Friday, 30 October 2015

Tiger Woods, David Feherty and Next Year's Masters

I just read an article about David Feherty and his network change.  Feherty is undeniably bright.  He is also a unique character.  I have gone from being a big fan of Feherty to more of a luke-warm fan as his attempts at humour seem to have ventured away from his traditional clever witticisms about golf and life to more banal subject matter, including jokes about flatulence.  Suffice it to say, I thought he was much funnier when he didn't try quite so hard.  But then again, who am I?  

As a fellow depression sufferer, I admire the fact that David has achieved as much as he has in and around the game of golf.  I also admire his openness in admitting to being another one of the "walking wounded."  Life, and golf, can present big challenges to those of us who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses.  Hell, golf can drive a sane man crazy; imagine what it does to us depressives.

I note that Feherty continues to be a huge Tiger fan; and he apparently believes that Tiger has been badly treated by the media.  This supposed maltreatment is apparently the reason for Tiger's reluctance to do a one-on-one with him.  

Obviously, Feherty has a more intimate knowledge of Tiger than I, or any other golf fan for that matter.  But I find it hard to comprehend how David could think the media--in particular the golfing media--has been anything but reverential for the most part when it comes to Mr. Woods.  In general, Tiger seems to enjoy a "free pass" from the golf media.  When interviewed, he is seldom asked any hard questions, and his often trite, or even non-sensical, answers are largely unchallenged; even when what he says this week sharply contradicts what he might have said last week.

For instance, in a recent press conference, we learned from Tiger that, despite his having claimed to have been healthy throughout his pitiable 2015 season, he was apparently regularly having back problems.  We are to understand from Tiger that he will be going through a long rehabilitation period to address a back problem he chose to keep hidden from the media until he underwent another back surgery.  We are also to understand that Tiger continues to have the goal of breaking Jack's record for Major wins; this after his good friend, Notah Begay, went on record saying Tiger now believed he was in the twilight of his career.

My point in all of this, if indeed there is a point, is that Tiger has never allowed the media to know what he is all about.  He has been secretive, disingenuous, and aloof with the media.  His treatment of his legion of fans, one might argue, hasn't been much better.  Contrary to what David Feherty seems to believe, I would suggest Tiger has, if anything, been treated like royalty by the golf world, including the media.  This might be understandable, because he has been a great champion. And probably even more to the point, he has made all those in and around the game richer because of the added attention he has brought to the game.  There is, after all, generally a tendency, even for the media, not to bite the hand that feeds you.

Feherty continues to believe Tiger is just as relevant now as when he won his last Major in 2008.  And perhaps that is so.  However, how much longer that will continue remains to be seen.  Eight years is a long time, and there are some pretty exciting young players in the game these days.  One thing is certain, we haven't heard the last of Tiger Woods.

What are the odds that, despite him talking about a lengthy period of rehab, Tiger tees it up at Augusta in April? It wouldn't surprise me one bit.  In fact, I'd be shocked if he didn't play the Masters this year.  TW certainly likes to keep his cards close to his vest and, if this year was any indication, he won't feel compelled to let us know whether he plans to tee it up before he's good and ready.

As for Feherty, I wish him nothing but continued success, and hope he gets his wish some day, and finally has his one-on-one with Tiger.  I wouldn't hold out much hope for that one-on-one being any more enlightening, or instructive, than any other of Tiger's interviews.  He has never been a particularly compelling interview; even if he remains quite a compelling figure in the game.  Then again, Feherty seems to be pretty canny when it comes to getting his guests to open up.