Tiger Woods, you are the best golfer in the world, but sometimes you just can’t win.
This past Sunday at the Open Championship you hit a bad approach shot on the 5th hole and yelled, “God damn it!”
Since then, media, parents, bloggers and fans have all taken turns ripping you for your outburst. But you know what, Tiger? I’m going to defend you and this is why.
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I love the passion with which you play the game. You ARE the reason I watch.
At The Masters in 2010, you were caught on camera using vulgar language but you apologized and wrote on your website, “I’m not perfect, all I can say is I’m trying to do everything I can without losing my fire and competitive spirit.” I never want you to lose that fire and spirit. I love the raw emotion you give us in moments of excellence… and even in times of frustration. It’s why you are the most compelling figure in sports.
I’ll never forget your iconic double fist pump on the 18th hole at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines to force a Monday playoff in 2008. Or the heart stopping moment you gave us on the 16th hole at Augusta in 2005.
I even enjoy watching when you yell at yourself, kick your clubs and curse for hitting your ball into the crowd. I love your intensity. Of course you knew you were on camera and people could hear you, but you’re not the only athlete to lose your composure in the heat of competition.
During a 2010 Monday Night Football game, Mr. Clean Peyton Manning chewed out fellow teammate Jeff Saturday after three incomplete passes, while he was mic’d. After the rant he told another teammate, “I’m mic’d up too. Oh yeah. It was better than Desperate Housewives.”
In 2012, after game 4 of the NBA Finals, ABC rolled on a candid hallway shot of Dwayne Wade coming off the court. The announcers expected an honest moment of celebration, and that’s exactly what they got. What they didn’t expect, was that his celebration would come along with a “Mario Chalmers you mother fu%&er.”
Ervin Santana was being interviewed on live television after pitching a great game despite his bloody nose. When asked by the reporter about the bloody nose, Santana responds with “I just said f$%k it, let’s pitch.”
I’m not encouraging profanity, but Tiger, you should never apologize for playing with passion and for being an intense competitor, even if it boils over at times. After all, I’ve heard worse language at my own golf course.
So I’ll give you a pass for using the occasional bad word because of what you give back to the game. Whether you win or lose, your fire is captivating and your enthusiasm is inspiring.
To me, there’s nothing better for golf.
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