You may remember a couple years ago when a Danish newspaper (not a newspaper made of dough and delicious filling but instead a newspaper published in Denmark) ran into a ton of shit when it posted a couple of cartoons that simply depicted the Prophet Muhammad. This depiction was considered blasphemous by many in the Muslim community (without getting into too much detail and because I don't really understand the entire story, apparently Muslims ain't cool with someone publishing their interpretation of what Muhammad looked like because it's disrespectful to Islam) and caused quite a stir amongst non-muslims who couldn't fathom getting upset about something so seemingly innocuous. The controversy led to death threats, worldwide protests and about 100 people being killed in the resulting chaos. Not that sweet. And all because people are offended that someone sketched a picture of an historical figure. It seems like a significant overreaction if you ask me, just don't tell anyone in Iran I said that. Anyhoo, after this week's "Poultergate" (trademark pending), I'm wondering if Tiger Woods has attained similar status with the American media in that if you say anything about him that even sniffs of a slight, you will be drawn and quartered and your family will have to enter witness protection.
This week England's Ian Poulter, a golfer much more well known for his fashion sense than his putting touch, touched off a frickin firestorm of media outrage after he did an interview with Golf World Magazin and said this:
"Don't get me wrong, I really respect every professional golfer, but I know I haven't played to my full potential and when that happens, it will be just me and Tiger."What exactly did he say here? To me, it seems he said that when he's on he can take on Tiger. And he hasn't been really "on" so far. I don't think that's completely unreasonable considering he's finished in the top 25 six times in the last 4 years and top 13 four times in the last 3 years. Hell, he even beat Tiger in the '06 US Open when Tiger missed the cut. He's presently the 22nd ranked player in the world. So it's not as though Poulter is some scrub. But from this seemingly benign statement, people who don't know shit about shit (see Stephen A. Smith and Tony Kornheiser) ripped the guy; all because he said he has a shot at winning a tournament and because he says at his best he is second best.
"The trouble is I don't rate anyone else," the 32-year-old Briton was quoted as saying in the March issue of the United Kingdom version of Golf World magazine.
"Don't get me wrong, I really respect every professional golfer, but I know I haven't played to my full potential and when that happens, it will be just me and Tiger."
So then today, Poulter had to backtrack from all of his statements claiming he was "misquoted" and taken out of context. The only thing wrong with Poulter's statements is that the media interpreted them to mean he was ripping Tiger (or the rest of the Tour). But in reality he didn't say a damn thing. If he's guilty of anything it's being a pussy and backtracking. But the bigger story is that this was any story at all.
For some reason whenever you talk about Tiger you have to qualify every statement by citing his immortality and that no one will ever have a chance against him. Only after paying these respects may we opine on the magnificence that is Tiger. Don't get me wrong here, Tiger is perhaps the most dominant athlete in the history of sports. He's also one of the most likable athletes in sports today. I understand why people feel inclined to protect him and defend his honor in the face of anything that resembles disrespect, but he's not above criticism and he's not beyond competition. He can be beat despite his greatness and it's fucking disgusting how indignant the media gets every time some golfer claims he's got a shot. The funniest part about all of this is that the same guys who kill the guys who say they have a shot at Woods are the one ripping Woods competition on the tour. According to these hacks, you can't rip Woods because he's so great but Woods is only great because his competition sucks. It's a bit of a pickle. And nothing is added to the conversation by those fucktards who won't let someone suggest want to step up and give it a go.
I guess I don't understand what's so fucking wrong about thinking you can win? Since when is it bad to be confident in your ability? Did you enjoy watching the final round of the Bob Hope? Shouldn't we want a foil for Tiger? Or are we just so enthralled with the awe that Tiger inspires that we can't handle the idea of someone believing they can take him down? I'm ready for someone who thinks they can.