I am not a fan of golf. In fact, there are many aspects of golf that I find repulsive. If forced to play 18 holes I usually want to go home by the eighth hole and watching it on TV is literally like watching grass grow. That doesn't mean I can't appreciate greatness when I see it.
I didn't do much this weekend as I was still recovering from my nasty cold, and by Sunday morning I was pretty bored with playing video games. I felt like being more passive in my couch potato-ism. The F1 did the trick in the morning, but the afternoon's television slate was filled with a triumvirate of things I don't care for: golf, basketball and NASCAR.
There was something about knowing that Tiger Woods being five shots back of the leader at the Arnold Palmer Invitational that appealed to me, however. Much like I could stand to watch basketball when Michael Jordan's Bulls were playing, Tiger is a compelling story. There's something about watching greatness at work that is attractive. Throw in the fact that he was in only his third tournament coming back from reconstructive knee surgery and you had a ready-made Hollywood script. And, of course, he delivered.
The prey on which Tiger set his sights was Shawn O'Hair, a young kid with an already impressive three PGA wins. Poor guy looked like a deer in the headlights most of Sunday though, as he was paired with Tiger and had to try and calm his nerves as an 18 wheeler bore down on him. He was only able to do so on the back nine but by that time it was too late - Tiger had caught up. Nonetheless, it all came down to Tiger's last shot, a 15-foot birdie that was as much a foregone conclusion as a dozen people yelling "GET IN THE HOLE!!" as soon as his putter hit the ball (one of my pet peeves about watching golf). It was exciting - no, it was exhilarating. You'll probably never see me write those words to describe golf again. Then again, perhaps I'll tune in again next time Tiger is hunting down an opponent.
Viewing note: The NBC coverage was brilliant. For the first time I can remember I wasn't rolling my eyes every couple of minutes during the broadcasting of a golf event. The info was relevent, and the miking up of the caddies really helped the layman understand the strategy behind golf. NBC's shot tracker was also spectacular, reminding me of the video game version of the sport and highlighting the acute skill these guys possess. One last thing about the coverage that I appreciated was that the guys in the studios weren't whispering. Nothing drove me more bonkers in the past than knowing that two guys in a studio were trying to be quiet when they weren't anywhere near the action.