Editor prefers his Tigers black

Tiger Woods can you, uh, please start golfing again like it’s the year 2002? Pretty please? With a cherry on top?

Zack McDermott, sports editor

If the PGA Tour wants any chance of me sending one of my Nielsen ratings its way, Woods’ name better be at the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.

But as badly as I want a renewed Woods dominating the field at the U.S. Open in June, the PGA wants it twice as bad.

Or at least it should.

Golf is suffering from nearly the identical problem that NASCAR is – it can’t find anyone who inspires love and hate to win a gosh darn thing.

Jimmie Johnson is slightly more divisive than the Teletubbies, while the past 10 different people who have won a major in golf have been so memorable that I can’t name one.

After Tiger-gate, however, Woods has as many people praying for his return to the top as he does delighting in his trip down the boulevard of broken dreams.

Woods has the ability to make people want to waste an afternoon watching golf instead of watching paint dry or mowing the lawn.

Not only do I want Tiger to break Jack Nicklaus’ record, I want him to demolish it. I want him to make people forget that Nicklaus ever golfed.

On Sunday, he showed everybody why.

Woods was hitting shots that dropped, bounced or rolled wherever he intended them to. Through the first nine holes at Augusta, he had the ball on a string. 

It only helps that Woods’ mystique is second to none. When he charged back from two shots down to pull even for the lead with the back nine in front of him, analysts and fans alike knew that it was his to lose.

However, Woods’ stone cold focus, ability to intimidate and adeptness at golfing under pressure aren’t the only reasons I’ve continued to support him.

I also root for Tiger for the same reason people cheered when Jackie Robinson singled or when Jesse Owens embarrassed Hitler in Germany’s 1936 Berlin Olympics – he’s a black man.

 He’s proving all over again that skin color doesn’t limit how far you can hit a baseball, how fast you can sprint or how well you can swing a golf club.

Woods has dominated a sport that has a whiter history than the Ku Klux Klan.

To think that the people at Augusta, who hadn’t let a black golfer through its gates as recently as the early 1970s, may have to honor Woods as the greatest golfer of all time is one of the best role reversals in sports history.

But this can only happen if Woods finds his stroke from the early 2000s. If not, I’ll have to start rooting for Vijay Singh.

And no one wants that.

ZACK MCDERMOTT

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