AUGUSTA, Ga. – It’s so hard these days to root against Tiger Woods on the golf course, and much too easy to sneer at the man every time he walks off it.
There he was again Friday, magically knocking in a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 13 and burying a 15-footer on No. 15 after a bad-luck chip shot hit the front end of a sprinkler.
Impossible stuff. Genius. At times he made Augusta National retreat in panic, before our eyes.
But then Woods was done with his round, and after considerable debate, his handlers finally sent him into the interview room.
Once there, Woods was a bungler, playing clumsily to the media’s strength – a sense of history. As writers groaned to themselves, Tiger compared his comeback after a four-month layoff to that of Ben Hogan, who in 1949 threw himself in front of his wife inside their car to save her from a head-on collision with a Greyhound bus.
“It’s very similar to what Hogan went through coming off the accident,” Woods said. “He couldn’t play that much, and when you can’t play, you have to concentrate on your practice.”
Woods’ SUV mishap, of course, was very different, even if both were driving Caddies. Tiger struck a fire hydrant in front of a neighbor’s house under circumstances we will never fully know, because he won’t tell us.