Woods is different than Muhammad Ali. A lot of people loved Ali when he was at the top of his skills. But a lot of people hated him. Changing his name from Cassius Clay to refusing to serve in the military didn't sit well with a bunch of folks.
Woods is different than Michael Jordan. Who didn't love watching Jordan go to the hoop with two ticks on the clock at the end of a close game? But you know and I know that there were NBA fans who wished there was a White guy who could match up with Jordan.
Woods is clearly different than Barack Obama. I have heard people sneer about the President once having gone by the name "Barry." I have never heard a single person mock Tiger for not going by his birth name "Eldrick."
Ok. I wouldn't go by Eldrick, either. Nor would William Blake have written his famous poem about an Eldrick:
Eldrick, Eldrick burning bright,
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Even in 1794, that probably wouldn't have made it through his editor: "Ah, Bill? This "Eldrick, Eldrick" poem you sent over? I just don't think it's for us. Maybe you can punch it up a little. You know, add a little something about "sinews of thy heart." And you wrote that verse about a "dread hand" and "dread feet" a couple of weeks ago. Maybe you can work that in. And, I know you're touchy about my asking this Bill, but just what is an "Eldrick" anyway? We think this might work if you wrote it about a tiger, instead.
Luv ya, baby, Morty
Two excellent quotes I read over the weekend about this whole thing: The first was from a former NBA player, "Why are we treating Tiger like he's elected to public office? He plays golf, man."
The second was from a man who knows a little something about playing golf. Jack Nicklaus said simply, "It's none of my business."
Jack's right. It just doesn't matter.