Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Tiger Woods: World's Top Golfer, Leading Philanthropist, "List-worthy"

At the beginning of my junior year of college, my roomate and I, giddy with the prospects of living off campus for the first time, began to conceive the idea of a certain list. This list would include all people, famous or not, who we would love to have over to our luxurious, 250 square foot apartment to simply hang out, drink a couple brews, and shoot the shit. As an added catch, however, we needed to agree that there was at least some chance in hell that this person would feel comfortable lounging on our beer-stained couch, sweating in our non air-conditioned living room, and making sure to hold down the handle on our ancient, semi-functioning toilet.
As the semesters passed, this list, now referred to as simply "the list", began to grow at an impressive rate. From the famous (George Clooney) to the infamous (Bill Clinton) to the imaginary (Zach Morris from Saved by the Bell, but not Mark Paul Gosselaar), men and women both celebrity and not began to populate our list. Soon my roomate and I were like Elaine and her sponges on Seinfield, we continually asked ourselves if people we met at a bar or watched on Sportscenter were really "list-worthy". The reason I bring up the list and all the fond memories associated with it is that I feel the need to rectify what in my mind was an unforgivable error: Tiger Woods never was on that list. As much as I pleaded, begged, and even compromised; ("If we put Tiger on we can also put on Tim McGraw") my roomate, a Tiger afficionado but die-hard Mickelson fan, would not agree to put Tiger on the list. In my opinion, having a list of cool, laid back celebs who would feel at home in a $700 a month apartment drinking Miller High Lifes and watching re-runs of "Iron Chef" without Tiger Woods is as pointless as having a Cavaliers team photo without Lebron or a deli tray sans turkey.
It's not just that Tiger is perhaps the world's most dominating athlete in the world's most frustrating sport. (At least to me.) It's not just that Tiger is competitive enough to turn any intramural game into World War III, as evidenced by his promise that he'd kick Ed Bradley's ass in ping pong on 60 Minutes recently. It's that he is not afraid to let his fans see how he's feeling. Whether it's tears of joy after his first Masters win or tears of sadness discussing his ailing Dad, an impulsive swipe of the club as yet another drive sails towards the trees, or an impulsive (and hilariously botched) high five with his caddie after executing yet another shot other players wouldn't even consider attemping, Tiger Woods comes off as one of the most genuine, down-to-earth superstars of my lifetime.
Still not convinced that Tiger is the type of guy who, if God hadn't blessed him with talent, would still be out on the golf course constantly, although probably losing $10 in bets and spending $20 on beers at the turn while carding something in the mid 90's (i.e. like me) rather than winning tournaments? His recent print ads for American Express ask him to divulge what CD is in his CD player? His answer was something to the effect of "The new CD from my friends Hootie and the Blowfish." Tiger is friends with Hootie! Hootie! The same Hootie whose songs are perfect for drunken sing-alongs. The same Hootie who is a legend at South Carolina fraternity parties and spends his downtime "playing golf, shooting hoops, eating Big Macs and hanging out at malls." (Side note: Big Macs? Hootie, say it ain't so. You actually had me believing you were a Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch man.) Any man, famous or not, who's good enough to be friends with Hootie is good enough for the list. So Tiger, next time you make your way down to Williamsburg, VA, give me a ring if you're looking for a night full of cheap wagering, obscure movie references, used furniture, and the Champagne of Beers. Oh, and if you want to bring Elin, that's cool too.

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