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The lives of others

February 4, 2010

I was glancing at the BBC golf website the other day, when a headline caught my eye. The story turned out to be a report of comments made by Tom Watson, who took it upon himself to remark  that when he returns to the PGA tour, Tiger Woods needs to show ‘a bit of humility’. He also took the opportunity to put the boot in over aspects of his on-course behaviour.

Now Tiger’s been a bad boy in the domestic front, no doubt about that, and it showed on his last few appearances on Tour, by his sometimes explosive reactions to bad shots. However these are separate issues, and it’s unfortunate that Watson chose to cover them in the same outburst. No, it’s unfortunate that he chose to cover them at all.

I don’t recall old Tom showing too much humility in 1997, when he divorced his wife of 25 years. I don’t recall Tiger Woods or any other pro golfer choosing to comment on that. And I don’t recall too much humble regret shortly afterwards, when the wife of another pro golfer left her husband for him. But why should he have spoken about it? No reason at all, because these were not professional issues  . . . although Dennis Watson, the second Mrs Watson’s first Mr Watson,  might not agree. As for Tiger’s on-course behaviour, that’s a matter for the Tour Commissioner . . . I don’t recall Tom being elected to that office . . . but since the guy lives his professional life no more than twenty feet away from a live microphone, I have a degree of sympathy for him.

Like many men of my generation, I was sorry when Watson just failed to win the Open last summer. I’ve changed my mind about that.

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