Tiger at Contrition Pines: A Shot-by-Shot Analysis of Hole Number One..

“First, Mr. President, let me just say what an honor it is to be in the booth with you today!”

“Right back atcha, Governor! As you know, Hillary and I have spent a lot of quality time in South Carolina. It’s a great state to visit, and a lot of that is because of you!”

“Well, Bill–can I call you Bill?”

“You betcha! Can I call you Mark?”

“I’d be honored if you did. So, while Tiger is still warming up on the driving range, let’s begin with an overview of the hole and the conditions. Doesn’t look like the weather will be a factor. The background is blue, and the prevailing wind seems to be with the golfer.”

“You’re right, Mark. And I don’t think the gallery will be a problem either. One thing we all know about Tiger Woods is that he brings a whole new category of fans onto the course and into the club house.”

“If you know what I mean, huh Bill?”

“You’re killing me, Mark. But seriously, this gallery doesn’t look like it could have been more congenial if he picked them himself.”

“But what about the hole itself, Bill? What will Tiger have to do to get in and out successfully?”

“Well, as you know, they have deliberately built Contrition Pines to make the golfer work for a solid round. You start low at the first tee, then there is a series of elevations pretty much all the way to the turn. You have to be patient and remember that if you are steady, you will end end up at much higher vantage point than where you started.”

“Yeah, as I recall from when I played it, if you try to just bang your way through the early holes, you are in for a long day. Another thing to think about is that on the first fairway there are only three traps–”

“–you’re referring of course to the infamous “wire services”–

–“right, and they are spaced out far apart on this whole and almost never give the player any trouble.”

“Hey, I think I see him coming up the path. Looks like this round is gonna get under way.”

“Any predictions on how he will tee off?”

“If it was me, I would stick my finger in the air to see which way the wind was blowing, and if it was blowing right, I would rare back and let ‘er fly.”

“He’s coming up to the tee  . . . looking out over the fairway . . . pointing his feet toward his mom and his gay friend from Stanford. Does that mean he’s going to play it safe?”

“We’ll just have to see.”

[Many of you are my friends . . . know me . . . have cheered for me . . . worked with me . . .  or you supported me.]

“Wow! I’ surprised! Rather than swing away with his driver, he has taken out his 2 iron, and it looks like he’s just going to lay it out into familiar territory in the fat center of the fairway.”

[I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I have engaged in.]

“Yep! Nice easy, conventional drive.  Little grammatical twist of the wrist on the follow through, but it doesn’t appear to have influenced the shot.”

[Elin and I have started the process of discussing the damage caused by my behavior]

“See, now this is the part of the hole where the rough comes in from the sides and swallows up the safe route to the green. Right Bill?”

“Yeah, now see that’s where I would have played differently off the tee. I still say, rare back and blast it. They all know what ya did, and they know your wive is pissed. Believe me, they know–”

“–Oh, I believe you–”

“–so just drive right over that part of the fairway and don’t even worry about linin’ up that shot.”

“Apparently Tiger thinks it gives him a more controllable use of his short irons. He might not have thought one short pitch would be enough.”

“We’ll see.”

[However, what we say to each other will remain between the two of us.]

“Holy crap! I think . . .  I think . . . Arrgghh!”

“You’re right, Bill! You were right! He has shanked it into the left side trap!”

“This is bad!”

“For those of you out there who aren’t familiar with the game, when the ball lands deep in a sand trap, like this one has, the golfer loses almost all of his ability to control both the speed and the spin of his approach.”

“And on an uphill hole like this one, spin is the most important factor. By sacrificing that, he has lost a lot of leverage over how this hole will play out! This is bad!”

“Yes, it is. We will just have to see if he can recover.”

[I am also aware of the pain my behavior has caused those of you in this room . . . fans . . . friends . . . employees . . . business partners . . . foundation . . . the young students . . . I have bitterly disappointed all of you.]

“Oh, no.”


“He couldn’t have hit it flatter out of the trap.”

“Right you are, Mark. I hate to say it about a golfer of Tiger’s status, but that was almost an amateur shot.”

“It was like he had trouble reading the lie, even though he has had days to study it.”

“Yeah, he kept looking up and down all the way through the back swing and the delivery.”

“He almost punched it right into that little mound of lookin-up-to-me kids that he should have cleared like they weren’t even there.”

“He’s laying three and still has a long way to go to the pin. Let’s see of he can recover.”

[For all that I have done, I am so sorry.]

“Wow! Did you see that?”

“That’s the old Tiger! That was the shot we were looking for! He looked up. He swung with confidence, and he nailed it!  It’s still a tough in for par, but for a player of Tiger’s calibre it’s doable!”

“Bam! You said it. That shot, right there, might let him save this hole.”

“As he approaches the green, what can you tell our audience about how it reads today, Bill?”

“The green looks a little slow. It takes concentration, commitment, and I would say a certain amount of conservatism. This kind of green can wreak havoc on a player who tries to get too tricky with his putter.”

“Getting tricky with your putter. That’s something both of us know a little about, isn’t it, Bill?”

“Amen, brother. Amen.”

[Elin never hit me that night or any other night. There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage, ever! Elin has shown enormous grace and poise throughout this ordeal. Elin Deserves praise, not blame . . . I am the only person to blame.]

“What a great putt! It has the distance! It looks like he might get the break!”

[I felt I was entitled . . . thanks to money and fame I didn’t have far–I didn’t have to go far to find them.]

“No! No!”

“This is terrible!”

“It broke low! He was headed right for the cup, but just that little stutter broke it away!”

“His par is gone! All he can hope for now is to recover from the gaffe, get the easy tip-in, take the bogey and move on to the next hole.”

“Let’s hope for all of our sakes that he can.”

“Well, that’s Contrition Pines for ya. There’s not one sure stroke on this course.”

[Some people have said things that never happened .  . . They staked out my mom.]

“He muffed it again!”

“This is unbelievable. Where did that come from? He was inches from the hole and he macked it two feet past! What’s going through his mind?!”

“It’s like he was already looking ahead to the next hole. Tiger, get your head in the game! Don’t try to get it back all at once! Finish one, then go tee it up again.”

“I hate to be a defeatist, but this is getting hard to watch.”

[People probably don’t realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist?]

“Are you fuc@kin’ kiddin’ me?! Raised a Buddhist?! Why not just hit the putt with yer ball retriever?! Get off the damn hole!”

“Take it easy, Bill.”

“You take it easy, Mr. Appalachia Trail! I didn’t see you gettin’ impeached! I didn’t see you runnin’ up $5 million in legal fees! All this guy had to do was say he was sorry and move on to two. Now he’s lookin’ at at least a quadruple bogey! Buddhism? His only link to Buddhism was he screwed around like he had four hands!”

“I think you might me confusing Buddha with Lord Ganesh, the Hindu Remover of Obstacles.”

“I’ll remove your obstacles!”

“Let’s stay focused. He’s getting ready to putt again.”

“Alright. Sorry.”

“Me too.”

[Finally, there are many people in this room and many people at home who believed in me . . . I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again. Thank you.]

“Finally. I should say finally. It’s in!”

“Yeah, you’d have to say that hole could have gone better, but al least he is back out on the course.”

“And we’ve all seen other players who don’t have nearly Tiger’s game come back from worse.”

“Well, Bill. You ready wander over to the second tee?”

“Is there a cart? Can we get a cart?”

“A cart?”

“Hey, I just had a heart attack!”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah . . . .”


About bigshotprof

College Professor in the Communication Studies department at Pace University. My personal life fall somewhere in the gap between less than you want to know and more than you need to know.
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