Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

As Nauseating as His Apology Was, Part of Me Wants to See Tiger Win

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

As Nauseating as His Apology Was, Part of Me Wants to See Tiger Win

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Jones

HERE'S a fun game. It's called: 'You Are The Producer'. You, the bigshot Hollywood film exec, are making Tiger: The Movie. It's a touching biopic of the world's greatest golfer. Inevitably, it stars Jamie Foxx.

In this guaranteed Oscar winner, we are now at the start of Act Five. We have charted the rise of the prodigy. We have tasted the glory of 14 Major wins and we have lived through the agony of his knee injury.

We have witnessed the seeds of demise. We have shaken our heads when our hubristic hero bends first a six iron and then a nubile cocktail waitress over his knee. We have sympathised with Elin Nordegren (Naomi Watts) and enjoyed vicariously her righteous anger as she biffs her errant husband with a sand wedge. Allegedly.

And now we are at the denouement. Sunday, 11 April, 2010. You, the producer, must decide how this ends. You might choose this: Tiger lines up a 12-footer for the tournament on the final hole of an epic three-way tiebreak.

Watching as he shapes to putt are Phil Mickelson and Tiger's archrival and nemesis, Wayne Bridge. (Sorry, that storyline was left over from John Terry: The Musical).

Tiger putts. As the wee, dimpled ball teeters agonisingly on the lip of the hole, a flashback montage begins. Laughter. Tears. The spray of a busted hydrant. The wrath of a woman scorned. Denial. Rage. Acceptance.

Snap to: the ball sinks. The crowd roars. Tiger sinks to his knees. Elin (for it is her) gallops out from among the azaleas on a white horse, her blonde hair billowing outwards thanks to a handy wind machine. Forgiveness, redemption. Reconciled marital snogging. Sappy, spontaneous applause from the members. A fifth green jacket. Endnote: Tiger Woods went on to break Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 Majors. Roll the credits.

Of course, you could choose the Will Ferrell ending: a small dog runs onto the green and yanks Tiger's trousers around his ankles. He trips over, headbutts a caddie and knocks the ball into the hole with his teeth. But either way, same result. Victory. Salvation. There's only one ending a blockbuster audience will pay to see. Tiger Woods: back on the pantheon.

Is it totally fatuous to liken Woods's comeback to Hollywood stereotype? No. Like it or not, we live in an age in which sport is meta-narrative.

Drama in sport is no longer limited simply to the momentary tension of the crucial spot-kick, or the miraculous putt. It is about the hero's journey. We drink their travails. We urge them to fail, to recover, to lose the world in order to win it back again. Before his fall, Woods was not a great sporting hero. Before November last year Tiger was boring. Boooooring. Too neat, too clean, too sponsor friendly. Too robotic, too focused, too professional. Too controlling. Too controlled. …

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