What the Shell
Forget recommitting to Elin: To show real change, Tiger Woods needs to commit to Houston
If Tiger Woods truly wants to make anyone think he’s a changed man — if he wants his “announcement” to be perceived as anything more than begrudging damage control — he needs to do something crazy.
Something the old Tiger (the guy who could serve as the model for the Don Draper character in Mad Men) never would do in several lifetimes. Or three dozen affairs.
Tiger Woods needs to commit to playing golf in Houston.
Sure, it sounds trite and unimportant in the big scheme of Tiger’s troubles, the equivalent of someone caught in an avalanche dwelling on his Facebook status as a mountain of snow buries him. America’s housewives, TMZ followers, bored cubicle dwellers and casual sports fans are tuning into Tiger’s mea culpa on a workday afternoon to see him bleed.
They want visible remorse, a shaky voice and tears.
Judging by the way this farce of a media event was set up—no questions from reporters allowed and only a select, Tiger-friendly few allowed to even attend—the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer and worst-ranked husband will probably give it to them too.
And it will prove absolutely nothing. Except the fact that Tiger wants to play golf again.
Putting on an apology show under the same over-controlling terms Woods has always insisted on doesn’t signify any progress. If anything it reveals this allegedly reformed Tiger is just as manipulative as ever.
Jerks don’t change because they say they’ve changed. There needs to be action behind the words.
Now, committing to play in this year’s Shell Houston Open wouldn’t go anywhere in proving any future fidelity. That matter should be between Woods, his wife Elin and the National Enquirer, regardless.
The truth is Tiger hasn’t just been a monumental jerk to his Swedish bombshell. He’s been at least a medium-sized jerk to golf fans - and anyone who loves events like the Shell Open - for years as well.
The greatest golfer who ever lived - and make no mistake, Tiger still earns that title - is a lout of a dictator when it comes to where he plays the game. With the exception of those legacy-making majors and a few other high-profile events, Woods cherry picks tournaments at courses that fit his game and schedule.
If Tiger doesn’t love a course, if he isn’t certain he can dominate on it, if he doesn’t appreciate a tournament’s date, he avoids it like a germaphobe confronted with a service station bathroom.
This is why golf’s biggest star has never played Houston. Not once in 14 seasons as a pro. Tiger hates the Shell’s current date (the week before the Masters when he prefers to rest) and isn’t sure he likes Redstone Golf Club at all either.
So Houston golf fans are robbed of any chance to ever see Tiger Woods perform in their town. Can you imagine Rockets fans being denied the chance to ever watch Kobe Bryant or LeBron James? Or the Texans never getting a visit from Peyton Manning?
Of course not. Tiger didn’t set up the PGA Tour’s ridiculous independent contractor system that allows these city snubs of course. But he could strike a blow for change.
He could … (gasp!) actually reach out to fans, embrace the people who cheered his false image for years.
That’s what Tiger Woods committing to the Shell Open would be: A great, gigantic hug to true golf devotees. Woods being in Houston on April 1 when the Shell tees off would mean so much more to overworked assistant head pros, beleaguered tournament officials and golf-dependent charities everywhere—the people that should make up his true target audience—than anything he scripts in any announcement.
Tiger should embark on a goodwill tour of the PGA Tour stops he’s deemed second class by his year-after-year absence: the Harbour Towns and the Scottsdales. And it should start in Houston.
Houston is the 10th oldest tournament on the Tour’s schedule. It’s an NBC event. Golf legends like Byron Nelson, Sam Snead and Ben Hogan have played in this town. Shell Tournament director Steve Timms has done everything but carry marquee players in on a throne (see Phil Mickelson playing Shell last year).
This is a tournament that deserves love.
Tiger needs to do more than sleep with Houston women (one of his alleged mistresses now works in the Galleria area). He needs to give back to golf and the cities who’ve always supported it.
Want to prove you’re a different, more humble, human, giving man?
Tiger Woods should commit to Houston. He should do something tangible that all those who love golf would immediately understand. Small sacrifices speak loudly.
Just don’t expect it to ever happen.
Which should tell you all about the superstar asking for forgiveness into a microphone.