It wasn’t so much that Tiger Woods didn’t win the Masters Golf Tournament on Sunday. It’s that wholesomeness did.
I was at the gym when coverage of the Masters was wrapping up on TV. When watching TV on mute (or close to mute), the images can speak to the viewer more than when the sound is turned up. At the gym, I was watching pictures and video of this year’s winner, Phil Mickelson, hugging his wife, Amy, who is battling cancer. (Mickelson’s mother also has cancer.) For someone who doesn’t follow golf and wouldn’t have been able to point out Mickelson if he passed me on the street, I was touched sitting there in the gym resting between my sets.
It was great video for the folks at the Masters and CBS, who broadcasted the event. The warm, fuzzy moment was great TV. After all the speculation about how Tiger might perform because of the scandal and the scandal itself looming over coverage of the tournament, it was a guy with a backstory that pulls at the heartstrings who won the weekend.
It would’ve been odd if Tiger won. The win would’ve been great for his career and a step towards the comeback of his image. A win is a win. In light of the sex scandal, though, Woods would’ve looked like an ass if he celebrated exuberantly with his trademark fist-pumping. His wife Elin wasn’t at the tournament. Even if she were, I don’t think there would have been a warm embrace.
All of this, of course, has little to do with actually playing golf. But how viewers feel about winners can impact how they feel about a sport. On Sunday, the golf world could put the scandal behind them – maybe even let out a sigh of relief – and have a feel-good moment.
..until Tiger plays again.