By Snyper on 4/12/10
Matt Snyder is an opinionated* golf enthusiast from Pennsylvania. He coaches at the high school level, molding the minds and swings of our next generation. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions of Matt in the comments. Don't hold back- because Matt won't.

After spending much of the weekend watching and following the Masters, I could not have been more pleased with its conclusion. Phil Mickelson followed up his incredible stretch of eagles and birdies on the back nine Saturday with an impressive bogey-free round on Sunday to win by a comfortable three-shot margin. There may not have been a lot of drama on Sunday’s last few holes, but the moments we were all waiting for after the round created enough suspense to keep me glued to the television long after the final putt was made. Seeing Phil share his success with his wife Amy and their children was emotional enough to soften even the hardest of hearts.

So, first of all, I’d like to say congratulations to Phil on managing to perform at his best in the face of all the personal challenges that he and his family are experiencing. It is every man’s desire to provide for himself and, more importantly, his family. Phil’s performance at the Masters this week provided to his wife and daughters joy, celebration, and tears of pleasure during a time of much pain. Those provisions far outweigh any level of fiscal prosperity. Phil Mickelson, congratulations on a job well done.

Now, let’s talk about Tiger Woods for a few seconds, only because we have to. Could this guy possibly be a bigger jerk now than he was before his scandal was exposed? In the weeks prior to the Masters, he made numerous comments to the media suggesting that he is going to change his ways on and off the golf course. In fact, he even stated that his actions would show us all that he is sorry for his previous behavior. Well, he didn’t look too sorry to me! It was the same old Tiger. He was tossing clubs, cursing, and showing his rage and disgust without any attempts to disguise his displeasure. And then, in his interview after the final round, he stated that people are making too big of a deal out of the way that he acts! I almost fell out of my chair! He went on to talk about how poorly he was playing as if to excuse his actions with his bad shots. “I wasn’t playing well. So, I’m not going to be happy.” Well, thank you Captain Obvious! Newsflash Tiger, it doesn’t take much effort to control your anger when you are playing well. Respecting the game and being a role model for kids is all about how you act when you are not playing well. It’s about showing people that hitting a bad golf shot isn’t the end of the world and isn’t reason enough to disrespect the game. He, obviously, still does not get the message.

In his mind, it is still all about Tiger Woods. In fact, I think he’s gotten worse. At least before, he would actually offer a word of congratulations to the winner. If you bothered to listen to the interviews that he gave after the round, he never once congratulated Phil or suggested anything positive about the way Phil was playing. Of all the times to say, “I struggled today, but Phil is playing great and he deserves something positive with all that he’s going through.” This was a perfect chance for Tiger to show that he has a heart and can care about the well being of other people. But, no. Tiger would rather ramble on about how terrible he played and how disappointing a fourth place finish is to him. The game has never seen this level of arrogance and, frankly, it’s an absolute embarrassment.

Thankfully, there are still some guys out there who aren’t so conceited. On the other end of the spectrum, if you listened to Lee Westwood, you heard the voice of a man who respects the game of golf, as well as his competitors. Westwood has been numerous times the bride’s maid, but has yet to be the bride. Hmmm, I wonder if that’s frustrating? But yet, he had very few negative things to say about himself and several words of encouragement to Phil and his family. Likewise, Fred Couples spoke positively about how much he enjoyed his week at Augusta despite the fact that he let a chance to write his name in the history books slip away with a poor final round. I don’t know, because I’ve never been there, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that he was pretty frustrated that he couldn’t cease the moment on Sunday. But, in his interview, he didn’t go on and on about how he couldn’t hit a good shot to save his life. He said things like “I struggled a little bit today, but I had a lot of fun this week.” Fred Couples is and always was a class act. He is a great ambassador for the sport and he is someone that Tiger should watch and listen to in order to gain some perspective on what it looks and sounds like to be a positive role model.

Lastly, I would like to follow up on my post from last week. I pleaded with the television media to cover the Masters and not just Tiger Woods. While I was not pleased with the build up and numerous flashbacks that aired during play, I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of other golfers that were shown actually playing golf. Sure, we rarely missed any shot or tap in by Tiger, but at least we were not forced to watch him walk down the fairway while other guys were hitting great golf shots. The biggest downside for me was with the commentating. Every other sentence was somehow related to Tiger, especially during the first two rounds. That was pretty annoying, but I will say that it got a little better on the weekend. So, I guess a “thank you” to ESPN and CBS is in order for their decent job of covering this excellent 2010 version of the Masters. It was an action packed week with several new story lines each day. For all the fans of golf and of what the sport stands for, the last four days could not have been much more rewarding. The Masters was able to overcome the circus that was the return of Tiger Woods and still represented the game and its players in the most positive of lights.

