The column on Tiger Woods abusing both his clubs and the ears of people near him at the British Open got more reaction than any column I've written at ESPN. Opinion was mixed, but never vague.
I got this firsthand working for NBC Sports. What an ass he was to me! He deliberately told the bluest stories, F-bombing by each step ... I finally told his security: "If at the sixth tee I hear another F-bomb or hooker story out of his potty mouth, I am going to scream during his tee shot at the next hole." I never heard another rotten peep out of him. Steve Williams earns every penny. I would be embarrassed to be his wife and kids. But I have had wonderful days working on golf, because the crews are some of the best in the businesses of sports broadcasting, and many of the players are warm and kind, even while they play at the highest level in golf.
-- Susan Chrysler, Xenia, Ohio
What if that is what makes him great? I play at a club and have witnessed good players having horrible days -- yet when they melt down and throw clubs around, I've seen their game come around, too. I know for me if I quietly seethe, I suck. Maybe that's how he cleanses his mind. I kind of like knowing that this super-human isn't.
-- Tom Beck (Campbell, Calif.)
As the recipient of the business end of a thrown putter (head-first into my ribs from 30 feet and still knocked me down), I can attest to the absolute idiocy of that kind of behavior. I am a huge fan of Tiger, but his bad temper has always been a disappointment to me. It has to do with having class, and that comes with proper perspective. He has it in all other public endeavors. I am sure he will figure this out and maybe it won't take a multi-million dollar damage suit for him to do it.
-- R. Ready (Napa, Calif.)
From the golf equipment world, I want to say thanks for saying what we see every week.
-- Jay Johnson (Greensboro, Ga.)
You will never change certain things about certain people. Tiger might be a tad spoiled. Sure, no one has ever, since Earl, had the "cojones" to tell him what's what. That being said, this is Tiger. His drive comes from his fire. He expects perfection, and when he doesn't achieve it, he has one of his mini-explosions. Is it OK? Probably not. But this is who he is. Like it or not, he wears his emotions front and center.
-- Stuart Davis (Palm Desert, Calif.)
Someone really needs to bring up the idea of a "Curse Jar" for Tiger. Every individual curse word (aloud or under his breath) while golfing costs Tiger $100. Banging a club on the ground costs $250, throwing a club costs $500, etc. At the end of every month he could write a check to some charity for that amount. I think he'd hit $50K a month and realize just how much he does swear. That might help him rein it in all on his own.
-- Mike (Fort Worth, Texas)
Give it a rest, Rick. One day we hear that "Tiger doesn't have enough personality," the next we chide him for showing emotions. True golfers appreciate a player who doesn't giggle and say "oops" after a foozled shot. It means you care -- it actually means you respect the game. If it didn't matter, if it didn't drive you crazy, it wouldn't be golf -- even for Tiger.
-- Adam (Philadelphia)
[My] only disagreement is calling him the world's "most beloved athlete." Not in this household of golfers. We would rather watch anyone but Tiger play and we would rather see anyone win but Tiger. His lack of respect for the GENTLEMEN who have preceded him as well as for the game's honor overshadows his abilities.
-- LFern (Shelby, N.C.)
See all of Rick Reilly's The One E-mail That Wasn't Insulting
More random mind dumps from the brain of Rick Reilly. Go fish!
Be sure to check out Rick's Life of Reilly