Connecting The Links

I’m about to inject a bit of logic into sports discussion, and that’s always dangerous–but I find myself unable to resist the temptation.

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Tiger Woods: a sport unto himself?

Tiger Woods is back on the course, and there’s been a lot of heavy breathing in the various media outlets because of it. He made the cut yesterday, in a real-life, honest-to-goodness PGA event, which is fine and good. It’s right to hope that Woods can find some happiness in his chosen field, so to speak–though expectations that things will soon be just like 2005 are weirdly out of joint at this point.

But that’s not the point I want to make here. I come not to praise nor bash Woods; previous posts in this space have taken care of that. No, this is about the implications of all that heavy breathing–and the lack thereof during the past few years.

a DFR audible

Follow along with me:

Many in the media have been talking golf lately, because of Tiger’s latest comeback attempt. However, it is notable that those very same media members were not discussing golf, at all, during the times when Woods was keeping his head underground.

The implication of this is, Tiger Woods matters, and golf matters because of Tiger Woods. The further implications is that golf, sans Tiger Woods, does not matter. Apparently, the sport is so inherently inconsequential that if Woods is not participating in it, it does not register. Sort of a, “If a ball is hit with a driver, and it was not hit by Tiger Woods, does it make a sound? Or does it still have dimples? Or does that sand trap over there exist?” Golf without Tiger Woods, then, is meaningless in and of itself.

But wait: how did Tiger Woods gain prominence and meaning for these people? By playing golf. But golf, in and of itself (apparently), has no significance (based upon the attention–or lack thereof–directed towards it by certain people when there is no Tiger involved). Therefore, if Woods rose to prominence through success in something (golf) that does not matter…

…then why does Tiger Woods matter?

Yes, there’s a bit of exaggeration in this point. I’m not especially a golf fan, but I do believe it’s a meaningful and significant part of the sports world. Which is why, for the sports media to treat golf as only worthy of attention insofar as Woods is a participant in it, makes no sense, at best, and is disrespectful to the sport and the rest of the players at worst.

This is probably an example, most of all, of the fact that trying to view the world of sports, and our relationship to it, in terms of logic and reason is a recipe for madness. But it’s good to keep in mind: just because some of these reporters and commentators have a major platform for their expression does not mean what they’re saying really makes any sense. Caveat spectator.

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