Straight No Chaser: Eldrick and Obama

By Desi Cortez
Updated: February 1, 2008

DENVER – Evidently Tiger’s not familiar with exactly how very much the internet, satellite TV and personal cell phones have shrunk the global jungle. They span the globe, to yes, all four corners.

The Big cat had to have thought — not a soul stateside was within earshot of him when, while in Bejing, China that is, he offered up perhaps one his most noteworthy statements pertaining to the conversations being held at the Big folk’s tables back here at home…

Asked for his views on Senator Barack Obama, Woods replied: “I’ve seen him speak. He’s extremely articulate, very thoughtful…”

Not very deep, nor telling. Kinda sounds like Senator Joe Biden — but I’ll take it.

Perhaps, based on the positive reaction Tiger see’s Obama generating, he senses — it is safe to at least acknowledge the former Harvard grad is well-spoken. Maybe next time, Tiger might feel comfortable stating he shares ground with some of the political, social and economical positions held by Obama.

I’m not going to pull any punches…. It appears this Tiger is very calculating, he went on to wash his paws of any real connection or commitment to Obama by uttering this neutral point; “I’m just impressed at how well, basically all politicians really do, how well they think on their feet. Especially those debates; It’s pretty phenomenal to see them get their point across.”

Mr. Woods didn’t want anyone to get it twisted wrong. Obama is — but one, of many politicians who are clever, not the only one nor the best at it. No recommendation from this sly fox, opp’s, Tiger.

Woods went on to say, “But I just think that he’s really inspired a bunch of people in our country and we’ll see what happens down the road.”

Here’s what’s disappointing to me; We don’t hear a peep from this cat about Obama, till he’s on the other side of the planet. You think that’s by happenstance? Coincidence maybe?

But what’s more mystifying to me, Tiger’s not inspired, he’s not apart of the bunch who’re moved by Obama, or for that matter, Hillary. He ought to be. Why?

Because this young man owes his career to the political and social movements – still in progress….. he could lend his name, the fame, but he’s not inclined nor interested?

Now, if Tiger’s for McCain or Huckabee, than, that explains it all.

This is where I’m baffled, when sports writers and fans babble-on about Tiger not having an obligation to take a political position, let-alone speak out about race and class conflicts in this nation.

I welcome this nonsense.

Mr. Woods is certainly obligated to stand up and speak out. He’s beholding to those who made it possible for him to step onto the course and make history, make millions.

It’s a part of the Job description for a international icon. A basic responsibility for a sports hero. Be apart of the peoples movement, the people you are from, the people who will love you if you, god forbid, pull an OJ… Black folks will provide you with a island, even if blood is dripping from your favorite club…

The whole irony and poetic justice to his mere being, his existence within the game of golf, is that it is draped in color and class. Tiger’s dominating, redefining a game once reserved for European elites and American Aristocrats.

His accomplishments — in the vein of Jackie Robinson and Arthur Ashe. Tiger forced people on both sides to admit, golf was not just for white dudes, rich White dudes…

Tiger is bigger than just Tiger. Every time he puts on that green jacket in Augusta, it’s a middle finger to all who denied Afro-Americans, Asians, and American Indians access to the links.

Those who stood behind the cock-a-mamie caucasian company-line people of color didn’t have the mental tools or physical abilities to play the sport (if you want to call it a sport ).

Tiger’s success, regardless of how he personally views it, is a symbolic slap in the face of the country club blue-bloods’ who cringe at the thought of the un-washed masses this magnet attracts to the game.

The everyday Fred and Barney’s tee-ing it off. The Black Bubbies who’ve found peace-of-mind on the course, traded the hoops and rock for….golf. It use to be, a white guy knew he could escape integration, progress, by going to hit the ball for a couple of hours….

Golf was one of the last bastions of the elitist, sexist, and yes racist white male. Golf exemplified exclusion, a game, played on the other side of the glass ceiling. It seemed Tiger got that when he held his pops tight after that initial victoty at the Masters.

It looked like he got it back then with his dad. Horrifically might it be — Tiger’s conscious, his connection to a quarter of the blood which travels his body left him when his father passed?

Tiger, even if he doesn’t get it — is the culmination and embodiment of sacrifices and more untold forgotten defiant acts than his Stanford education has yet to open his eyes to…

Sorry, my father didn’t say a damn thing about not stepping on peoples feelings, we’re all grown folks here…

No, Woods doesn’t have to be politically aware. He’s not required to give a damn about the war in Iraq, the economic depression all us little people are mired in. The Housing market, the job market, access to health care.

He just ought to. His foundations, that’s beautiful, but the you know what is about to hit the fan. Taking a stand, making a serious statement, lending his name and fame, risking his name and fame, that’s what a real renaissance man would do.

Such depth and broader interest outside of his lively-hood would truly make him someone you’d want your son to grow up to be, your daughter to marry. The role model he’s held up as..

Forgive me, but clearly I’m idealistic, and believe Tiger, in an effort to stay grounded ought to know the price of bread, the price for a gallon of milk or gas, a sick of butter.

It would, in my humble guesstamation an illustration of character, a desire to not drift off into unconscientious, out-of-touch celebrity-hood. It would reflect what I hope is an officer and gentleman, aware of the ills and woes of the rank and file – who laid the road for him to ride in on.

His holding his tongue until he’s on the other side of the Great Wall, that’s quite revealing .

Even though I didn’t know Arthur Ashe, Tiger woods is sure in the …. no Arthur Ashe, and that’s a tragedy, a waste of an opportunity to bring about measured change in a nation desperately in need of change.