Leading Off

Our eyes should be on Jordan Spieth, not Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods plays a practice round Sunday ahead of the British Open.
Tiger Woods plays a practice round Sunday ahead of the British Open. The Associated Press

What is it about our fascination with Tiger Woods?

Why do we continue to care so much about a 39-year-old golfer ranked 241st in the world entering the British Open?

Why do we care about a golfer with a bad back and wrecked knees, whose best rounds on the course these days mean he stayed healthy and played well enough to make the cut, and got to stick around for Sunday brunch and mimosas.

Why do we care if his relationship with Olympian Lindsey Vonn is over, or that he’s now linked to a scandalous affair with the ex-wife of a fellow PGA golfer, when he’s not withdrawing from tournaments or failing to make the cut?

Perhaps that’s it. As a nation of freeway rubberneckers, we simply can’t avert our eyes from the train wreck that Woods’ personal life and professional career have become.

Instead, we should be fixated on the greatness of Jordan Spieth, the 21-year-old who could win golf’s Grand Slam with victories at the British Open this weekend and the PGA Championship in August.

If he looks like Tiger and sounds like Tiger, by golly we expect him to play like Tiger.

But as Americans, we’re waiting for that great comeback. We long to see Woods wearing that Cardinal red sweater on Sunday afternoon again, sinking a birdie from 15 feet and pumping his fist to a roaring gallery. We want to see him taking confident, deliberate strides up that fairway – as if stalking his opponents – instead of taking uncertain steps toward his next double bogey.

If he looks like Tiger and sounds like Tiger, by golly we expect him to play like Tiger.

But not everybody is fascinated by Woods. Many people can’t stand the sight of him on TV, dominating coverage and conversation when the younger generation of Spieth and Rory McIlory deserves the brighter spotlight.

Still, many of us choose to watch and wait for Woods’ return. We’ve become Linus van Pelt – the Peanuts character – sitting in a pumpkin patch on Halloween night, waiting for The Great Pumpkin who may never show.

Victor Contreras, (916) 326-5527, @sacbeevictor

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