Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tiger Woods and God

Despite all the adulation and worship coming from his seemingly billions of fans around the world --  I'm pretty sure Eldrick (Tiger) Woods isn't really God himself. If I'm wrong about that, two things come immediately to mind. First, I've been praying to and asking forgiveness from the wrong entity for my entire life. Secondly, given all the satire and lampooning I've done regarding Woods over the years -- I'm in big trouble for a very long time when judgement day arrives.

Even though his hard core faithful on courses scream out, "You da man", I don't think he's really
THE MAN. Yet sometimes it seems like he at least has access to some of the Almighty's "inner circle"  of favorite sons -- particularly Moses. I'll get back to that.

Tiger's a great golfer. No doubt about it. Besides his obvious physical talents for the game, he's like Thomas Edison in a way, at least on a golf course. When it comes to making difficult shots, Woods sees things that others would never even imagine. Then he not only invents them -- but makes them work. Here's giving all due credit to Woods for certainly being the best all-around golfer on the planet for the last 15 years or so, and he might well be the best ever, though many would dispute that at this point in time.

But he's also incredibly lucky.

Ever played golf? I did, for decades, until a bad disc in my back retired me. I never broke 40 for 9 holes, or 85 for 18 on the "easy" public courses, let alone a PGA set-up, but it was fun. If you're anything like me, you've likely discovered that whoever's in charge "upstairs" didn't smile on us like they do Tiger.

In a pro-golf tournament, like the US Open going on right now, after a couple days of practice and a couple rounds of the tournament itself -- fairways have literally hundreds of divots from the players hitting iron shots. Hitting out of a divot makes the shot much harder. Many players' balls will settle into one them and they have to deal with it. Somehow Tiger's ball never seems to find one of them.

I've seen Tiger hit errant tee shots into the woods, have them bounce off a couple trees, and carom back into the fairway. That ever happen to you? I doubt it. Hit it into the woods and that ball's history. You might find a few others while poking around the poison ivy, critters, and lord knows what else, but it's never YOUR ball, is it?

Of course, on the PGA tour, there's not a whole lot of poison ivy and critters going on, but there's certainly heavily wooded areas. If you or I hit a ball there, it would either get snagged in a tree like the whale swallowed Jonah, or likely come to rest approximately one millimeter from the tree trunk itself. Jonah eventually got out. Our balls didn't.

Not Tiger. He can hit it into the same dense cluster of trees, but like Moses parting the Red Sea, he always seems to have an opening for his next shot. Concidence and dumb luck are one thing -- but after so many such occurrences it leaves one to wonder about Divine intervention.

Be skeptical if you wish about all that, but in the 3rd round of the US Open in San Francisco -- something very bizarre occurred. Remember, this was being televised by NBC, as major as major networks get. Few would doubt that NBC has the latest and greatest in TV technology. From cameras, to audio, to various satellites, to multiple back-up systems, and a lot of other things I'm ignorant about -- they have the best equipment available. And this is the US Open -- a big deal in the never ending battle for ratings.

The weather was clear in San Francisco, and also where I live. There should have been no problems with satellite "dish" feeds to our TVs.

Yet on the 18th hole, from a yard or so off the green, Tiger Woods hit a shot that even an announcer called "embarrassing".  He chumped a chip shot and wound up in worse shape than before. Most of us duffers could have done better than that.

Before the ball even came to rest -- it happened. Pictures on TVs started flickering and rolling, with a bunch of static mixed in. It was like we got time-warped back to the Outer Limits or Altered States. I thought flickering, rolling, and static went out with tubes and knobs on TVs. Given the perfect conditions, all the technology and back- up systems, this would seem to be impossible. But it happened.

Could the Almighty himself have been briefly showing his displeasure at such a thing? I surely think He has more important things to consider than a poorly played chip shot by some golfer.

Tiger's in the hunt to win the US Open. 4 shots back, I think, heading into Sunday's final round. He might pull it off.

Tell you what, though. If he misses a 1 foot putt on the 18th green, it costs him the championship, and all our TVs spontaneously combust -- we should be scared.

Very scared.


  1. John, I mostly agree with you. The only issue I could take would be that those good breaks that Tiger gets are shared by the rest of the tour players. It is us hackers who seem to always get the bad bounce. I guess as Trevino said, the more I practice the luckier I get. That also means that the three foot openings that we cannot even think about are easy pickings for the pros. So that perceived "good break" is not really a good break, but simply a bad one that the pros can recover from.

    Most hackers always play winter rules, so hitting out of a divot is never an issue. What I am amazed that with the number of divots on a course that more pro's balls don't end up in them. The thing that holds true is that when it does happen, the announcer tells us how hard a shot it will be, then the pro executes it perfectly almost every time. That makes me think that it is not that hard of a shot for the pros and the talking head is paid to make most shots sound harder than they really are.

  2. Good stuff, Al, especially the winter rules thing. How true. Wait a minute --- you were just going easy on me because it was Father's day, right? Yes, I qualify. There's a 30-some year old female brat running around out there somewhere that I had a part in creating. So thanks. It's nice to catch a break once in a while. Lord knows I've been called a "mutha" enough over the years. Hope you had a good one too.