Alas, his best was not quite good enough. Shortly after he won the US Amateur Championship for the first time Woods was approached on the driving range by a then club employee who, according to numerous sources, told him he would have to leave because there had been a complaint about an "n word" hitting balls there. "There was no way Tiger was hitting balls into anyone's back garden," says Rogers. "He wasn't a bad enough golfer."
That would be Tiger Woods. Ten years ago Tiger Woods won the US Open by an incredible 15 strokes, a feat that remains one of the great performances in all of sporting history. I don't have to tell you Woods was in a universe of his own on the golf course 10 years ago. I probably do have to tell you that he was made to carry a receipt for anything he bought at the country club where he practiced as a child "because there had been complaints from members." Or that his mother wasn't allowed to bring food to a clubhouse party celebrating one of his tournament wins.
"I used to think they treated him badly because they were pricks but the more I think about it they were probably racists, too" said an article I remembered reading a few years ago but had to comb through the web unbelievably hard to find. Americans don't like to read about ugly truths. We like to imagine a world where people like Tiger Woods are nurtured and recognized for the incredible talent they are instead of being spurned when they offer to let that country club display the trophy from a US Amateur championship.
And then we act baffled when they self destruct. Today Tiger Woods is a walking punch line, he is battling a neck injury, and he faces the real possibility that he will lose custody of his children. A lot of his problems are the result of his own foolish decisions, yes. But I am well aware of how bad karma placed in a child can be the source of foolish decisions when that child turns into an adult.
So are you. Except for one or two of those fuckers you'll find sipping a beer at the clubhouse of your local country club, we've all had bad karma planted in us. No one makes it. No one's happy. Elvis Presley was successful beyond any of our wildest dreams and died fat and in a narcotic haze struggling to take a shit. It makes us feel better about ourselves though, when a public downfall is unexplained. We remember the bad karmic seed within us and think if not for that we would have won our own US Open or made our own gold record and would have handled the ensuing success so much better than that schlep. There was a reason for our foolish decisions we say to ourselves. Tiger Woods, on the other hand, must be an idiot.
Today Tiger Woods shot a 66 and vaulted right into the thick of the hunt for this year's US Open championship. I hate golfers. Which is why I'll be hoping he pulls it off.