Larry Canning in his latest column has admitted he "misses" Tiger Woods, who hasn't played any tournament golf for some months due to injury.
As Larry says: "Tiger at his peak was superb, relentless and something to behold." But there are a number of qualifications to his angst. [Larry misses Tiger? .... Go figure]
Many people have strong opinions about Woods - as a golfer and in his personal life.
Here, we'd just like to stick to Tiger Woods as a golfer, including his "golfing" behavior on and off the course.
So what do you reckon?
Larry mightn’t have to miss Tiger for too long as it is reported (the now world No.17 would you believe ) is hitting full swings again and will likely play his foundation’s Hero World Challenge in Florida from December 4 -7. How long before he is “really” back is another issue.
I know many people, and many golf writers who’ve had many dealings with Woods over the years, have differing opinions about the man (some Aussie golf writers clearly don’t like him …. while its equally “disheartening” - if that’s the best word to use in the circumstances - to see some of his fellow countrymen fawning all over him).
My own first personal observations of Woods were at the 2011 Australian Open at the Lakes Golf Club in Sydney when a gaggle of big name golfers played there the week before the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.
Woods walked into his media conference before the event and was a totally charming bloke. He had a ready smile that lit up the room, talked about staying up watching the local football in his hotel, and went on about how much he liked “Oz”, as he called this place.
The next day I watched him tee off the 1st hole at the Lakes in his opening round – and remember at that stage he was still trying to get his game back together after his injuries and personal strife.
Woods hit his drive and walked off steely-eyed down the left hand side of the fairway next to the lake. The spectators, many of whom had obviously waited some time to see him, were all behind the rope on the right hand side of the fairway. Woods walked on without a glance sideways.
“Arrogant bastard,” one of the spectators near me said, “he doesn’t even bother to acknowledge us.”
My own immediate thought was why doesn’t he flash that beaming smile? Why doesn’t he enthusiastically wave to all these good people here from “Oz”? Why is he walking just about as far away from the crowd as possible – even if it is just a 100 metres or so?
But that’s the thing isn’t it. Here’s a man who is/was at least one of the greatest golfers who ever lived (many argue the greatest) and now he’s at work. Do you get to win 14 Majors and be one of the all-time greats by smiling and waving to the crowd, if that’s not your standard operating procedure, or do you get there by determined focus on your own game.
That’s what it looked like to me – Woods was taking his first steps in a four round tournament and his mind was focused on whatever mantra it is that has brought him so much success.
It’s just a pity he obviously appeared - to many in the crowd - like an arrogant bastard.
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