Chris Baldwin This Week at July 20, 2005

Tiger equals I, Robot: A bogey criticism

Jim Rome, a nationally syndicated U.S. sports radio host, has this hilarious bit where he plays a Tiger Woods audio clip sliced together from several interviews where the world's greatest golfer recites in rote monotone: "The golf course looks good. My golf swing feels good. I like my chances."

Rome sometimes conducts "interviews" with Tiger where he simply plays that clip in response to every question.

The golf course looks good. My golf swing feels good. I like my chances.

But Tiger, what are your feelings on the situation in the Middle East?

The golf course looks good. My golf swing feels good. I like my chances.

It's smile-ensuring, side-splitting, even milk-spitting stuff. Everyone knows Tiger Woods is simply a robot after all, programmed to dominate golf, marry a smoking hot blonde who tries to blend Stepford Wives-like into the background, and sell tons of Buicks.

Or at least everyone who does not care to know better knows this. Which includes an awful lot of people who simply seem to need to criticize Tiger.

For a short while as Woods made his swing adjustments, they could shout about how he'd never be as dominant as he once was, lampoon his marriage and say it made him soft. But now that Tiger blew away the field at St. Andrews, making a Duke-Monmouth NCAA Tournament first-round hoops game look intensely competitive by contrast -- well, it's back to the robot.

He does not feel enough. He's too darn serious. When is he ever going to say something about anything serious?

This last one came up again in the wake of his 10th major title. Some felt Tiger should have talked about the London tube bombing victims in the moments after he raised the Claret Jug, reflected on world events rather than Jack Nicklaus.

Now, it's hard to emphatically state those who believe this are wrong, but it just rings like seeing fault with Tiger when none is there. Forget the fact he's a golfer and his mind was undoubtedly utterly focused on the grind of winning maybe the biggest golf tournament in the world. (You're not Tiger if you cannot concentrate to a needle's point.)

No, the overlooked truth here is that Tiger had already opened up on the bombings, unscripted. He'd told the world press about how his mother was in a hotel across the street from one of the blasts, how he didn't even know how close she had been until his coach, Hank Haney, told him a full week later.

"She doesn't tell me anything,'' Woods said in a press conference at the British Open. "That's kind of how our family is. If you're injured or you're hurt or you're sick or anything, you don't tell anyone. You just deal with life and move on."

Tiger Woods' mom does not tell him things because she doesn't want to worry him. His hair is getting thinner underneath those Nike caps, like many of us when we approached 30. He really seems to miss his dad being there for these major wins.

Guess what? He's human, real as it gets.

The golf course looks good. My golf swing feels good. I like my chances.

Good comedy does not always equal great truth.

As always, welcomes your comments.

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