The good thing is that I already had a place in mind: Heartwell Golf Course, which is literally within walking distance from home. In fact, that’s how I made my decision: I pass it whenever I go for my walks and each time their restaurant smells pretty killer, so we just had to give it a shot.
In addition to that we could hit a bucket of golf balls when we were through eating, which is exactly what we did.
And to make this blog entry even more intriguing, Heartwell—an underwhelming par 3 course with lots of squirrels and not much else—is one of the places where a golfer by the name of Tiger Woods got his start. Other than the few framed newspaper articles hanging in the lobby (see blurry phone cam pics), the place is unassuming and you’d never know that one of golf’s greatest ever set foot there. Hell, I’ve even played a round there and I suck.
But back to Tiger. When you hear golfers in Heartwell’s coffee shop refer to him on a first-[nick]name basis, there’s a good chance that it’s meant on a personal level than a public-as-a-whole level. And that’s exactly what they were doing while we ate our breakfasts and watched him on TV play at Sawgrass.
“How’s Tiger doing today? Where’s he at? Tiger’s gotta work on [whatever] this round.”
Not a single mention of anything else because, well, this is one of golf’s all-time greats and his name is synonymous with integrity, perseverance, and success on the links.
Flashback to 1992 when I was working at Target. My brother, working at a big L.A. radio station at the time, gave me media credentials to attend the Nissan Open at Riviera Country Club (and people, if you’ve never set foot on a major course like that, you don’t know what you’re missing—it’s pristine and beautiful). I gladly took the credentials and made my way to the event.
I watched a few guys tee off from the first hole—an amazing feat at such a distance. Then as I was making my way around the course, all of a sudden there was this crowd rushing to the 9th hole, where I just happened to be standing.
“Is this where Tiger’s at now,” one spectator asked.
“Yeah, I think so,” I replied. A few seconds later, a then-teenaged Woods approached the tee, studied the hole with great concentration, grabbed a club, the officials held up their “QUIET” signs, the crowd grew silent, and I witnessed what I believed to be the sweetest golf swing I’d ever seen. The sound was unreal, the distance incredible, the crowd amazed. They all cheered as Tiger judged the distance; he then acknowledged them with a smile and wave.
And what the hell you were doing at that age besides playing video games?
While he may not have had any Nike logos on him at the time (at least by way of endorsements), we all knew this was the start of something we’d be telling our kids about. Years down the road this was proven to be the case and I’m pleased to say that I bore witness to the beginning of something that could be considered nothing short phenomenal.
Back to present day. As we’ve learned since last Thanksgiving, Tiger’s personal life has gotten very interesting and tumultuous with all the accusations of his infidelity, which led to an eventual admission of guilt and a plea for the public’s forgiveness.
But was all that necessary?
Is what he does on his own free time any of the world’s friggin’ business, and was a public apology really required? We know the man for his outstanding level of play and that’s what we should focus on and remember him by, not in whichever proverbial holes he decided to play his proverbial balls.
That’s his problem. Let he and his family come to terms and deal with it. Ted Haggard knows something about that shit.
And why wasn’t there such an uproar when Magic Johnson was found to have contracted HIV, which we later learned was through sleeping with his share of women throughout is career? The world almost felt sorry for him because of his infidelity and I wouldn’t be too surprised if he got more women offering themselves to him for pity sex.
But Tiger? No, let’s run him through the wringer and let’s keeping twisting that knife a little further into him.
Because he is so damn good, Tiger fell victim to celebrity and all that comes with it and as a result, seemed to have developed a problem with the joys of the flesh. And in all honesty, if you were in his position…um, his shoes, wouldn’t you find it hard to maintain a level of morals and ethics?
To paraphrase the late, great Rick James during an interview I saw on the VH1, if someone came up to you and said you could have all the women, all the money, and all the drugs you wanted, would you turn them down? I bet you wouldn’t…
He would know. He was Rick James, bitch! He also said that cocaine was one helluva drug which led to his eventual demise but hey, he was an awesome musician. That’s what I know him for.
I am in no way, shape, or form condoning what Tiger was doing when he wasn’t displaying his unparalleled level of play on the course. I understand that as a sports figure, he is in the public eye and should keep his nose clean. But alas, he didn’t and is now paying the price by being the media’s target of ridicule, but he has also owned up to his mistakes and trying to make amends with a public he need not try to appease on a personal level anyhow.
Regardless of the circumstances, you can bet your ass that I will have Anthony—now more interested in golf than he is in t-ball—study videos of Tiger’s swing and overall approach to the game so that he develops a better understanding of how to play like the golf professional that Tiger Woods truly is.
And that’s all he needs to know.