Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tiger Can Win, Put Infamous Mess Out of Its Misery

The gusty winds howled, and then tornado warnings added nervous reactions, as well as tension in Tiger Woods’ return to the glamorous greenery at Augusta National. Wearing his stylish purple striped shirt, with his customary Nike cap, Tiger hasn’t really thrown a hissy fit. And normally, his stare is intense with self-confidence and poise of dominating and taking over the greatest-golfer-on-the-planet role.

But it’s only normal for a man who has been scolded by the media and Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National, of his horrible sex scandal that stunned the entire world. This wasn’t supposed to happen to an authentic family man, understanding the significance of family values and being a positive role model to children. On this day, he found himself, not only trying to protect his image, but keep a vow with children and continue running his educational center.

The same people who paid Tiger warm recognition and rooted from the galleries, or speaking malign of the world’s greatest golf. But there was no one more disgusted or spoke sternly of Woods for living a lie and committing adultery with his blindsided extramarital affairs than Payne. He walked into the conference room sitting before reporters, disappointed and embarrassed of a popular golfer’s image being immune to controversy. In a sense, Tiger’s marriage and image are in tatters, an ongoing situation that Payne dwelled on and singled out Woods.

No one ever knew that he lived two lives as a sex-addict, having sexual activities with waitresses, porn stars, and rumor has it, he had sex with a 21-year-old in his Isleworth community. If you are willing to remove the nightmarish trauma of Wood’s egregious sex scandals, all the brouhaha traveled to Augusta, where his presence was noticed with the exception of populace gazing from the galleries sensing true remorse and a recovery from Tiger.

It takes much courage for a man to face the public and media, since his outrageous scandal shocked the sports world. But he has admitted and blamed himself of his wrongdoing, ready to contend for his fifth green jacket at the Masters and chase Jack Nicklaus’ record-setting 18 major titles. For the first time on Wednesday, we witnessed Tiger stare at the public. He was uneasy as a normal citizen would be, after committing ghastly transgressions against his wife, Elin. Just a year ago, he was rehabilitating from reconstructive knee surgery, but now he’s recovering from a mental sickness that placed his spotless reputation in tatters.

The warm greetings and amiable receptions from fans enhance his status, in such a way that his image isn’t tarnished or stained. And with the latest release of his Nike ad, you’d think he’s the cleanest and assessable sporting figure, setting positive examples. That is until you hear the commercial ad. Before he teed off in the first round of the Masters, he and Nike launched a controversial television commercial, not to promote his products, but to send sorrow for a messy episode. His late father Earl Woods is speaking to his son of his infidelity, an edited commercial featuring the voice of a disappointed father who raised his son to be the wise man we all believed in.

“Tiger, I am more prone to being inquisitive, to promote discussion. I want to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your feelings are. And did you learn anything.”

This was unnecessary and irresponsible of Nike. The point is, this is a bad way to sell a product by hearing a top-class athlete scolded by his father for the disturbing revelations. The company isn’t leading by example, instead selling its merchandise with an ill-spirited campaign to raise its profit. It was a foolish stunt, enough to make us cringe.

Aside from his affairs with pancake house waitresses, porn stars and an alleged neighbor, he’s the heart and soul of the game. Not to overstate or condone poor judgment, but he’s the best golfer on the planet. He took a bad turn by approving an idiotic advertising campaign, on the day he tried revitalizing his legacy and focus strictly on his game. Shortly before he teed off on the first hole Thursday, a plane overhead carried a banner that read “TIGER: DID YOU MEAN BOOTYISM?"

There’s no stripping his talent or shrewd mind. He plays the game with dignity, intelligence and a sense of urgency, stealing the spotlight with breathtaking shots, clutch finishes, and momentous wins. If he played on one leg at the U.S. Open two years ago, then we should have suspected that he wouldn’t have had a tough first round, even though he’s bothered with scandals, a ruckus that usually takes away a mental mindset.

There’s not a moment the hiatus delayed his robust capabilities, or affected his indomitable way to approach a sport that requires a mental state of mind. Back on the greenery for the first time in 144 days, he still had the balance and readiness to hit on the fairways and greens, breaking 70 and pumped his fist at times, a customary ritual that identifies Woods.

On a gusty, overcast afternoon and light showers, he made two eagles and birdied an awe-inspiring shot, carding a 68, the first time in 16 opening rounds at the Masters that he scored under 70. He might play better under adversity, perhaps similar to Kobe Bryant when he averaged multiple 50-point games while leaving back and forth for court on alleged rape charges.

The galleries crazily shouted, and one man uttered “Make us proud!” The masses were roaring loudly, thrilled to see him make an impact at the Masters and deliver on critical shots entering the second round at 4-under par and only two shots behind leader Fred Couples.

“It was unbelievable, the whole day,” said Woods. “The people, I haven’t heard them cheer this loud in all my years here. It certainly helped keep my spirits up because I was certainly missing a bunch of putts in tough conditions.”

He could win this damn thing, folks.

I wouldn’t count him out.

“Why play if you don’t think you’re going to win?” Woods said. “If I don’t think I can win, I won’t enter the event.”

It appears that winning is a slim chance, based on his turbulence in the last five months. The last four years he went 0-for-4 in majors, and relapsed a year ago on his final two holes in the Masters. There’s much cheering from the supporters witnessing a resurrect Tiger from the galleries, as well as security impersonating golfers to protect him of mishap. So he can win this four-day event, at a honeymoon where he has a love affair with the cheerful and forgiving fans.

The world still adores the man after all of his troubles.

Keep in mind, he can win.