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COLUMN: Tiger’s ego will be his undoing

Woods simply can’t show humility

July 22, 2011
B.J. LISKO - Salem News Sports Editor ( , Salem News

Sometimes you just get to a point where you don't care anymore. You've pretty much given up all hope. There's no way around it, and the longer you hold on the more you end up being disappointed.

We as sports fans know the feeling. Certainly we know it in Ohio. The bombardment of sports tragedy is nothing new to us, but when it's self-inflicted it's not a tragedy, it's more simply an embarrassment.

Enter one Tiger Woods.

In 18 months, Tiger has gone from golf's greatest player to the highlight reel for TMZ. When he makes news it's not for what he's doing, it's for what he isn't doing.

Twitter messages are about all we get from Woods these days and even those are the same verbatim responses he's always given, just in tweet form.

We've never gotten humility from Tiger and we never will. His ego is so inflated a cloud of smug practically appears on the weather radar above his Florida community.

Even when he's doing "good" by contributing to charitable organizations, no one is walking away feeling warm and fuzzy. When guys like Phil Mickelson contribute to charity, it seems genuine and heartfelt. When guys like Woods contribute to charity, it seems forced and fake.

When Woods stiffs car valets and bellhops consistently, how hard must it be for him to un-sew his own wallet to give money to kids in need? But even then little of the money is coming directly from golf's former icon. The money comes from his star power. Have Woods, will donate. And the businesses line up one after another to contribute to his charitable funds. It's all well and good he's able to garner that support for simply being who he is, but Tiger seems about as genuine as a Louis Vuitton handbag purchased from a dodgy character in a shady van in a back alley.

Everything Woods has done since two Thanksgivings ago is contrite and narcissistic. His apologies. His staged press conferences. His timed interviews. His last-minute withdrawals from tournaments he knows very well he doesn't have a chance to play in.

All of Tiger's decisions are done in a manner to keep attention firmly on him. He dismisses his peers' advice. Lee Trevino and Rocco Mediate for starters, have both said Woods' swing and the pressure he puts on his left knee is exactly what's led to four surgeries and an Achilles problem. Woods scoffs at it. He's stayed with his swing coach Sean Foley, a coach Woods has won exactly zero tournaments with, and then has constantly criticized his former swing coach Hank Haney. When Haney and Woods were a pair, Woods was a wrecking machine wherever he went. The only thing he's wrecked since firing Haney was his SUV.

He fired his caddie Steve Williams. Williams was such an adamant supporter of his golfer he screamed at photographers and chucked cameras into ponds. He didn't mutter a word when Tiger's scandal hit, and he even ripped Tiger's once biggest rival in Mickelson publicly. Williams seemed to be Tiger's only ally for nearly two years. He was sacked for his loyalty in another move where Woods was too self-centered to place any blame on himself. It's his ex-wife's fault. It's the mistresses' fault. It's the swing coaches' fault. It's the caddies' fault. It's the fault of everyone but Tiger.

Woods is sports' ultimate pansy. He never owns up to anything. He never takes advice from anyone around him that isn't a yes-man. He's forever had an inflated sense of himself, but in the past his talent on the golf course overshadowed his personal faults.

Not anymore.

Tiger lives in the highest of towers on the tallest of perches. His peon friends on the PGA Tour don't have any clue what they're talking about, so certainly none of us regular peons would even have a shred of credibility.

Will he play? Won't he play?

Honestly, who cares? If this is the Tiger we're stuck with the only reason people will watch is to keep seeing the car crash. He is immensely talented, and no one can ever take that away from him. At this rate no one needs to. He's doing a perfectly fine job taking it away from himself.



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