Four Guys Talking About Tiger Woods
It was just four guys sitting around shooting the breeze after a round of golf at that paradise called Pine Needles. Four guys sucking on some cold stuff and eating cookies served up by Barbara and Angelica.
You put four guys who love golf in the same room and sooner or later the conversation is going to turn to Tiger Woods. Especially if one of them is a golf writer searching for column material and the other three are Tom Stewart, Stephen Boyd and Adam James.
Stewart has done a little of everything in his many lives, including marrying a beautiful Russian lady. He’s been a golf professional, a professional golfer, a director of golf, a club manager and now operates the Old Sport Gallery, one of the neatest shops in the village of Pinehurst.
Boyd spent half his life working for American Airlines, half his life working for Pinehurst Resort and the other half trying to slow down his backswing.
James, who owns the Par-3 Car Wash in Southern Pines and stays busy taking my money on golf courses all over the state these days, is the kind of guy who gave Arnold Palmer a ride from the Pinehurst Clubhouse to the Carolina Hotel one night and swears he’ll never get rid of the Escalade he was driving. In fact, he gets upset if anyone happens to sit in the front passenger seat without first covering it with a blanket.
So there they were, these four guys, sitting, sipping and sighing over the bigger than life scores they had just posted on Peggy Kirk Bell’s home sweet home.
“I was always a fan of Tiger’s,” Stewart said, “but not anymore. He’s a great player, but he’s never given back to the game the way Palmer, Nicklaus, Watson and Ben Crenshaw have. Those guys were great players, and they made themselves available to the public.
“It’s going to be hard for people to feel the same about him after all that’s happened, because he has never let anyone get close to him, and now that he’s trying to come back, nobody knows who he really is.”
“I blame the people around him like IMG,” Boyd said. “I think IMG has to accept a lot of responsibility for what has happened, because it’s definitely not all Tiger Woods calling the shots.”
“Right,” Stewart sarcastically cut in, “like a man with a billion bucks is going to let someone in Cleveland or somewhere tell him what to do.”
“Well, at least he or somebody made a smart decision about coming back at the Masters,” James said. “That’s a very controlled situation, and by the time he enters the next tournament, most of the talk will have died down.”
“I think Tiger needs to go on ‘Oprah’ or ‘60 Minutes’ and get everything out in the open,” Stewart said. “If he does that and then the media keeps beating up on him, he’ll get sympathy from the public.
“Actually, I think he’s a narcissistic, selfish person. He was a nice young man at first, but he’s lived in a bubble too long.”
“Yeah,” Boyd said, “and IMG has burst that bubble.”
“Well, I can understand how he likes to have his private time outside the public spotlight,” James said. “I’m certainly no celebrity, but I value my private time.”
The four guys passed the cookies and agreed on one thing. They don’t think Tiger will be viewed the same way by other players.
“I think he’s already lost their respect,” Stewart said, “and I think when it comes to tournament time, the fear factor is gone. They know now that he’s just another human being.
“It’s a respect issue, and Tiger showed a total lack of respect for his wife. People will forgive a lot, but hypocrisy is hard to forget. And Tiger showed hypocrisy in things he said and things he did.
“I believe in redemption, but if Tiger comes back and throws clubs and drops a few f-bombs, he’s gone. And if something should come out about him using steroids, he’s really done.”
Just four guys sitting, talking and wondering what will happen when Tiger Woods goes back to playing the PGA Tour.
It’s happening all over the country.
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