By kickntrue on 4/12/10
By Matt Snyder, ClubSG Contributor

Matt is an opinionated* golf enthusiast from Pennsylvania. He coaches at the high school level, molding the minds and swings of our next generation. His column will appear each Monday on ClubSG. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions of Matt in the comments. Don't hold back- because Matt won't.

After spending much of the weekend watching and following the Masters, I could not have been more pleased with its conclusion. Phil Mickelson followed up his incredible stretch of eagles and birdies on the back nine Saturday with an impressive bogey-free round on Sunday to win by a comfortable three-shot margin. There may not have been a lot of drama on Sunday’s last few holes, but the moments we were all waiting for after the round created enough suspense to keep me glued to the television long after the final putt was made. Seeing Phil share his success with his wife Amy and their children was emotional enough to soften even the hardest of hearts.

So, first of all, I’d like to say congratulations to Phil on managing to perform at his best in the face of all the personal challenges that he and his family are experiencing. It is every man’s desire to provide for himself and, more importantly, his family. Phil’s performance at the Masters this week provided to his wife and daughters joy, celebration, and tears of pleasure during a time of much pain. Those provisions far outweigh any level of fiscal prosperity. Phil Mickelson, congratulations on a job well done.

Now, let’s talk about Tiger Woods for a few seconds, only because we have to. Could this guy possibly be a bigger jerk now than he was before his scandal was exposed? In the weeks prior to the Masters, he made numerous comments to the media suggesting that he is going to change his ways on and off the golf course. In fact, he even stated that his actions would show us all that he is sorry for his previous behavior. Well, he didn’t look too sorry to me! It was the same old Tiger. He was tossing clubs, cursing, and showing his rage and disgust without any attempts to disguise his displeasure. And then, in his interview after the final round, he stated that people are making too big of a deal out of the way that he acts! I almost fell out of my chair! He went on to talk about how poorly he was playing as if to excuse his actions with his bad shots. “I wasn’t playing well. So, I’m not going to be happy.” Well, thank you Captain Obvious! Newsflash Tiger, it doesn’t take much effort to control your anger when you are playing well. Respecting the game and being a role model for kids is all about how you act when you are not playing well. It’s about showing people that hitting a bad golf shot isn’t the end of the world and isn’t reason enough to disrespect the game. He, obviously, still does not get the message.

In his mind, it is still all about Tiger Woods. In fact, I think he’s gotten worse. At least before, he would actually offer a word of congratulations to the winner. If you bothered to listen to the interviews that he gave after the round, he never once congratulated Phil or suggested anything positive about the way Phil was playing. Of all the times to say, “I struggled today, but Phil is playing great and he deserves something positive with all that he’s going through.” This was a perfect chance for Tiger to show that he has a heart and can care about the well being of other people. But, no. Tiger would rather ramble on about how terrible he played and how disappointing a fourth place finish is to him. The game has never seen this level of arrogance and, frankly, it’s an absolute embarrassment.

Thankfully, there are still some guys out there who aren’t so conceited. On the other end of the spectrum, if you listened to Lee Westwood, you heard the voice of a man who respects the game of golf, as well as his competitors. Westwood has been numerous times the bride’s maid, but has yet to be the bride. Hmmm, I wonder if that’s frustrating? But yet, he had very few negative things to say about himself and several words of encouragement to Phil and his family. Likewise, Fred Couples spoke positively about how much he enjoyed his week at Augusta despite the fact that he let a chance to write his name in the history books slip away with a poor final round. I don’t know, because I’ve never been there, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that he was pretty frustrated that he couldn’t cease the moment on Sunday. But, in his interview, he didn’t go on and on about how he couldn’t hit a good shot to save his life. He said things like “I struggled a little bit today, but I had a lot of fun this week.” Fred Couples is and always was a class act. He is a great ambassador for the sport and he is someone that Tiger should watch and listen to in order to gain some perspective on what it looks and sounds like to be a positive role model.

Lastly, I would like to follow up on my post from last week. I pleaded with the television media to cover the Masters and not just Tiger Woods. While I was not pleased with the build up and numerous flashbacks that aired during play, I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of other golfers that were shown actually playing golf. Sure, we rarely missed any shot or tap in by Tiger, but at least we were not forced to watch him walk down the fairway while other guys were hitting great golf shots. The biggest downside for me was with the commentating. Every other sentence was somehow related to Tiger, especially during the first two rounds. That was pretty annoying, but I will say that it got a little better on the weekend. So, I guess a “thank you” to ESPN and CBS is in order for their decent job of covering this excellent 2010 version of the Masters. It was an action packed week with several new story lines each day. For all the fans of golf and of what the sport stands for, the last four days could not have been much more rewarding. The Masters was able to overcome the circus that was the return of Tiger Woods and still represented the game and its players in the most positive of lights.

* Matt's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.

photo source

[ comments ]
golfbummex says:
Practice what you preach. You complain about the Tiger coverage yet 3/4's of your blog was about Tiger. Ok, you don't like the guy, so what, I'm sure he's losing sleep over that fact! So he’s let out a four letter word, most of us on the course have. I've heard many past and present great golfers do the same at tournaments I've attended only there wasn't a microphone on every tee. He’s a role model, just not for every role. Pick out those traits you like and point them out to your kids, teach them the rest yourself and quit trying to put that onus on someone else.

As for you, how about putting your keypad where your mouth is. If you, Mr. Self Righteous, were so dead set against talking about him why was 3/4 of your piece about him? There were lots of other great stories; Fred Couples (worth more than 2 lines), Tom Watson, Anthony Kim, Lee Westwood (two more lines than Couples), Ricky Barnes, the low amateur (a 16 year old) and on...and on…and on. Fix yourself first before trying to fix others.
jjeya says:
Tiger is not a man of excuses when it comes to playing golf..Nor did he try to please the people by saying a few words about Phil on Sunday evening..After all this is not the tournament for fair play..It was a tournament for a green Jacket..That's what he came for...Nothing wrong in him being honest about that...
JHBryant says:
He is justified in his feelings of disapointment about Tiger. Tiger can win at golf, but he will never be a class act. Anyone can throw a "shit fit" when they can't hit a good shot. Yes, he is a mega sports figure and in his private life he can do anything he wants. Most of us are tired of TIGER, TIGER, TIGER!!! It has been great to open the golf magazines the last few months and read articals about other golfers than Tiger. Tiger is a good golfer and may someday break all of the golfing records. I would like to here more about other golfers like, whats up with VJ, A.K., Patrick, John Daly or David Duval. Their ups and downs, on and off the course. Is that asking too much?
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