Passing feather-footed through the plashy fens of life, sniffing out curiosities, amusing trifles and scandals from the worlds of culture, politics, news and sport
Friday, April 09, 2010
The lying king
The US Masters golf tournament is more nature programme than sport. While most plant life in this country is still trying to work out whether the warmth of the past two days is the start of spring and an invitation to bloom or just a cruel hoax before another cold snap, switch on the BBC this weekend and you will see Augusta National in all its beautiful glory.
Nothing in the whole creation is as green as the greens at Augusta (as green as priests' socks are black for those who know their Father Ted) and the array of azaleas and camellias and pink dogwoods is as much a reason to watch as the strokeplay of the Phil Mickelsons and Lee Westwoods of this world.
Of course, the main nature activity at Augusta this week is Tiger-hunting, as Tiger Woods, the four-times Masters champion, returned from his four-month exile after being caught cheating on his wife with 14 or so other women, an activity that he was keen to emphasis in a confessional press conference on Monday was "not fun at all". Yeah, right.
Playing around, as opposed to playing a round, is believed to have cost Woods £25 million in assorted lost sponsorships, but one company that stayed loyal to him was Nike and they are making good on their investment this year with one of the most nauseating adverts ever broadcast.
It shows a pentinent Woods listening to the voice of his dead father, chastising him for his wrongs. It is supposed to suggest a new beginning for the fallen champ, but it is all too reminiscent of Obi Wan Kenobi speaking to Luke Skywalker or Simba being comforted by the shade of his father in The Lion King.
Woods has been inspired by his father in the past, of couse. Famously, he won the 2006 Open and US PGA in dominating fashion a few months after the death of his father, finishing one stroke off the record lowest score in the first and tying the record in the second.
I'm sure he will draw upon the example of his father and the strong Buddhist faith of his mother as he recovers from the set-back. But to exploit it in order to sell a few more golf shirts? That's almost as tacky as sleeping with a Nevada cocktail waitress.