Lost For Words With Woods

When I was working full-time in newspapers, one of the greatest creative challenges facing my sports desk colleagues and myself was how to deal with sporting dominance.

How do you choose words for an individual or team who are brilliant one day and even better the next? Michael Jordan was already a “legend” after three NBA titles. Then he comes out of retirement and wins another three. So we try to find other words, though we are mostly unsuccessful and trudged out the same cliches.

Same with Michael Schumacher, Liverpool (going back many years), Manchester United, Lance Armstrong, Roger Federer and others.

The superlatives for Tiger Woods, though, probably rankle more than any other athlete or team. Editors and writers I’m sure have been stuck for words for a long time, and face many more years of trying to accurately and appropriately relate his success using adjectives and lyrical descriptions.

The Tour Championship is not a major tournament, but Woods’ victory earned him the kind of plaudits reserved for events of such prestige.

Not only did he win with majesty but he earned $10 million, to be kept in a fund for the next 14 years, for triumphing in the inaugural FedEx Cup Play-Off series on top of the $1.29 million for winning.

Having been eclipsed by Phil Mickelson in the Deutsch Bank Championship, Woods bounced back and won the BMW Championship the next week. And then he made sure no-one came close as he won the Tour Championship in Atlanta by eight strokes.

He closed with a 66 to finish at 23-under-par 257 to break the tournament record by six shots and leave Masters winner Zach Johnson and Mark Calcavecchia trailing in joint second place. Woods said on the PGA Tour website:

“You play, and when you play, you play to win, period. That’s how my dad raised me. If you win, everything will take care of itself. You take great pride in what you do on the golf course, and when you’re able to win events, that’s when you can go home and be very proud of what you’ve done.”

It was Woods’ fourth victory in five starts and the 61st title of his career, just short of Arnold Palmer’s total.

Woods made an understatement when he said his career has exceeded expectations. And it is likely to continue doing so. It doesn’t make the job of word-starved sports journalists any easier.

2 Responses to “Lost For Words With Woods”

  1. Ed Phillips says:

    Tiger Woods is notorious for being a non-tipper. It’s on at least 20 websites. Imagine someone worth $600 million who won’t tip a car valet or a waitress one dime for taking care of him. As to his “charity” he diverted $37 million to it in 2005 and paid out less than $2 million to his “kids.” So, in exchange for the $13.1 million in tax savings he spent only $1.92 million on his foundation. That is not charity, that is tax avoidance.

  2. Ted Exley says:

    Tiger Woods will end up being the richest Sportsman of all time, because, if the Fed Ex Cup stays with the same condition as to the huge 14 year investment fund, he will win it year after year for the foreseeable future and he could have at least $450 million in a maturity account before he reaches 40 years of age.

    Taking into account that he has already won more than $70 million and gets at leat $30 million per year in endorsements and attraction fees, he is likely to be a billionaire before he reaches 50 years of age. He probably is worth $200 milllion already…..Beat that!!

    I believe that he will pack up golf when he gets to be 40 and then he will run for US President….and he will probably be the first to have three consecutive terms in office. By this time his children will be playing like he does now and there will be a whole dynasty of WOODS ruling both the American Golf and Politics scene.

    I wonder if he could find me a job as his PR or Security man…I would not ask for more than $1 million per year..

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