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Tiger Woods Is A Very Strange Chap Judging By The Stories Told This Week

Tiger Woods Is A Very Strange Chap Judging By The Stories Told This Week

Tiger Woods was always a little different. The most dominant golfer the world has ever seen. Woods brought golf into the new era, and he became one of the most marketable sportspeople in the world.

But there were always murmurings that he was a bit odd. He always seemed a bit terse with the media, and didn't seem to have many friends. Woods simply didn't look like he was enjoying golf like everyone else - he was just driven to win.

Wright Thompson of ESPN wrote a 12,000 word epic about how Tiger Woods' life derailed after the death of his father, Earl. There isn't a better way to spend 10-15 minutes of your day, it's a fascinating read. The piece details Woods relationship with his father, how that impacted on him both before and after Earl's passing - and how it's ultimately the reason for his dramatic fall from grace.

In it, there are several stories of a Tiger Woods that seems so at odds with normality. It paints a Tiger who was always struggling with fame, and how to act. Tiger never really had any friends growing up, interacting mostly with his Dad - and it appears that it shaped him.

Tiger's Dad was a former navy seal, and following his Dad's passing - Tiger became obsessed with them. He visited Seal bases, trained with them as much as he could, and at one point nearly quit golf to join the navy. While Tiger was skydiving with the seals, and making friends with them - a huge number of them were very underwhelmed by Tiger the person. There were several strange stories from Thompson's piece that highlight this strangeness.

For example, one SEAL named Marshall asked Tiger for an autograph, which lead to a long drive contest:

Marshall got his golf clubs at one point and asked Tiger to sign his TaylorMade bag. Tiger refused, sheepishly, saying he couldn't sign a competing brand. So Marshall challenged him to a driving contest for the signature. Both Marshall and Brown confirmed what happened next: Tiger grinned and agreed. Some other guys gathered around a raised area overlooking the shooting range. Marshall went first and hit a solid drive, around 260 or 270 yards. Tiger looked at him and teed up a ball, gripping the TaylorMade driver.

Then he got down on his knees.

He swung the club like a baseball bat and crushed one out past Marshall's drive.

Apparently Tiger just started laughing after that. After refusing an autograph and then essentially mocking a navy SEAL. That takes some balls, or some huge ignorance that a seal would think it's ok to embarrass him after refusing a simple request.

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Tiger's treatment of the SEAL's is a little bizarre, almost taking them for granted. In the article, it's related that Woods kept saying that he would have been a SEAL if not for golf - and joined in some of their activities. Apparently this didn't go down well with the recruits - who seemed baffled that Woods only did the 'fun' things like shooting and parachuting, and not "soaking for hours in hypothermic waters, so covered in sand and grit that the skin simply grinds away."

The story that captures the relationship between Woods and the SEALs comes when he joined a group of the in a restaurant that has become legendary amongst all SEALs:

 

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Then there's the story of the lunch, which spread throughout the Naval Special Warfare community. Guys still tell it, almost a decade later. Tiger and a group of five or six went to a diner in La Posta. The waitress brought the check and the table went silent, according to two people there that day. Nobody said anything and neither did Tiger, and the other guys sort of looked at one another.

Finally one of the SEALs said, "Separate checks, please."

The waitress walked away.

"We are all baffled," says one SEAL, a veteran of numerous combat deployments. "We are sitting there with Tiger f---ing Woods, who probably makes more than all of us combined in a day. He's shooting our ammo, taking our time. He's a weird f---ing guy. That's weird s---. Something's wrong with you."

Tiger's ultimate demise came after his womanising, which naturally takes up a significant portion of Thompson's longform. Tiger took after his father's fondness for women after his death - but it wasn't as simple as detailed in the tabloids. Woods was searching for someone to replace the closeness he had with his father, and searched for it in porn stars. The shy awkward kid who didn't have any friends didn't know who to turn to.

In fact, so shy and awkward was Woods as he was breaking out in the world of golf in the late 90's, that one story with New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter and Michael Jordan stands out. It stands out because of how perverse it seems knowing everything that has happened to Woods since this night would have happened:

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The sexual bravado hid his awkwardness around women. One night he went to a club in New York with Derek Jeter and Michael Jordan. Jeter and Jordan circulated, talking with ease to one beautiful woman after another. (Both declined to comment about the episode.) At one point, Tiger walked up to them and asked the question that lives in the heart of every junior high boy and nearly every grown man too.

"What do you do to talk to girls?"

Jeter and Jordan looked at each other, then back at Tiger, sort of stunned.

Go tell 'em you're Tiger Woods, they said.

Make sure you read the full article when you get a chance. It's definitely worth it.

[ESPN]

See Also: A Tiger Woods Sighting Sparks Rumours Of His Return Despite Unsettling Michael Jordan Warning

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