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Who thinks Tiger choked? Raise your hand ...

I got a little overwhelmed by SCD projects the earlier part of this week and didn’t get to read all the PGA Tournament coverage that I wanted to, but I did get a chuckle out of items relayed to me by colleagues to the effect that Tiger had somehow choked in losing to Y.E. Yang last Sunday.

Supposedly some of the online commentariat had offered the choking observation, proving once again the egalitarian nature of cyberspace in providing virtually unlimited access has the drawback of giving parking space to a lot of clunkers better left in the junkyard.

It’s not that Tiger’s necessarily incapable of choking, but rather an observation that this wasn’t the occasion. I am not sure we’ll ever bear witness to that particular spectacle in his case, but just as in the case of pornography, we may have difficulty describing what the definition entails, but we generally will know it when we see it. This wasn’t it.

Tiger missed a half-dozen putts by a whisper, which happens to even the non-mortals on the pro tour. It’s one of the big reasons why in the prehistoric days of the PGA, say 1996 BT or so (Before Tiger), someone different seemed to win on tour just about every week. It was a profound indication of the parity that existed at the time that the champion would typically be determined by the guy who parlayed a great four rounds with the needed good fortune (i.e. putts dropping in) to push him into the winner’s circle.

It is symptomatic of how great Tiger is that we hold him to such ridiculous standards that would scare the bejesus out of lesser men, which is to say the rest of the touring pros.

As you may suspect, I am a Tiger fan and I regard the chance to watch all this as something truly historic. I was only briefly dismayed by this loss, then quickly got on board the happy train with most everybody else when I realized what a boost the Yang win would provide for the tour, both here and abroad.

I came to this Zen-like understanding when I reminded myself that for me at least, the anointing of Tiger as the greatest golfer who ever lived is already a done deal. I suppose it’s even possible he might not win that 19th major to push past Jack, though it’s a little grim to ponder the circumstances that would usher in that story line.

So I figure the unexpected, non-choking upset loss to Yang only delays the inevitable by a few months or even a year or so. Upon arriving at this enlightened plateau, I promptly started to cheer Mr. Yang’s accomplishment.

And I stand at the ready to perform the Heimlich maneuver on Tiger’s behalf should it ever become necessary. But no one will be more surprised than me if that day ever comes.


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