Tiger Woods should have withdrawn

The depth of love in the marriage between the Masters and CBS is unquestioned. The depth of influence the tournament might have on its broadcast partners, especially its on-air stars, is unknown.

Sadly, Woods four-putted his big chance.

He is a golfing treasure, either the best or second-best of all time. He also has a yet-unrepaired public relations problem. When he made a mess of his marriage in the worst public way back in 2009, he polarized a huge fan base.

Interestingly, his first best opportunity to begin fixing that, for an era of sports fans that are both worshiping and forgiving, was at the 2010 Masters. He needed to smile more, embrace the public more, stress personal humanity more than professional titles. We got none of that. The snarling intensity of win-at-all-costs, accented by thrown clubs and cursed bad shots, remained his persona.

Slowly, as he has come back to the golfing greatness that defines him, he has shown signs of caring about repairing that image.

That made a voluntary withdrawal by Woods here a two-foot putt.

Cite the same "integrity" of the place that Ridley did. Point out that, at 37, he still has plenty of time for major titles, but few chances to do the right thing, for golf, sport and sportsmanship. Acknowledge the example of so many of his peers, who have called penalties on themselves and "slammed the trunk," who have put the bigger picture first.

Sunday, the same day Woods walks the fairways of Augusta National with impenetrable focus on winning yet another Masters title, will be Roberto De Vicenzo's 90th birthday. De Vicenzo once lost a Masters title, after he had won it on the course, for signing an incorrect scorecard.

De Vicenzo failed only in math, Woods in judgment.




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