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  • Writer's pictureRichard Mandell

Tiger Returns at Augusta: What the Fuss?

I hear they got this thing that is round – it’s called a wheel. I’ve also been privy to this little known fact – red means stop; green means go. Here’s one more: Tiger Woods plans to play the Masters this year!

Wow – An absolute blockbuster in the largest sense of blockbusters. Give me a break. It absolutely amazes me that anyone on this planet who could distinguish Tiger Woods from Tony the Tiger could possibly think anything else. Did you really think he was going to wait until the British Open because the press on the opposite side of the pond will go easy on him? He’ll sit out all of 2010? Some said he would never play again – as they all gathered more stones to throw.

Can we please just separate Tiger the golfer from Tiger the family man?

Golfer: A+

Husband: F-

Here is the absolute fact that we all really need to come to grips with: Unless we are immediately related to him; deal with him on a personal level; pay him money for his services - we don’t have any stake in Tiger’s philandering and recovery. We just don’t. We don’t deserve an apology, an explanation, anything. The media - particularly the golf writers – especially don’t deserve anything. We all need to remember that he really does not work for us. If we choose to worship him as anything more than a golfer, than we must live with the disappointment, lick our wounds, and get our own priorities in order.

I’m glad I got that off my shoulders. Now, I have been saying since this broke that there was no way this guy was missing the Masters. In my opinion (and my opinion only for which I may be flogged for expressing such in an area which I – as everyone else on this planet – am not truly enlightened enough to pontificate), his number one priority is to be the greatest golfer who has ever played the game. Long before women became an interest, as a thirteen year old he had posters of Jack Nicklaus on his wall and clearly planned to beat all of Jack’s records.

Before he met his wife, he won three U. S. Juniors in a row. Before she came along, he won three U. S. Amateurs in a row. Someone recently told me that most golfers wouldn’t have hung around long enough to win three Amateurs in a row before they turn pro to chase the money. Surprisingly this person said that in a negative way toward Tiger. Somehow, Tiger was the one who was selfish by not turning pro. Can’t we give him any credit for putting accomplishment over financial gain? Granted, he gained financially quite well, but don’t think for one moment that all that gain would be there if he never won a major.

No one will win as many majors as he will before his career comes to an end. And there is no way he would let a potential major pass by in Augusta this April. Frankly, we cannot really separate his marriage repair efforts from his career. That, again, is really none of our business. He didn’t choose to return down Magnolia Lane because he would be properly protected from the media and public within Augusta’s confines. He is coming because it is a chance to win another major at a location where he has already won four.

What of the work on his marriage? He has had four months to begin the repairs and it will take many years to heal the wounds. At some point, he will have to get back into the routine of his career – just like you and I would have to. Only we would never have the luxury of escaping for a third of the year in order to fix anything in our personal life. Yet no one wants to give the guy credit for spending that much time. Sure, he has more work to do. Playing Augusta does not mean he has declared rehabilitation over.

At some point he is going to have to get back on the road and learn how to deal with the temptation without acting upon it. I liken it to us mortal golfers who may spend so much time grooving a new swing on the driving range. At some point, we must get out on the course and learn how to trust our swing. For Tiger, he’ll have to learn to trust his moral fiber.

He is coming to Augusta to try to win a major, nothing else. Whether or not he can pull it off without playing in competition for more than four months is another question. But ooooh, he’ll make a lot of people mad if he does. Get over it. Honestly, I’m tired of writing about this guy, but the media gives me no choice.

About Richard: Richard Mandell is a Golf Course Architect in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Educated as a Landscape Architect at the University of Georgia (he is licensed in both North and South Carolina), Richard has close to two decades’ experience in designing new golf courses and renovating existing ones. Richard may also be the only golf architect in the world who is a certified arborist. He co-hosts a weekly golf radio talk show in Pinehurst and continues to teach a class on Golf Architecture at North Carolina State University which he started in 1997. Mr. Mandell also wrote the award-winning book, Pinehurst ~ Home of American Golf - The Evolution of a Legend (International Network of Golf Book of the Year – 2007).

Richard Mandell has been a Golf Content Creator for the Washington Times Communities since August 20, 2009

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