Through the years of Tiger Woods illustrious career his
steely-eyed focus, serious on-course demeanor and unflappable
composure are the snapshots that we have grown accustomed to expect
from the world’s greatest golfer at work.
On Sunday afternoon, however, we saw a different Tiger, one that
demonstrates the size of this cat’s heart.
San Francisco – Through the years of Tiger Woods illustrious career his steely-eyed focus, serious on-course demeanor and unflappable composure are the snapshots that we have grown accustomed to expect from the world’s greatest golfer at work.
On Sunday afternoon, however, we saw a different Tiger, one that demonstrates the size of this cat’s heart.
Woods, who has become recognized for his fiery enthusiasm, which he often demonstrates with winning, fist-punching celebrations, showcased an entirely new look in what he would later admit was by far the most apologetic victory of his entire career.
When John Daly failed to negotiate what amounted to a tap-in putt on the 16th green of the second playoff hole during the American Express World Golf Championship in San Francisco, Woods hand immediately covered the left side of his face as his head fell in disbelief.
As Tiger exited the green he was asked if in fact this would be remembered by him as his most apologetic victory ever.
“Absolutely, without question. J.D. (John Daly) played way too good a tournament to lose that way,” Woods confirmed. “I just feel so bad for J.D.. To play that well, to hit that amazing of a golf shot, to lead the tournament. We had to all come get him.
“To have it end that way, it’s not how it should end,” Woods admitted. “I was already reaching for my 8-iron thinking about what kind of shot I was going to hit off the 17th tee box.
And make no mistake about it, this wasn’t a case of Woods just saying what he knew was the “right” thing to say. In interview after interview that was conducted after that initial one, Woods echoed the same sentiments. But it wasn’t only his words that matched his facial reaction, the tone of his voice spoke volumes as well.
Mind you, we’re talking about the golfer that few would argue is the best of our time and quite arguably the best of all time. And he’s almost apologizing for a victory?
Exactly! Which really in essence tells you all you really need to know about Tiger Woods. His absolute love for the integrity of the game, his game, transcends his whole being. There aren’t many people out there that would actually be bashfully embarrassed to collect a 1.3 million dollar check.
But Tiger was.
Why? Because he loves the game and knows that he’s made a career out of breaking the hearts of other golfers, not by their own demise or complete shutdowns but rather because of his ability to come through in the clutch.
On this day there would be no clutch fist-punching moment for Tiger. Truth is, he left the door open on each of the final three holes, only to have Daly fail to walk through.
In fact the entire day was one of different looks for Tiger. The normally unflappable Woods dropped to his knees on the 16th green after missing a putt that would have tied him for the lead. Upon exiting the fifth green and missing a key birdie but managing to save par the normally steely-eyed warrior was beaming a smile, albeit a sarcastic one.
This was a unique day. A day when in front of an international stage the world’s best golfer proved what it means to be that said sport’s ambassador. On Sunday afternoon his integrity for the game, his love for the sport and his respect for his fellow competitors all beamed as brightly as the San Francisco sunshine.
In the Hollywood movie classic “Wizard of Oz” the lion was found wanting but on Sunday afternoon in front of an international forum the world’s elitist golfer demonstrated that, in addition to his phenomenal talent, this cat has one enormous heart.