By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Jun 09, 2015 at 11:06 AM Photography: David Bernacchi

Never in a million years did the thought cross my mind.

Imagine the surprise when I realized what was happening in my life.

I am rooting for Tiger Woods and Ryan Braun.

Talk about against all odds.

These are two guys who, almost exclusively through their own actions, fell on hard times and have people wondering if the magic is gone forever.

Braun with the performance enhancing drug use, continual lying to everybody about it and eventual suspension.

Combine that with a nagging thumb injury that required some special kind of treatment that reminds you of a shaman waving smoke over you and what you get is a disgraced athlete hitting bottom.

Woods, with a lengthy slide caused by bad behavior, cheating, lying, some injuries, a virtual non-stop revolving door of coaches and searching for that elusive secret to a dependable golf swing and some injuries.

And then hitting bottom. Last weekend on Saturday at the Memorial Tournament, he shot an 85. His worst round ever as a pro. He finished in last place, eight shots behind the guy who was in second-last place. He played with a rookie who was in awe of Woods and who got his autograph when he was 10. The rookie beat Woods by 15 shots.

These two guys have been pretty easy to hate, and I’ve got to admit that the warm spot in my heart for them turned to ice during their falls from grace.

But I’ve changed my mind. That’s a prerogative when you get to be as old as I am.

I was watching a Brewers telecast a few days ago when Adam Lind hit a home run. He touched home plate and headed toward the dugout. The first person to greet him with a high five was Braun.

He had a smile on his face. A big smile. He was obviously overjoyed for Lind and for his team. There was nothing selfish in this gesture and I loved that. Selfishness and hubris were two of the things that drove Braun into the depths of dishonor.

And then there was Tiger after his 85.

The rookie, Zac Blair, said it was sad to see Woods play that badly.

"But he was never disrespectful out there," Blair said. "He was a gentleman through it all. I felt terrible for him."

After the round, Tiger tweeted Blair.

"It was nice to meet you," Woods wrote. "I hope we’ll tee it up again."

When the tournament ended Woods was as honest and emotional as he's ever been. 

This is a lonely sport," said Woods, who has just two weeks to regroup before the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. "The manager isn't going to come in and bring in a lefty or a righty. You just have to deal with it."

I’ve begun to wonder about how I feel about these two guys.

Who am I, or who is anybody for that matter, to resent a second chance for each of them?

Second chances are kind of what America is about. We are a country of grace and charity. I like to think I feel that way, as well.

So I’ve moved on.

I hope Woods comes back and restores that magic that was so thrilling and I hope he beats Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major tournaments. Woods needs five to do it.

And I hope Braun wins the Triple Crown. I hope the Brewers don’t trade him and that he becomes the centerpiece of a rebuilt team in three years and leads the Brewers to a pennant.

That’s a lot of hope, I know. But my heart feels better hoping than hating.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.