* Matt's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of oobgolf.

photo source

[ comments ]
sepfeiff says:
Tiger is a double edge sword, everyone on tour makes more money when he plays...so I know everyone wants him to play well even if they don't like him. To be honest I don't care for his behavior either. I hope for his friends and family he figures it all out and becomes as much a gentleman as he is an athlete. Oh ~ and the grace of game list is incomplete if Tom Watson isn't on there! :P
GolfGeek69 says:
I have always liked Fred and Phil even when Tiger took the spotlight. I was a Tiger fan, but that has passed away with finding out who he really is. I get tired of hearing Tiger is good for the "Money". Golf is one of the last sports in my mind that should not allow money to be the driving factor. Golf has always been based on tradition, honer, honesty, sportmanship and being a gentleman or lady. Tiger falls very short to say the least. I wish him all the best and hope he grows up one day, but he is surely the most self centered, selfish and egotistical golfer that has ever existed. Phil Mickelson is everything good and right with Golf and I think he is more than deserving of his accomplishments. I was going to buy a framed picture of last years FedEx cup with Phil and Tiger holding up their trophies, but I just couldn't bring myself to have a picture of Tiger on my wall. Money is great, but let's not give up the true nature of golf for the wrong green.
Kurt the Knife says:
now that was a vindictive peice of crap.
falcon50driver says:
It's all true, face it.
Matt F says:
Kurt, only if you can't see the other golfers for tiger.

phj84770 says:
Phil & Amy: America's Couple. Tiger; this is the way it's supposed to be.
golfray says:
Matt: Great article, I agree with it all. Couldn't help but tell you though. The phrase you were looking for was "Couples hoped to SEIZE the moment" not "CEASE the moment" meaning he'd like to hold on to and keep the great moment.
tedkendrick says:
Phil, Lee and Fred are what the game of golf needs. I'd be happy if Tiger rode off into the sunset and we never hear from him again. I used to root for him, but soon got tired of his antics. I wanted him to break every record. I was really rooting for him again after his Monday press conference before the Masters because he finally seemed to get it. Then he starting doing what Tiger does best...throwing tantrums and being a jerk. His post-tournament interview sealed the deal for me. I hope he never wins another tournament until he changes his ways.
Snyper says:
Thanks ray, definitely a typo! @redbird, it's nice to hear that even a one-time Tiger fan see's him for what he is. I've always been a skeptic, so my views can sometimes be biased.
Swingem says:
First of all, Good on ya Phil & Amy, and Lee and Fred and KJ etc. The 2010 season has been great without TW, but I was willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. No more! Golf made TW, TW does not make golf. This game holds itself to a higher standard then other pro sports. TW should have done the same while he had the chance, now he should just go away.
Nathaniel Hickman says:
I am happy for Phil he is a great golfer, but Tiger woods is the number 1 player in the world and if he gets a little extra coverage on TV he has earned it with his play over the last 14 years. Is there any thing else to be said!!!
scottccherry says:
I've always like Tiger as well (or at least, watching him play), and anti-phil, but come Sunday, and a little bit of Saturday, I definitely found myself rooting for Lefty. He, above all else, simply deserved to win that tournament. He was the only guy in the field who put together 4 solid rounds of golf. As for Tiger, I still enjoy watching him play, and I do hope he continues to win and set records, but I don't feel like I'm pulling for him as much anymore. While I don't need to look up to him for how to act on and off the course, he needs to realize and respect the power he has over how young golfers act. And for that, he needs to take some time off and start respecting his wife, his children, fellow competitors, and the game.
jjeya says:
Tiger is not a man of excuses when it comes to playing golf..Nor did he try to please the people by saying a few words about Phil on Sunday evening..After all this is not the tournament for fair play..It was a tournament for a green Jacket..That's what he came for...Nothing wrong in him being honest about that...
Neo says:
Seize. You seize a moment.
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