• Richard Mandell

Tiger Woods: Told You So!

MALVERN, PA., June 28, 2011— Just recently in my life I have learned to succumb to my gut instinct. For the most part I have done that in the past, but mostly in a begrudging manner. Whenever I didn’t follow my gut, things went the wrong way and I ended up kicking myself over not following that instinct. This is especially true about people. Time and time again I always seem to get it right.


Most of the time when I don’t follow that gut instinct is because the whole world is in the opposite camp. Yet it seems to turn around in my favor more times than not. This is especially true with the media, who always seem to judge and set those judgments in concrete with little expertise or solid evidence on the subject. Often times, those judgments are based on personal feelings. How many times have we heard very personal details about people that could realistically only be known in the privacy of one’s mind, let alone household or meeting place? Yet those comments are automatically validated by the masses.


Well, I got it right again. Yup, I knew there was more to this guy than most gave credit. I knew he was a great guy, a regular, someone who his fellow tour pros miss for more than the purses he helped grow. Granted he has made mistakes in the recent past, but they could be forgiven if we choose to forgive. Nonetheless, I’ve always thought the guy was not as arrogant, aloof, and cold as the majority thought.


I witnessed many a post-round interview where his responses seemed more than adequate, fair, and balanced. His commentary was always pretty frank about his own golf game. He also could recognize a stupid question and tried his best not to respond poorly (Must every reporter ask a person how they feel after hitting an impressive milestone? See Derek Jeter after his 3,000th hit or Nick Watney after winning at Aronimink a few weeks ago among many others).


So where’s my evidence that Tiger may indeed be a pretty good guy? Applebrook Golf Club in Malvern, Pennsylvania. On the same Tuesday the tour pros were gearing up for the AT & T National at Aronimink, a very special event was underway. David Feherty was hosting his third annual IED of Golf event which is a gathering of golf pros and wounded warriors. Two organizations were behind the event, Feherty’s own Troops First Foundation (www.troopsfirstfoundation.org) and another organization called No Greater Sacrifice (www.nogreatersacrifice.org).

Upon request and as part of his tournament hosting duties for the AT & T National, Tiger Woods attended the affair in 2010 and gave of his time to our nations’ most fearless professionals. This time around, without a contractual obligation to host neither the AT & T nor a reason to be in Philadelphia, he showed up anyway.


Did you not hear about this? I wonder why the media didn’t share this heartwarming generosity of time. Maybe because the media doesn’t want to give Tiger credit for anything these days or maybe because they didn’t know? Unannounced, Tiger surprised everyone at Applebrook by spending the entire day walking the fairways with our soldiers and sharing one on one time with each and every one of them to learn about their lives, their families, and their incredible sacrifices. He never had a club in his hand, but the time he spent with all was worth more than anything he could have produced on the golf course in any other capacity.


It didn’t end on Tuesday, though. The following day Tiger arranged for a private room at Aronimink to host a luncheon in honor of these soldiers. He paid for it all out of his own pocket and never asked for a single bit of recognition or publicity.


The naysayers can spin it any way they want but the bottom line is that few of us would give our time and energy like that, even if we had all the money in the world and the connections Tiger has to make it possible. I would like to think of myself as giving, but not like that. I am guilty of not reaching out to our servicemen and women for a simple thanks, let alone spending my whole day with them. One year he was contractually obligated, but the following Tiger Woods gave of his heart and time to those who deserve it most.


So let’s give him a break and not bury the guy for every burp or stumble since his run-in of November 2009 (of his own accord, of course). Let’s not analyze what happened with a so-called press conference someone thought he was to have this morning. Let’s not question what constitutes a broken leg or not. Let’s not be grief-mongers when he doesn’t exactly tell us when he will return to competition.


Instead, let’s acknowledge that the guy is human, and most likely a pretty cool one at that. Consider your life if you were constantly badgered by everyone since you were twelve. Please don’t give me the, “that’s the price for fame” speech either! I am not sure that really is a valid argument. I’m glad to say that I am a Tiger Woods fan and I hope he returns to win more majors. Just as long as he stays out of the golf course design business!


About Richard: Richard Mandell runs Richard Mandell Golf Architecture in Pinehurst, North Carolina (www.golf-architecture.com). 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 October 20, 2008. Read more of Richard's work at Golf Today: Players, Events and Fields in the Communities at the Washington Times. Follow Richard on Twitter @RichardMandell.

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