This Week at WorldGolf.com: April 1, 2008
Game of honor? Tiger Woods' behavior reveals golf has lost its gentlemanly ways
When Tiger Woods eventually calls it quits, he'll have broken practically every record the game of golf has seen.
But he is also going to leave behind a legacy of unapologetic, expletive-laden outbursts.
Woods lost his cool again at Doral two weekends ago. My blog following the incident, criticizing Woods' lack of an apology to the fans and any children who either were in the gallery or heard Woods' reaction in the media, drew a passionate response from both sides.
"You don't mess with Picasso while he's painting," argued one reader. Others said Tiger was only receiving heat because the press was backing up one of their own, the photographer who provoked the episode.
But seek out media members or fans who have been to enough PGA Tour events and they can all serve up an instance where they witnessed a hot-headed Woods with little regard for his surroundings.
"For a long time, I've hoped Tiger stops using profanity on the course," commented another reader.
For being the world's most recognizable athlete and top endorser, Woods' on-course demeanor isn't exactly laudable - and when you can make a case for his younger Nike Brother, Lebron James, as being the more civil under pressure between the two, it should raise eyebrows.
"You have no idea what's being said out there, in any sport really," Woods said in his defense on ESPN the following week.v
So the swearing and threats are nothing out of line? Then I suppose the PGA Tour has become chock full of coddled country club boys who, under pressure, develop the unfiltered profanities of a deranged street bum. The honor of the grand game we know has taken a back seat to the high stakes of $7 million purses.
For many families, the main reason they introduce golf to their children, at programs like First Tee or their local golf club, is because the game teaches civility and etiquette in a manner you can't learn on the playground. Many kids learn how to grow up on the golf course.
If golf's greatest icon consistently disregards that civility, it sends a dangerous message, and golf loses a piece of its nobility. Woods should be worried less about Jack's 18 majors, Sam Snead's 82 wins or Byron Nelson's streak of 11 victories, and strive harder to match them in integrity.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: No, this isn't an April Fools' Day spoof. This is.)
As always, WorldGolf.com welcomes your comments.
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