So Eldrick Woods just lost the Master’s tournament. The wailing has begun. Over a decade as golf’s darling, now the come-back story that wasn’t, the experts are doing the alternate “told ya so” and “why why why” dances. Huh? Who’s Eldrick Woods anyway? You know who. The guy better known as “Tiger.”
Do you remember the little tyke featured one night on “The Johnny Carson Show?” A cute little three year old taught golf by his daddy since before he could walk was showing America’s eager eyes awesome putting from a little guy who could barely speak. It went on from there. Accepting dad’s nickname for him as his official handle – (who really wants to be called Eldrick?) the “greatest golfer in the world” was born. Or built.
Instead of greatness, I always saw adequacy and pitied this young man who grew up unable to form any identity of his own, utterly selfless to his father’s dream of a great golf prodigy, Eldrick Woods grew up as “Tiger.” He lived as “Tiger.” The Tiger has been poached.
Shocking the world with the news last year of his marital distresses, the great Tiger stepped into his own trap. Out went the endorsements, out went the fawning media, the fans and hangers-on. When the bubble burst and we all became aware of this celebrity’s fancy for aging strippers, Tiger died and now we’re meeting Eldrick. So is Eldrick, for that matter. The perfect life, the perfect wife, the dream mansion and beautiful children are gone now, leaving a very lonely and confused golfer behind. Dad’s pet Tiger has to grow up. The struggling we are witness to now is more evidence that his father did him no favors by molding the Tiger cub into his own fantasy.
With the loss of the attention given to him, we, and more importantly – he, sees an unknown South African come from nowhere and win the title. That coveted green jacket slipped away but the chance to finally be his own man is still here. Without coming to terms with who Eldrick Woods is, Tiger is an endangered species.