The return of the king

Brian Golden

As expected, the upcoming Masters at Augusta National should prove to be one of the most intriguing sporting events in recent history, if for all the wrong reasons. No story, no matter how much more it actually has to do with the sport of golf, can compete with the recent Tiger Woods scandal, his fall from grace and subsequent return to a sport he has forever changed.

In all honesty I had very little use for golf on any level until I reached the age of 24, yet all it took was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, spent indoors due to an early spring head cold, to hook me for good. I’ll never forget watching the final round of that Masters while huddled under a pile of blankets and sipping on a bowl of chicken noodle soup. From that point on, a sport that I once considered dull and boorish became an obsession, and it was game on.

Another transformation in my formative years of golf fascination would have to include my personal opinion and appreciation for Woods, who I originally cheered against no matter who the competition might include (I was and continue to be a fan of Phil “Lefty” Mickelson). I found Tiger to be cocky and distant in regards to spectators and fellow golfers alike, and while I was always impressed by his talents, I just couldn’t find it in myself to be a fan. However, after several years of improving my game I just couldn’t help it, he was just too good, and it became impossible for me not to experience his numerous victories feeling anything less than awe. Let’s face it, the guy is probably one of the greatest athletes of all time and certainly deserves the legendary status he’s achieved.

But now all of that has come into question.

While I’m a firm believer that celebrities, whether athletes, musicians or actors, deserve a degree of privacy and should not be placed upon pedestals, I’m also of a mind that such status comes with a price. Whether they like it or not, fame and fortune come with a responsibility to accept the scrutiny of the public eye, something that Woods either forgot, or never understood in the first place. To put it bluntly, a high profile marriage, to a model no less, and two beautiful children should be reason enough not to cheat and he should have known the truth would eventually come out. How anyone could think to have numerous affairs, and I doubt we’ll ever know just how many, without being caught, is ridiculous.

But in the end I could honestly care less. These mistakes are his to deal with and the only people he truly needs to apologize to are his wife and family, because I never cheered for Tiger based on his personal life, only his professional one. His return to Augusta is bound to be a media circus of sorts, although his choice of the Masters as a stage for his return was a smart one due to its noted security. I just hope he plays up to par, no pun intended, and maybe, just maybe, a solid performance will take the focus away from his terrible mistakes.

In the end, I just want to see the man play some golf.