BOB, GROZ AND TOM

Wassell: Why are we rooting for Tiger Woods again?

Mar 16, 2018, 10:31 AM
Tom Wassell of 710 ESPN Seattle doesn't buy Tiger Woods as an underdog. (AP)...
Tom Wassell of 710 ESPN Seattle doesn't buy Tiger Woods as an underdog. (AP)
(AP)

I don’t like Tiger Woods. Many of you love him. I figured that since the media has determined that it’s once again acceptable to worship at his altar, I’d address the issue.

First, let’s get the infidelity thing out of the way.

Many, many athletes are not faithful to their spouses. We accept that. Their sex lives are their business – until it becomes public. It’s pretty tough to pretend like the ugliness isn’t there when the details are everywhere.

Enjoy Ichiro’s return with M’s while you can

If I had a friend who cheated on his wife as many times as Tiger, it would be hard for me to continue being his friend once I found out about it. It’s embarrassing to even be associated with someone like that.

People make mistakes, but pathologically engaging in dishonest behavior is just not something that I find attractive in anyone, let alone someone who portrayed himself as a squeaky clean sports hero.

Strike One.

Remember, we’re talking about golf here. Not exactly the most exciting sport from an action standpoint. For someone to really stand out as a true personality, the athlete must have exactly that – a personality. Tiger never had one. I can’t remember one thing he ever said that I found even remotely interesting.

Strike Two.

It’s possible that his popularity could simply be explained by acknowledging his greatness. Compared with the greatness of others, though, what makes his so special? At one point, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team won 111 straight games and outside of some news coverage that day, the country didn’t blink. Mike Trout is the best player in baseball and most of us don’t even know what he looks like.

I refuse to believe that it was solely Tiger’s ability to win golf tournaments that made him so much more fascinating than every other successful athlete. Winning isn’t enough.

Strike Three.

When choosing which athletes to root for, the question of the underdog usually comes up. Assuming that we don’t have a personal connection to a team or individual involved in the event, most of us good-hearted folk will default to the one that has a lesser chance of winning. Why is that? Because sports is an area of life that proves time and again that it’s possible to overcome odds.

This is the entire selling point of March Madness. It’s inspiring. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve teared up after watching someone who I’ve never even heard of achieve something insurmountable. People like feel-good stories because they make us feel good.

Tiger Woods is not an underdog. He’s among the most dominant athletes in the history of sports. What was it about him that made so many fans abandon their proclivity to root for the underdog and instead hope for an outcome that seemed predictable – and dare I say boring?

I believe it has to do with our occasional tendency toward front-running. And why do sports fans become front-runners? Because it makes them feel better about themselves.

“If I root for a winner, then I am a winner.” Pretty sad when you think about it.

Strike Four.

Let me summarize. Tiger Woods is a supremely talented, dishonest, boring non-underdog. What am I missing?

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Wassell: Why are we rooting for Tiger Woods again?