Tiger Woods acted as Vice Captain to the victorious American team at the President’s Cup last week, his first appearance in public since pleading guilty to reckless driving in the Spring.
He courted attention out on the golf course on Saturday when he was rebuffed by European Tour referee Andy McFee for stepping in on a ruling against the Americans on the 12th hole of Liberty National.
“This is just between me and Spieth” said McFee to the 14 times major champion. So that told him.
He also courted attention by bringing a new girlfriend along. No other girlfriend would have caused such media flurry, not even Paulina Gretzky whose short skirt barely covered her backside.
And then there was discussion about his acrimonious relationship with Phil Mickelson. That was fudged over, in the way that only Mickelson can. “We’ve become good friends in these team events” he said, meaning the other 51 weeks of the year they are not.
But to the serious, Woods was put on the spot about his future in golf and answered like this:
“I don’t know what my future holds. We’re taking one step at a time, My timetable is what my surgeon says. I’m hitting 60 yard shots very straight now”
So this is a non committal answer about calling time on his illustrious career, it’s understandable that someone so hugely important to the game of golf would be willing to let go and pass on to the very young generation that are now dominating the game.
As the eloquent Martin Kaymer said in a recent message, everyone must never forget the huge debt of gratitude they owe to Tiger. There’s been too much emphasis on the salacious. Let’s not forget that the most revered golfer of all time, the late Arnold Palmer was not a saint, far from it. But the public were willing to overlook all that because they loved him unconditionally.
Tiger Woods is deserving of the same forgiveness and love, as Martin Kaymer says. When asked in interview last week what he thought about the ‘taking the knee’ protest against the playing of the National Anthem he expounded “There’s a lot of unrest, political and racial. Things can be healed, we can progress as a nation and come together”.
Tiger too needs us to give him a break from the psychological battering he’s taken since his still unbelievable downfall. He needs a new role, now, one which takes the pressure off him ever returning to competitive golf.