Watching the final holes of the US Open plus the post play interviews, I was struck by the difference in the Europeans who were interviewed and the Americans, specifically the number one player in the world, Tiger Woods. Frenchman Gregory Havret, in a consolation interview, was gracious and personable. He talked about playing well, about being let down by his putter in the closing holes but mostly he just talked. He described his experience at Pebble Beach and his thoughts on the course as well as his play on it.
Graeme McDowell, the winner from Northern Ireland, was equally talkative, discussing the course, thanking the greenskeeper and grounds crew and giving us an insight into what it was like for him to win the US Open. He was personable and friendly. Granted, he had just won the US Open but still, he treated the questions from Bob Costas seriously. He appeared genuinely happy to answer questions.
Contrast this all with Tiger Woods who answered a single interview question curtly and shortly, saying he would take nothing positive out of his performance and acting generally like a petulant child, not a man who just finished tied for fourth in this country’s greatest championship in the sport of his choosing after a long and protracted episode of marital infidelity and personal disaster. He has apparently learned nothing, still assuming that happiness only comes with a win. His interviews were never particularly enjoyable to listen to but one would hope that he had gained some perspective over the past months. Instead, he can’t hardly be bothered to honor the tradition of the championship, can say nothing good of the winner or potential winners at that point and answers a single question as if it was the dumbest thing he had ever heard.
I didn’t ever really have an opinion on his troubles over the past few months. I think he made a huge mistake but I had hoped that maybe it would help him gain perspective on life, open up as a human and maybe give back to some of the fans who clearly still honor him. Instead, he is as stony and withdrawn as always. It is too bad that the best player in the world can’t be bothered to honor and respect the tradition of the Open and its fans as well as his fellow competitors.