I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that 33 out of 35 minutes of Tiger’s press conference in Augusta today was about his personal life and not about golf. Afterall, this is the country where Pamela Anderson is more watched than Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet.
I had high hopes that handpicked golf reporters would keep the personal questions to a minimum and focus on golf. I mean, this is the return of the era’s greatest golfer after a layoff of 4 months. I can think of million questions I would like to have Tiger answer about his game, getting ready, preparing for competition and what comes next after the Masters. Based on the press conference I don’t really know anymore about any of that than I did yesterday.
I did see a few interesting things during the event. Yes, Tiger is a more humble person. You also got the feeling you were seeing Tiger the person and not Tiger the corporation. Like Anthony Kim, Tiger says he’s much more aware of how blessed he has been to be a professional golfer and how important we, the fans, are to the game in general and to him in particular. Don’t discount what that same attitude has done for Kim. He was a joy to watch in Houston last week.
He said more than once that winning is not the most important thing now. Rather, it’s how he can use golf to better the common good. The cynics will say it’s just good marketing, but I got the sense he was speaking from some new place that he’s found. Through therapy, he really appears to have stripped away some of the shallow layers of his psyche crafted by fame and fortune.
I don’t expect Tiger to win at Augusta, but as always you risk being made to look foolish if you bet against him. I do expect to see him amaze us during the course of the season.