“He should be disqualified!”
“Why isn’t he going to withdraw?”
“This forever stains the game of golf!”
“This forever stains his legacy, even if he gets 19 majors!”
“See how they have preferential treatment for stars?!”
These are all variations of tweets and discussion boards I read today based on the controversial ruling by The Masters committee about assessing Tiger Woods a two-stroke penalty for an illegal drop but no disqualification from the tournament. Everyone is all up in arms over this, that the committee is “bending over backwards” for Woods because he is the number one player in the world and because of ratings, but I disagree. Indeed, if you read the letter of the law, there is now a rule in the books (that they cited in their explanation) dealing with just this type of circumstance without a disqualification. The only reason this is all such a big deal and everyone is so outraged is because they think Tiger is getting preferential treatment. But the rule is there for everyone. Tiger just happens to be the first one to benefit from it. You can say what you will, but sports change their rules. Remember before video replay became a part of football, and all the “missed calls” that would occur? How about before people got time in the penalty box for violations in hockey, before the idea of the power play? How did that change the game when the new idea came on the scene?
If Joe Schmo had done the same thing that Woods did, the same would have applied to him, but we wouldn’t be talking about it today because he’s Joe Schmo, and he’s not held up to the same type of scrutiny as someone like Tiger Woods. And we sit on our couches with our remotes in hand, judging, like we always do. Just like we sat and judged Michael Phelps for what he did in his private life, and like we judged Michael Jackson for not fitting our paradigm for who we thought he should be, without any evidence to prove that he did anything at all. As a society, we tend to judge from afar. We aren’t privy to every little detail but we feel we should be, and we yell and scream about it… because we can. See what social media has done to us? And I will admit that I love the good things about social media, the positive attributes, but I cannot stand the fact that it also becomes a platform for people to judge others. We all have our opinions, but don’t vilify someone else for having one that is different from yours. It doesn’t make it any more or less valid than yours. Good discussion is fine, but all the shouting, screaming, and judgmental attitudes should check themselves at the opening screen.
That being said, I am excited to watch Tiger Woods play his round today, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he didn’t talk to the media after it.