I’m a huge Tiger Woods fan. That’s why it pains me that he continues to do damage to his once-nearly-pristine image.
Having recently reclaimed his sport’s ranking as World No. 1 – as the Euros put it – Tiger flew this week to Augusta, Georgia as the favorite to win the Masters.
He acquitted himself rather well the tourney’s first two days, save for a mishap yesterday on the 15th hole. He hit an approach shot to the green that, as bad luck would have it, ricocheted off the flag pole and careened into the creek.
After taking a “drop” – which entailed a one stroke penalty – Tiger hit his next shot on the green, sank the putt and rocked on to the next hole. As it turns out, the world’s most famous golfer made an improper drop, for which he should have been penalized another two strokes.
Tiger signed his scorecard without including the two penalty strokes and left the golf course. This morning he learned of his error, which meant he signed his Friday scorecard incorrectly.
In every case I’ve ever heard, a golfer who signs an incorrect scorecard in tournament play is disqualified. Yet, the green jacketed powers-that-be at Augusta National somehow found a way not to disqualify Tiger.
And even though I had looked forward this weekend to seeing whether my favorite golfer could win the fifth Master’s championship of his career, I think Augusta’s green jackets made the absolute wrong decision.
Nevertheless, the Bible advises “that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
I believe the Almighty, in His infinite grace, gave Tiger an opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of many of those who have not gotten past his serial adultery with who knows how many harlots, which defiled his marriage and left a lasting scar upon his faithful wife, the mother of his two beautiful children.
Oh, how I hoped that Tiger would say that, even though Augusta’s powers-that-be had not disqualified him for his rule-breaking – had tempted him with preferential treatment – he had decided to disqualify himself. Even though doing so would cost him the Masters.
But Tiger did not enter today through the narrow gate, of which the Word of God speaks. He chose the wide gate, the broad way that leads to destruction.
In 2010, Tiger delivered a mea culpa in which he told a national television audience, “I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior.” He promised “to be a better man.” And he confided he was returning to the Buddhist faith of his youth, which his Thai mother instilled in him.
Well, the events of today suggest that Tiger is not the better man he promised to be. And I am persuaded he will remain a lost soul until, hopefully, he comes to Jesus.
For when a man is in Christ, he is a new creature. The old things are passed away. All things become new.