We suddenly are rooting against Tiger Woods. Hard.
Rooting this weekend for his drives to find the deepest fairway bunkers. For his putts to be blown off line. For his caddie — oh, Lord, please — to tumble into the Scottish sea.
We want Woods to pay, even after we’ve read the reports claiming a divorce could cost him $700 million.
Before Woods revealed himself to be a miserable husband and worse father figure, we rooted for him because Woods playing well was the better story.
Golf is infinitely more interesting when its top player — and we mean of all-time — is within pouncing distance of the lead.
We’re sure Alejandro Canizares and Martin Kaymer are terrific players and probably generous individuals. Yet, we’d struggle working up the urge to witness either of them closing fast on a Sunday.
But everything has changed now and not because of the crimes Woods committed against the institutions of marriage and parenting.
What’s left us feeling burned is the fact Woods basically has gotten away with it. And quickly. The financial losses aside, he’s pretty much back to where he was just eight short months ago.
He’s right back on course, literally this weekend, back on one of the most famous courses in the world competing for one of the most coveted trophies in sports.
As for those financial losses, Woods is but one victory away from regaining so much of his ridiculous earning potential. And, even as he grinds away trying to rediscover his game, does anyone really think he won’t eventually start winning again?
Admittedly, this is an emotional reaction and not based on logic. After all, what’s Woods supposed to do, banish himself from his sport? The PGA Tour and similar governing bodies aren’t going to touch him because they don’t have the dimples to do so.
Woods wasn’t convicted of a serious crime, only cited for a minor traffic violation. Careless driving. A fine of $164.
Yet, you can’t put a dollar sign on the audacity it took for him to live his double life. He wanted it both ways, made it happen both ways, got caught making it happen both ways and still skipped away from the smoldering wreckage whistling and smiling.
Woods put himself above all the rest of us. He was laughably irresponsible, committed only to his own base desires and obligated to nothing of substance.
And yet, he’s right back to performing before a largely adoring public, slamming clubs and cursing aloud, facing little more resistance than a few pointed media questions he won’t answer anyway.
Sadly, Woods’ return has reminded us that the people don’t care. Entertainment again triumphs over something more meaningful.
So we’re suddenly left wishing ill on Woods, someone who, eight months ago, stoked little passion within us.
We aren’t saying he should be pelted with boos or something worse. We aren’t suggesting that someone attempt to take a divot out of his backside.
It’s just that there should be greater price to pay — some greater price — than the one with all the commas and zeros in it.
By his actions, Woods has invited a lifetime’s worth of bad karma on himself and his game, golf’s gods not known for their understanding. Maybe that’s all we’re rooting for, a little payback in the form of on-course torture.
We’d love to see it because it feels deserved. It feels justified.