Tiger vs Shark – Sport

Tiger vs Shark – Sport

A golf cart said Tiger Woods, is not an option. When the 46-year-old entered the small press stage in the Bahamas on Tuesday afternoon, you could see that the best golfer of all time still has physical problems: when sitting down, but especially when getting up. “I can hit the ball and take any shot, but I can’t walk,” Woods said. It was the rationale for not competing in Thursday’s Hero World Challenge, just watching.

He continues to be a competitive player, Woods said. But he has to come to terms with the new realities after the aftermath of his car accident in February 2021, which shattered his knee. So: selected tournament starts and fewer public appearances. However, part of the strategy is not to play tournaments in the future without walking across the course himself: he, the great Tiger Woods, will not sit in a golf cart at regular tournaments and will get out from time to time to hit the ball.

The stance on the golf cart is a prime example of how Woods sees his sport: a dignified, athletic competition in which his only concern is victory, won fairly. And that’s why it’s also obvious why Woods has a lasting problem with the LIV tour, the tournament series financed by Saudi Arabia, which has distributed hundreds of millions of players since the spring, who are then supposed to play invitational tournaments.

“I moved to a tour where I can make a lot of money, but I haven’t won any tournaments that are of value or put me in the Hall of Fame” – that’s the phrase that all the LIV players say, according to Woods could say at some point looking back on their careers. For him it is therefore completely incomprehensible how one could spend his time on the Saudi tour.

The rare press conferences with Woods are now reminiscent of the US President’s “State of the Union” speech

On the podium in Albany, Woods had long since returned to the role he was in golf should play from now on when he is no longer on the pitch week in and week out. The rare press conferences with him have long since taken on a special position in sport, reminiscent of the US President’s “State of the Union” speech. It’s about more than Woods’ health, it’s about his view of the golf world that he helped create – and from which he would particularly like to exclude one character.

“I think Greg has to go,” Woods said. His words were aimed squarely at Greg Norman, 67, CEO of the LIV Tour and the ultimate villain in the traditional golfing community’s perspective. The two quarreling parties – the PGA Tour on the one hand and the Saudi Tour on the other – find themselves in a complex situation of sports law and media disputes, which – at least from Wood’s point of view – would be easier to solve if Norman than head of the organization would take his hat off. On Tuesday, Woods did not want to outline what exactly a compromise could look like. But the message alone was valuable: there could be a meeting when Norman left and LIV’s claims in the courts were dropped.

A week ago, Woods’ close friend and business partner, world number one Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland, had already chosen similar words towards Norman – but with the Americans they still have a historical note: Woods is working on dismantling a player he has never suffered before could.

Woods’ hometown club The Medalist in Florida was founded by Norman, both live in the same neighborhood

In the 1990s, Norman, a handsome, blond Australian with a furious golf game, an oversized sun hat and the trademark nickname “The Shark” was the best golfer in the world – until a barely-grown Californian replaced him . Woods was ranked number one in the world in 1997 and dominated the sport in the years that followed, in part because he surrounded himself with the people who previously made Norman great, like coach Butch Harmon and caddy Steve Williams. The only thing he didn’t want to have anything to do with was the Australian himself, not as a young player and not later in his career. There would have been plenty of opportunities: Norman founded Woods’ hometown club The Medalist in Florida and they both live in the same neighborhood.

“We like a lot of similar things,” Norman told golf journalist Michael Bamberger in 2020: “Diving, boating, life on Jupiter Island, golf. From my point of view, it would be easy to have a relationship with him.” He used to write him congratulatory cards after victories, but never received an answer. When Woods played a benefit round at Norman’s Medalist Club with Phil Mickelson and football quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in May 2020, he would have liked to invite the four athletes to a barbecue. The meeting never took place.

Woods’ antipathy to Norman stems from issues of style and propriety – disciplines in which the not always politically correct Norman and Woods differed – above all because the Australian has always challenged the traditional golf ecosystem and done his own thing wanted to. Unlike Woods, who wanted the very system that had given him the opportunity to succeed to thrive. When the Saudis then agreed to back Norman’s plan for a rival tour with their oil billions, Norman saw a unique opportunity.

In return, he was excluded from the community, which was always critical of him anyway. When the past winners were honored at the 150th British Open in July, Norman was not invited – although he had won once. Woods and McIlroy are now the two spokesmen who want to publicly saw off the CEO of the enemy organization, who, however, will probably not simply resign of his own accord. It is also unclear whether the two really speak for all PGA Tour players – and whether their words will achieve anything at all. Because whether Norman continues to determine the LIV course is decided solely by his financiers in Saudi Arabia.

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