[Business Day One] Eye On The Tiger


Tiger WoodsMuch to my disappointment, Tiger Woods did not capture the victory at the Masters this past weekend. The green jacket went instead to Zach Johnson, a perfectly pleasant-sounding man from Iowa. While I do not begrudge the former Drake Bulldog for outplaying everyone (include Tiger) on the beefy Par 5s of Augusta, I am still upset that the best golfer in the world didn’t take the title.

I root for Tiger Woods, for reasons that are probably a bit selfish. I want to be able to say that I watched the most dominant athlete in the world during his prime. I want the premier sportsman of the decade to be a well-educated man with no criminal record instead of a hard-luck case from Newark, NJ that overcame a murder conviction to be the best strong safety in football. I want to be able to talk about a great golfer while playing golf with other golfers. Selfish justifications, perhaps, but not bad ones.

The guy is an anomaly. He is just so far ahead of everyone else. In a tournament, it is Tiger and then the rest of the field. The crowds expect him to win (twelve Majors will do that), and are downright surprised when he doesn’t. I root for that kind of consistency; the fewer the data points outside the trend line, the better for an analyst like me. I like knowing that something is a near lock. And I cheer for that kind of thing.

I guess that makes me a front runner in the sport of golf. But I do not have that dirty, empty feeling that I assume people have when they all of a sudden start rooting for the San Antonio Spurs or the San Diego Chargers. Pulling for Tiger is a good thing. I’m rooting for a classy athlete that works very hard, donates tremendous amounts to charity, and is am ambassador of American sportsmanship. You don’t see me pulling for Roger Federer just because he also collects championships (though I’m sure he’s a really nice guy, for a Swiss).

In the end, I think people shouldn’t feel bad about cheering on Tiger. He’s earned it, and you as a sports fan have earned the right to root for a winner.