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We're not out of 'Woods' yet

September 14, 2000

We're not out of 'Woods' yet



When I contracted it, I cannot say, but it seems that sometime in the past year I came down with a serious case of TB. That's Tigerburculosis.

As the girl in "Clueless" would say, I am like soooo sick of Tiger Woods it makes me want to hurl.

It wasn't always this way. I actually enjoyed watching him up until about the British Open this year.

It was after that, I think, that the media went wild, force-feeding us Tiger for breakfast, lunch and dinner. His picture's in USA Today on an average of twice an issue. He's promoed about once every 30 seconds on ESPN. Tiger is on billboards, on Web sites, on mags - on packages, boxes and bags.

Then there's that whole Buick line of TV commercials. Tiger Woods drives a Buick? Um hm. What do you think he tools around in when he's not in the cart, a Skylark or a LeSabre?

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He looks as out of place in the driver's seat of a Buick as Julia Child would in a Humvee. Buicks are old-person cars. What could the young, fashionable, dashing Tiger Woods possibly have in common with a dowdy, 85-year-old man in South Florida?

Oh, right.

And that brings me to another point, which is that Tiger is reaping all this applause simply because he was the first true athlete who happened to pick up a golf club at age 2. To me, Tiger is less a testament to his own greatness than he is a beacon for how pathetic the long line of fat, bald, white guys is who have dominated the game since time immemorial.

Notice I say "game." Because if golf is a sport, so is needlepoint. If, on any given day, the best player in the world can go out on the field of play and be tied by the likes of Craig Stadler, an athletic contest it is not.

Any shmoe can get lucky on a par 3 and hole it out. Anyone can accidentally knock in a 40-foot putt. That is what makes golf a great everyperson's pursuit. But let's see them try to dunk a basketball. Hit 90 mph - heck, hit 70 mph - on the JUGS gun. Nail a 40-yard field goal.

John Daly was competitive when he was drunk. I'd like to see Dominique Dawes get a good buzz on and then go out and win a gold in the vault.

Golf is a very nice game. So is cribbage. Put it on the hobby channel where it belongs and don't trample over baseball and football and the broadcasting of other real sports on Sunday afternoons in the name of some Ulcer Beach Seniors Lexus Open where Sudden Death may refer to either a tie at the end of 18 or the untimely failure of a pacemaker in the lead foursome.

I thought I had sanitized myself against Tigerburculosis Sunday by carefully limiting my viewing to a football game, but it didn't work. After a field goal, the commentator felt moved to say of the kicker "He hit that one as straight and true as a Tiger Woods drive..."

I was sweeping up the fragments of the picture tube later that afternoon, when I decided to do a Web search. I typed in the words "Tiger Woods" and was shown 372,000 matches. Then I typed in the name of the top quarterback in the National Football League, "Daunte Culpepper" and got only 7,640 matches.

Oh the injustice! Daunte's 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, runs a 4.6 40, has a 36-inch vertical leap and can throw the ball 80 yards in the air. I guarantee he does not drive a Buick.

But then I got to thinking about the numbers. If Tiger is this popular, is it really wise for me to be so contrary? It is not.

If I've learned anything in this job, it's that the good Lord grants columnists the wisdom to see things exactly the same way as everyone else. You don't have to say 372,000 to me twice to get the message across. I am defeated.

So I'll swallow hard, watch Tiger and like it. I'll try not to blow up like this again for at least another six months, honest.

Go Tiger. Rah.

And I'll see you at the Buick dealership.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist

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