If it wasn’t for television I might still think that Tiger Woods is a hero.
Instead, after watching yet another in a long line of protected, robotic, distant, unresponsive, unfriendly displays, I have come to the conclusion, at long last, that this guy is about the furthest thing you can get from being a hero.
I know this will shock a lot of people, especially people who have undying devotion to Woods for no other apparent reason than the fact that he is a black guy who is better than all the white guys who play golf. I’ll confess that I liked Woods a lot, both for his skill and because he was a black guy in a world that was almost exclusively the property of rich white guys.
I like the outsider breaking barriers. I’d be thrilled if a Jewish guy became a great golfer amidst the congregation of Christianity that is the PGA tour.
But I like my heroes to have more than a little humanity.
I was struck by how un-hero-like Woods is by watching him during last weekend’s U. S. Open.
First of all, Woods stunk up the joint. For a guy who is a favorite in every tournament he enters he was never a factor. The same could be said of Rory Mcllroy, the young Irishman who was the defending champion and who played with Woods. He joined Woods in the horrors of lousy golf but the reactions were miles apart.
Mcllroy smiled at every missed putt. He reacted to the groans of the crowd with self-deprecating humor and even broke a club, thereby endearing himself to anyone who has ever played the game.
Woods was without any emotion at all. An occasional grimace was all we got. He never acknowledged the crows. When he left the course he walked with his head down. He never even looked at the kids holding out their tiny fists for a bump from the great Tiger.
When the cameras were on and he was asked about why he played so badly, he said, "Well, the conditions were tough out there."
Really? That’s all you got? Tough conditions.
Where is the sorrow? Where is the self-disappointment? Where is the crushing emotional response?
When Phil Mickelson finished second – for the sixth time in this tournament – he said he was "heartbroken."
That’s what a hero says. Heartbreak and tragedy and coming back from them is what heroes are all about.
With Woods we are all uncertain whether he even has a heart. His life is so very odd and unlike anything we can relate to.
He’s got a new girlfriend, another in a long line of tall, pretty blondes. Mickelson went to his daughter’s eighth grade graduation and then took a red-eye so he could make his tee time.
Mickelson oozes warmth and approachability and Woods oozes a suit of armor that won’t let anyone get even a glimpse into what makes him human and not a robot.
Heroes are made of more than that. They have a touch. They make you want to root for them and suffer with them. With Woods, the only thing he’s got going is his skill as a golfer.
And that’s not enough to be a hero in my book.
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 OnMilwaukee.com 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.