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The Breakdown: Fighting karma

BRYCE EVANS
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
Sports editor Bryce Evans
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Lesson learned: If you’re über famous and commit an immoral act, it isn’t enough for people to see you lose millions of dollars, have your reputation tarnished forever or to possibly lose your family.

No, they want blood, they want to see you suffer in every aspect of your life – especially the thing that made you a celebrity in the first place.

Well, at least that seems to be the case with Tiger Woods so far.

Sure, there are plenty of people rooting him on at this week’s Masters, and he’s gotten a pretty nice response from the people in the gallery at Augusta National. But most of the talking heads we have to listen to through every session of highlights of the tournament seem to be of the opinion that Tiger doesn’t “deserve” to win this week. Even some who consider themselves to be experts on golf – like ESPN’s Rick Reilly, a columnist I have a great deal of respect for – have said that a Tiger win would go completely against the idea of karma.

Really? You mean him losing tens of millions of dollars in endorsements isn’t enough to satisfy karma? Or the fact that no one will ever look at him the same way they did before the incident? Or how about his wife and kids might leave him?

Sounds fairly even to me, at least as far as anyone outside his family is concerned.

Now, that doesn’t mean everyone should just take him back with open arms, give him a pat on the backside and tell him to get back out there. But, I think people may need to relax a bit on what they feel Tiger “owes” all of us as fans of his.

To his credit, Tiger has made great strides in improving the (only) part of his life that has anything to do with any of us, and that’s his behavior while playing golf.

By this, I don’t mean his temper or swearing, which actually seem to be much better considering some of the mistakes he’s made this week.

My point is that Tiger has been making a conscious effort to interact with fans. Now, that might not seem like a whole lot to casual fans who see endless clips of Phil Mickelson signing autographs and giving fist bumps to everyone he walks by. Let me assure you, though, there aren’t many Tour players that do it, especially ones who are in contention to win a tournament.

On Friday, in the span of three holes, I saw Tiger give high fives to little kids and even give away his glove to a young girl.

It was pretty cool, but does it mean he’s all of a sudden a great person? Well, no, but it shows he’s trying to be better than he was before. Isn’t it more important that we see someone – who made the incredibly bad and disappointing decisions he’s made – trying to turn his life around? Doesn’t that mean more than hoping he doesn’t win a golf tournament?

I guess it probably has to do with how many little kids play sports, but, still, I can never understand why we expect our favorite athletes to be these great people when we don’t think twice about a famous musician or artist or actor doing things much worse.

All I know is that the reason I like watching Tiger Woods play golf has nothing to with anything he does off the course. He’s the best at what he does and, in my opinion, the most entertaining athlete to watch today.

Although, as a husband and a man, I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of Tiger as a person, I know that when I turn on the Masters today to watch the final round, as a golf fan, I want to see the best player win.

And that’s Tiger Woods.


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