The emotion in watching Tiger's video

By Mercer BaggsJune 1, 2017, 1:45 pm

If there’s a lasting image of Tiger Woods, one, at least, you want to be a lasting image, it’s of him smiling. A big smile, full of big teeth. Dimples raised and eyes engaged.

Not that image. The mussed hair. The lifeless stare. Shame and sobriety slowly overcoming whatever had overwhelmed him.

And not that image. The one of him nearly falling while trying to tie his shoe on the hood of a police car. Or the one of him wavering like a barely tethered and tattered flag. Or the one of him unable to comprehend basic instructions, staggering like a punch-drunk former champion, barefoot because he never could get those shoes tied.

We have to get that video up ASAP.

That’s understood. Not everyone will agree, but clicking on a link or pressing play is done by choice. It’s not a forced action. Protesting and apathy can sometimes be one in the same. It’s OK not to look.

This, however, is news. And we are a news outlet.

So why, then, did posting this feel like putting down Lennie?

Just watching the many clips felt soulless. Exploitive. Regretful. Yes, you might have asked to see it, but when you did … that sickness in your stomach. It can’t be unseen.

There’s something about bearing witness that words and descriptions can never equal. You can speak and speak and speak about anything and everything, be as eloquent as Martin Luther King or as bombastic as Don King, but a solitary image can change a million perspectives. A moving one, complemented with agonizing audio, can be even more impactful.

The eyes are the window to the soul. The Bard gets credit for that one. But he meant it observationally. It’s more than that. What a person sees can shake them, wake them, break them.

Seeing Tiger Woods placed in handcuffs … you stand there watching, inches from a large-screen TV. The shoulders immediately slump. Your body, unknowingly rigid and tense, deflates.

Son of a bitch, you think. I can’t believe I feel this bad for this guy, you think.

Why? Because he’s a hero? No. Because of who he is? Not really. Because of what he used to be able to do? Yes. Because he’s a father? Certainly.

Imagine your children’s eyes, fixated on that image: one of you, hands behind your back, two officers on each side. Your son or daughter or both watching the person they adore and idolize, sing-songing the alphabet – “X, Y aaannnd Z.”

Of course they will forgive you. And that, above all, means the most. But it’s there. And they’ve seen it. And they will be forever reminded of it, as will you.

Damn the public life.

Would you want it? Nearly 10 figures in wealth to give up all privacy outside of your house? Sounds like an easy trade. But one misstep and …

People lament that today there is no middle ground. You stand for one side or you stand against it. It’s long been that way in relation to Tiger: You’re an apologist or a hater.

It’s easy not to like him. It’s easy to love him.

But, regardless of side, if you can watch that video and laugh … damn.

Years from now, when someone says “Tiger Woods,” wonder what you will see? Hugging Earl off the 18th at Augusta in ’97. Exalted at the U.S. Open in ’08? Disoriented in the dashcam video of ’17?

It’s all relevant and all Tiger.

But, if you haven't already, take a moment. Watch a clip of that most recent video.

It’s all his doing, you might say. There is no doubt. But don’t you feel it? Sympathy? Maybe, even, empathy? Like you just want to put an arm around him, walking out of custody, and tell him, we’ll get through this.

Maybe that’s a sap talking. A father talking. Maybe you’re harder than that. But if you can watch that and not feel, at least, pity, then where does your window lead to?

Tiger could emerge from this stronger than ever. Or, broken forever. Hopefully, it’s the former. Because if he does, that may be his indelible image.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.

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Rose: T-2 finish renewed my love of The Open

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 9:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose made the cut on the number at The Open and was out for an early Saturday morning stroll at Carnoustie when, all of a sudden, he started putting together one great shot after another.

There was no pressure. No one had expected anything from someone so far off the lead. Yet Rose shot 30 on the final nine holes to turn in 7-under 64, the lowest round of the championship. By day’s end he was five shots behind a trio of leaders that included Jordan Spieth.

Rose followed the 64 with a Sunday 69 to tie for second place, two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. His 133 total over the weekend was the lowest by a shot, and for a moment he thought he had a chance to hoist the claret jug, until Molinari put on a ball-striking clinic down the stretch with birdies on 14 and 18.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I just think having made the cut number, it’s a great effort to be relevant on the leaderboard on Sunday,” said Rose, who collected his third-career runner-up in a major. He’s also finished 12th or better in all three majors this year.

In the final round, Rose was well off the pace until his second shot on the par-5 14th hole hit the pin. He had a tap-in eagle to move to 5 under. Birdie at the last moved him to 6 under and made him the clubhouse leader for a few moments.

“It just proves to me that I can play well in this tournament, that I can win The Open,” Rose said. “When I’m in the hunt, I enjoy it. I play my best golf. I don’t back away.

“That was a real positive for me, and it renewed the love of The Open for me.”