I'm The Only Person In America Who Keeps It Real
By Jeff Falconio
I need to make my annual mid-June disclaimer: I do not hate Tiger Woods. I'm not a Tiger Hater, I'm a Tiger Realist. Without ever having to watch a final round of any PGA tournament, I can tell exactly how it ended based on the number of text messages I receive. If it's none, that means Tiger lost. If my BlackBerry blows up like it did yesterday, it means Tiger did something amazing. Yet I'm the one labeled as a hater.
Tiger is the best on tour, no doubt about it. Once again Woods left a memorable impression and all anyone can say today (other than contributing to the next chapter of the never-ending Favre drama) is how Tiger looks unstoppable heading into next week's U.S. Open. Yep, he's got that killer instinct back. He's unbeatable. The U.S. Open is really about who's playing for second.
But you're about to read something you won't read anywhere else: that's exactly what everyone said after the Arnold Palmer Invitational back in March. Everyone said the knee injury was behind him and he's rounding into perfect form just in time for the Masters. How did he do? Did he win? Let me check my text history for the number of messages I received that day.
The point is: let's just wait and see. If Tiger wins it, he'll deserve it, but let's not be so quick to just hand it to him. It's still the U.S. Open and it's one of the hardest challenges in all of sports. To win it, you need to be accurate off the tee and sharp on the greens, two things Woods has struggled at throughout his career.
So let's just wait and see. As he proved over the weekend, he tends to win tournaments played at courses suited to his game and Tiger won the U.S. Open when it was last held at Bethpage back in 2002. He's the favorite but that doesn't guarantee anything. That's not hating, that's just keeping it real.