When will Tiger Woods finally just lose it and go volcanic on something other than his 4-iron or golf balls?
Some will say that Woods is exemplifying commendable restraint in the aftermath of Sergio Garcia’s blatantly racist remark in London when he said he’d serve Woods’ “fried chicken” as part of a dinner invitation. But how much restraint can a man show when your enemy continues to take verbal swipes at your head? At what point do you swing back to defend yourself?
Please, don’t lecture me about Woods practicing controlled rage at his archenemy. Even in his best moments, Woods has faltered laughably and frequently in this department. Remember the legendary 2000 campaign when Woods completed the “Tiger Slam” — winning four consecutive golf majors, though they were not in the same calendar year? Even then, when he was leaving his competitors bloodied and battered on the immaculately manicured greens at Pebble Beach during that U.S. Open, he polluted the prime time airwaves with a stream of profanities that shocked viewers. Many dismissed that episode as Woods exhibiting a level of humanness that countered his normally robotic behavior in public.
Self-restraint is also not an attribute that Woods can claim. People who show personal restraint don’t hang out with Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley in houses of ill repute and gambling joints across the country. Besides, Woods’ pristine, golden-boy image was shattered into a thousand pieces, much like the back window of his Cadillac Escalade, on that fateful Thanksgiving night in 2009 when his SUV kissed the bark of a tree as his ex-wife gave chase in a quest for his scalp.
Tiger Woods has taken direct hits for the past two weeks from golf arch-nemesis Sergio Garcia, serious verbal swipes near Tiger Woods’ receding hairline that have ranged from mere resentment and jealousy to blatant racism.
What makes Woods response to Garcia so curious and questionable is that Woods has shown a great proclivity — with little provocation and with little notice — to cut loose and verbally abuse inanimate objects in his proximity when he hits an errant shot into the trees or a hazard. But when it comes responding to attacks on his character and the very ethnicity that Woods’ seems to have aversion to, he remains stoic and measured.
When Fuzzy Zoeller told him not to serve fried chicken and collard greens at the following year’s pre-Master’s dinner after becoming the youngest ever winner of golf’s grandest tournament in 1997, he dismissed the episode as a joke. When a white female television reporter joked (badly) that perhaps Woods’ competitors might want to hang him the only way to beat him, Woods swooped in and tried to save her by telling the press that she was a friend. And when Garcia knocked him for everything from bad sportsmanship to bad character to brazen insults, Woods has chosen to not fight back and, instead take the victim route, talking about how badly Garcia’s comments hurt him. Please.
Notice that none of the perpetrators made any “jokes” or disparaging remarks about Woods’ Asian nor Caucasian heritage or any other part of his ridiculously made up “Cablinasian” ethnicity. They are clearly aiming at the black part of his ethnicity and scored direct hits.
We understand why President Obama cannot just slap back at every racial insult leveled at him by his political enemies. Heck, all Michelle Obama has to do is look in someone’s direction with her arched eyebrows and they assail her with the grossly undeserved “angry black woman” stereotype. And, yes, the press practically accused Serena Williams with violating the Patriot Act when she berated a diminutive side judge with vulgarities and threats at the U.S. Open a few years back.
But Woods is not restrained by any such sociopolitical handcuffs. His modus operandi, at least publicly, is an emotionless, unfriendly and relentlessly single-minded competitor who only has the courage to curse his clubs and golf bag. He almost never goes off on people. Therefore, if he were to just tear into Garcia, who clearly deserves it and is practically begging to be pummeled after poking Woods for two weeks now, everyone would understand in this instance and give him a pass.
Certainly black people would understand.