I figured I should watch Tiger play today, at least for a little bit. I lasted one shot.
Littles, Official Caps Beat Writer Tarik El-Bashir and I met Tiger and his 817 best friends between the 9th green and the 10th tee. Great rivers of polo-shirt-wearing humanities flowed toward us. It was like being at Farragut North around 5:14, except without all the quaint charm and bright orange upholstery.
The river turned into some sort of glacier, and we were stopped well, well short of the 10th tee, because there was no more room for additional humans. After that, at least 50 or 60 humans pushed past us. A golf cart was stranded in the middle of the mess, like a helpless police cruiser in the middle of one of those Ohio State celebratory riots. The poor security people were left picking at the fringes, for example, asking one nice gentleman to kindly remove himself from the Congressional flower bed. A father-son team decided to stand on the metal barriers for a better look; as the barrier rickety-racketed in various directions, I saw a soccer riot in my future. Tiger teed off, and his 809 best friends yelled their heads off, and then we left, off to find the exciting tale of Cliff Kresge.
Here's the thing: Cliff Kresge navigated majestic Congressional in 69 shots. Tiger needed 73. Sure, on average, I suppose Tiger is most likely a better golfer than Cliff Kresge, all things being equal. But on a day-to-day, tee-to-tee basis the difference is so slim. Cliff Kresge is waaaaaay better than you or me. Tiger is waaaaaaay better. From the tee, as they smash their drives, they both seem from a different planet, and it's impossible to tell exactly how amazing they are anyhow. So if offered the chance to join a dozen or so people following Cliff Kresge, or 817 people following Tiger--and truthfully, that number is probably low--I don't see where there's really a choice.
On my way out today, I passed the practice green. Tiger was putting. There were still literally hundreds of people watching. Exponentially more than had joined me and Mike Garchik as we watched Charley Hoffman shoot a 71 this morning, two shots better than Tiger. When Tiger hit three straight putts from maybe 10 feet, he got an ovation from the crowd.
I just don't get it. People flock to, say, Gilbert Arenas because he takes off his shirt for them, and then says he's going to buy an island in Tahiti. Why do people flock to Tiger Woods to stand eight-deep on a humid July day while he shoots 3 over par? Why don't these people do the only wise, the only sensible thing tomorrow morning. Instead of being one more lemming following Tiger, join the Cliff Kresge bandwagon. Trust me, the view's great, the breeze smells of peaches and Chardonnay and there's plenty of room for others.