“I’ve never played an entire tournament with my ‘A’ game. This week, I came pretty close . . . “ (Tiger Woods, in his Butler Cabin interview after winning his first Masters in 1997.)
Thought I would lay that quote out there, just as one final reminder of who Tiger Woods is, just to indicate how relieved I am to know that now, with the excellence of Rory McIlroy and the magical arrival of Jordan Spieth, we can move on. From Day One, Woods has been an obnoxious boor, a one-dimensional talent so devoid of character, modesty, humility, and grace that the best way to watch him was to turn off the sound. It was not just the intimidation, the abuse of reporters and announcers and fellow competitors, or the lack of personal character that started leaking into the public domain once his marriage dissolved and his indiscretions became public. It was not just the theatrical dropping/flinging of the club in lieu of a follow-through on a poor shot, the foul language on mic. It was more. Think about that quote, what it conveys: (i) I am so fabulous that, unlike my fellow competitors, I don’t need to play my best to win, I can even play poorly and win; and (ii) I am so fabulous that I am pretty close to perfection. And then consider the fact that the man thought it was appropriate to utter those thoughts in public, on the one day of his life when he had the biggest audience of his life.
And then think about the victory speeches that have been given by McIlroy and the one given yesterday by Spieth. Not that these guys are lacking in confidence, but notice the absence of bragging. Notice Spieth in Butler Cabin, deflecting an opportunity to boast (“what are your goals, now that you have won your first Masters?”), and choosing instead to flatter Bubba Watson, last year’s winner sitting dejectedly next to him: “I want to be like Bubba, I want to win two Masters.” Watching Bubba break into a big grin, you had to realize that Spieth is a genuinely good guy, that he is exactly what Woods is not. Le roi est mort, vive le roi !