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I want to be clear, right from the beginning, that I do not watch golf on TV. I have nothing against the game, really. It’s just too freaking boring to watch.

It is a form of competition, I suppose, and it does involve a ball, so I guess it’s a legitimate sport. Maybe it’s the fact that everyone has their own ball and that competitors are forbidden from touching any ball but their own. That seems wrong. How can it be a real sport if it consists of a bunch of hackers out there on the lawn, each playing essentially alone with his or her own ball, without any meaningful interaction (much less physical contact) among them?

And then there are the contestants themselves: bland, to put it mildly. With a few exceptions, they all seem to have the same personality: decent, thoughtful, but not especially deep or particularly memorable. Most of them, despite of their obvious skills, do not look very much like athletes.

And then there’s Tiger Woods. If he’s in the field, I can always find a little time to stop and watch. It was that way before he became the Deeply Flawed Hero, and it has remained that way up to and through his riveting victory last weekend at the Masters. There is a lot to that story — the struggles, the history, the transit from light to darkness and back to light — but what makes it the stuff of legend is this particular hero. If we plugged the name of any other golfer in this tale, it would be impressive, but ultimately just another heroic comeback story. Such stories are commonplace in sports.

But not with Tiger as the hero. Among other things, he looks different. No spare tire there, even at 43. No droopy boobs-in-banlon, either, or goofy walking style, or quirky-but-effective swing. With Tiger, it’s all grace and power and that flare for exultation. You can’t miss him walking down the fairway; you don’t have to look for him because he’s the one you’re already looking at.

Indeed, it’s hard to think of any athlete in any sport who has that kind of star quality. Roars like that are rare, especially on a golf course. And though Tiger has moved closer to the boring golf mean in personality, he now has an even bigger bigger-than-life backstory. That will always be there whenever you hear him speak, so that even the most predictable golf platitudes will sound like ageless wisdom coming from him. Plus, he is the GOAT (for the uninitiated, an unfortunate acronym meaning Greatest Of All Time). On top of everything else, then — besides the comeback and the aura and the beautiful power of his game — he is really, really, really good at his sport.

It’s only golf, admittedly, but I’d sit down and watch him even if it were curling.
Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon