First published 26/03/2012
People often talk about how the underdog winning is what is great about sport. That someone, or some team, can win when you would believe it impossible is one of the main attractions for the sports fan. I do not see it this way. I still remember the domination of Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Michael Schumacher in the early part of this century and I long for the status quo to be restored – well maybe not Schumacher, there was always something unlikeable about him. Woods winning, for the first time in 30 months, though brought me great comfort indeed.
I am of the opinion that individual sport is at it’s best when you see the finest talents pushing it to it’s limits. Unlike some people I know, when I see someone master a sport I am rarely bored. In fact I would go so far to say that when I see it, it soothes me. When I see Tiger Woods playing at his brilliant best I feel like I know much more about golf than when he does not.
Of course the main focus of Woods’s victory at Bay Hill will be that it his first tour victory since his personal problems that became so public. I still think the media were far too harsh on him: a man should not have to apologise to the public for his private mistakes. In the three years since I have been on his side hoping for his joy to return when clearly he has been so troubled.
Woods is just part of the bigger picture when it comes to sporting domination though. I need to witness individuals excelling so I can see the sport differently. I like the idea of there being iconic figures from each decade that I can remember fondly. And Woods is one such figure that I will always back over a less talented underdog. Indeed, as soon as I knew he had won I had to find the clips of the victory on Youtube just to witness his victory first hand.
I do know though that sport has to change. Federer has been eclipsed by Nadal and Djokovic in recent years and Michael Schumacher’s return to F1 has not been a success, but I am not ready to move on yet. Indeed when I see these people struggle, who once found winning so easy, I suddenly feel so old and realise my chance at a sporting career has passed.
I know Rory McIlroy or some other young pretender will probably dominate just as Woods used to. But if Woods can win The Masters in a couple of weeks time, I think we can all feel younger again.