Tiger Woods is arguably the most polarizing athlete in the world. There is absolutely no middle ground with him. People either love him or hate him. Now that he is back in the winner’s circle for the first time in five years following his victory at the Tour Championship, Tiger lovers and haters are back out in full force.
I will give you my explanation on why Tiger is such a lightning rod. Some of it has to do with race, some of it has to do with jealousy, and some of it has to do with his moral character.
So, here is why people hate Tiger:
There are some white people who hate him because he is black. Simple as that. Now, there are some black people who hate Tiger because they say he doesn’t think he is black. How ironic is that, huh? White folk hate him because he is black, and black folk hate him because he doesn’t act black.
You want more on this? There are white people who hate Tiger because he dates white women. There are black people who hate Tiger because he dates white women. Really, you can’t make this stuff up.
What that nonsense really shows is how fucked up we are on race. Excuse my language, but ‘fucked up’ is really the only way to state the sad case of race relations in America.
Now, add the moralists that hate him for cheating on his wife with multiple women, and the fact he has a foul mouth on the golf course (as if he is the only PGA Tour player who curses), and he is just a bad, terrible person. Then comes the jealousy of this filthy rich black guy, who is sleeping with all these white women, cussing like a rapper, and beating everyone to a pulp on the golf course. It’s just too much to take.
No one has loved the demise in his game, that has seen him go winless since 2013, more than the people who fall into this group. They will be cheering their asses off against Tiger this weekend.
This is why people love Tiger:
Folks who know how difficult the game of golf is, love Tiger. They love the command and the consistency he has shown since he turned pro late in the 1996 season. They appreciate 14 majors, 79 PGA Tour wins, and the cavalcade of remarkable shots. They don’t give a damn about his love life, his foul mouth, or how much money he makes.
These folks want to watch him play, and maybe they can take a piece of what he does, and apply it to their game.
There is a segment of black folk who love Tiger because of what he represents. He is a black man on the PGA Tour, and there are a lot of black folk that been playing this game a long time, like PGA Tour legend Lee Elder, the first black to play in the Masters, who understand the journey.
These men and women have a deeper connection to golf than some blacks, who just started playing. These are blacks who were around in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and watched black men like Elder, Charlie Sifford, Cal Peete, Pete Brown, Jim Dent, Jim Thorpe, Charlie Owens, Bobby Stroble and Walter Morgan, win events on the PGA Tour and Senior Tour.
They know black golf didn’t start with Tiger. They also know Tiger Woods represents men like Teddy Rhodes and Bill Spiller, who never got a fair chance to play because of racism, every time he tees it up. These people know that even when Tiger called himself a ‘Cablinasian’ on Oprah, they know what others were gonna think. And they know if he was playing in the Greensboro Open in 1961, that he would likely be called ‘nigger.’
Although, that’s a word Tiger has heard or read in a hate letter more than once in his career. (Remember what I said about the state of race relations in America earlier in this piece)
They also know that Woods _ despite the myth that he doesn’t _ has a clear understanding and appreciation for the black golf pioneers who came before him. Woods enjoys a close relationship with Elder, and was very close to Sifford, who passed away in February. Woods has made financial contributions and given awards to junior programs that benefit blacks, around the country.
There you have it. These are at least a few reasons people love/hate Tiger.
But there is one thing that both the lovers and haters of Tiger Woods will be doing this weekend, and that’s watching to see what he does in the final two rounds of the Quicken Loans National. Love him or hate him, we all want to watch him.