And then there’s Tiger Woods.
As he squeezed out all he could from his golf clubs over the last 14 years before this one, Tiger looked like he had solved the impossible riddle. He played golf as if he was involved in some form of physical violence while conquering all of its mathematical problems. We scratched our heads and wondered how any man could be this good.
This year gave us the answer. His talent was the same. His desire was the same. The difference was in his focus, which will never be the same. You see, his focus was never his alone but the collective will of everyone who watched him and held him in awe and believed he could do what no one else could do. What no one else had ever done. He borrowed from his audience, gluttonously, and together they produced a bubble. From that bubble came a gauge of perfection from which all dimensions were to be judged. It is gone. What is left is a man who wants to put beauty above originality. What is left is a man with enough talent and desire to look unchanged, but without unequaled focus they are like a match and rough surface that never meet.
Woods’ off-course troubles and the issues they brought up are long since dead but all dead things leave something behind: decomposing matter. The smell of that matter has replaced the awe. In a year that started like a blast from Gabriel's horn and ended like cold grease in a pan, I was reminded that somewhere between jealousy and compassion is parity, and it was in full bloom this year.