The Meaning of Tiger

Joe Posnanski

Copyright Joe Posnanski
Sure, I’m fascinated by Tiger Woods. I’m fascinated by him because I cannot figure him out. I have no idea what drives him, what inspires him, what makes him laugh (other than a misplayed chip bouncing into the hole). I don’t know if he’s happy living the most luxurious and public life imaginable, or if happiness is beside the point. I don’t know if he plays otherworldly golf because it’s pivotal to his existence, or because it gives him a high he cannot get anywhere else, or because that golf has won him a billion dollars and the hearts of men on Wall Street and a Swedish supermodel, or if he’s inescapably bound to the dreams of his father and a poster of Jack Nicklaus that he had on his wall as a child.
I don’t know if Tiger Woods hears the cheers and shrieks as he walks through the crowd, stonefaced, distant, alone, like a prison guard walking the line past the cages while a ring of keys swings and sways off his belt buckle. Maybe he really does not hear them, does not hear us, maybe he really is insulated by gallery ropes and five layers of concentration. It’s worth nothing that when he stands over a golf ball he can hear a camera shutter release seven football fields away. I don’t know. It’s a mystery. I don’t know why he throws his clubs like a petulant child when he hits a bad shot or how he climbs into his soul like an old man at peace when he needs to hit a shot close to the hole. I don’t know if hits a thousand golf shots a day through pain and aching monotony because he still rages to become the greatest golfer who ever lived or because he doesn’t really know what else to do, his destiny has been declared, his coronation has been scheduled, his status as the greatest golfer who ever lived has been prophesied — or as Jim Murray said: “Carmen was announced, Carmen will be sung.”
All I know about Tiger Woods can be summed up in about seven words: “I knew he would make that putt.”
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