So, we're getting our first look at Tiger Woods on the PGA Tour this year. But, what do we see?
We see him. But, what do we see in him?
He still prefers red on Sundays. But do we still see red at the mere mention of his name?
To us, Tiger Woods has become black & white. The greatest golfer ever is now the greatest ink blot test in sports. We see Tiger, but we also see thru him.
And when we look at the 14-time major champion, it's like a question posed by a psychologist -- what do you see? Do we see determination? Or disgrace? More than two years removed from what Wikipedia terms his "revelations" of "multiple infidelities," do we strictly gauge his golf game? Or, without knowing it, do we still measure his morality?
What we see in Tiger says a lot about us. Some can't take their eyes off him, while others can't stand the sight of him. Some only see Tiger's golf swing. Others will always see the swing that Elin allegedly took with the 9- iron. Either way, the TV ratings say that we care and we watch. En masse.
So, whereas before, I saw Tiger Woods, more than a golfer. An icon. The best brand in sports. Now, I see Eldrick, a human. It's official and perhaps incomprehensible -- Tiger is just a guy. Another person -- flawed and forlorn -- like the rest of the field (and the world) to varying degrees.
What hasn't changed is that the mere presence of Tiger makes any tourney a happening -- period. Undeniable. And what an ink blot that is -- to be viewed as both a happening and a has-been. Simply put, the court of public opinion has ruled and, from behind the ropes, it's BYOV - Bring Your Own Verdict.
Two weeks ago in the desert (not TPC Scottsdale, but Abu Dhabi), the winner with the Flintstones name (Robert Rock) said: "I'd love to play with him again. He was great company." In fact, Rock told reporters that he was "repeatedly complimented on his shots" by his playing partner.
What if we told you that golfer was Tiger Woods. And that Rock added: "I lost my temper a few times…and he doesn't do that. He ignores it and just carries on.'' Obviously, Tiger has evolved. Can we do the same?
Because, the same weekend that Rock beat Tiger (Rock-Paper-Scissors- Tiger?!) at the Phoenix Open, a fan in the stands at the 16th hole held up a sign that read: "Where's Tiger?" No doubt, a valid question that was on everyone's minds.
But, really, the sign should've read -- "What's Tiger?"
It's like the ink blot test. What is Tiger -- to you?