop talking about birdies, not buckets. It’s time to start celebrating what made us proud, and not get caught up in the scorn that is coming in the following days. Yes, Tiger needs to stop f—ing up, and pull his world together. But think about it, black folks forgave O.J. (and he killed two people); time to give Tiger some love …