'One small step for Tiger, one giant leap for golf'

November 09, 2009

Among Tiger Woods' more impressive career feats has been exceeding the hype, but he'll be hard pressed to do so this week in Melbourne, Australia. Woods is there to play in the Australian Masters.

The Australian columnist Patrick Smith poked fun at the media hype in this column, headlined: "Messiah descends into feeding frenzy."

"The reaction [to Woods' arrival] it must be said was childish and so fevered that normally sensible people lost the plot," Smith wrote. "Helicopters chopped above Essendon Airport, TV cameras covered this angle, that angle. Print journalists jotted down his every move. Even moves he might have made but didn't.

"When he set his left foot on the tarmac, the world's greatest golfer said: 'This is one small step for Tiger, one giant leap for golf'. Or apparently words to that effect. Tiger's entourage is apparently colour-coded to make it easier to control them. It was noted who went into the different-coloured cars. Even the luggage van was described to radio listeners.

"Compared to Tiger's welcome, the likes of the Pope and the Queen slip in and out of Australia anonymously. Even when it's not even Tiger's first coming, second coming, third coming but his fourth."

Indeed, Australian news outlets had photos of Woods descending the steps of his private plane, though there was no ready carpet there for him.

Suffice it to say, he'd better play well, lest the overzealous media determine he hadn't earned his $3 million appearance fee.

-- John Strege