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The award for “Best Supporting Actor” goes to…

by Britt Chester

While I am not an avid consumer of golf, I must admit that it was quite intriguing watching Tiger Woods amass a vast crowd of onlookers as he knocked a dimpled ball around a green-saturated landscape at the Wyndham Championship this past weekend. Although he didn’t win, and many were perhaps hoping for that conclusion, it was still exciting.

It was so exciting that 34,000 people decided to come out and watch.

I was one of those 34,000 on Sunday trapped in the crowd following Tiger around the course, and if there is one thing I can take away from that experience, it’s that following the person you think is a star is a sweaty endeavor that leaves you disappointed “¦ and slightly concerned about the psyche of the other players that have to listen to the crowd murmurs when Tiger misses a shot, or the raucous applause when he sinks even the most basic putt.

Scott Brown was Tiger’s partner on the final day at the Wyndham. I don’t know Scott Brown and I’ve never seen him on the highlight reel of Sportscenter on ESPN, but I know about him now because he played with Tiger. I also know about him now because he handled the pressure of Tiger’s crowd like a boss: Scott Brown sank a hole-in-one on the 174-yard par three third hole. I was walking up on the tee box when I heard the eruption from the crowd, and immediately assumed Tiger did something spectacular, like maybe he accidentally hit the ball into the crowd and hit a pregnant lady right in the belly and out popped her baby right there on the fairway. That didn’t happen (Tiger did hit it into the crowd a couple times on the final day, but to my knowledge he didn’t hit any pregnant women and no babies were actually born at the golf tournament), but it was my assumption.

Tiger’s role in the golf world seems to have dwindled ever since his wife found out he was cheating on her with random girls around the country.

That seems to have been the catalyst for his downfall, although there are probably some golf-analysts out there that saw the writing on the wall. Perhaps they noticed a skip in his swing, or maybe a shoulder that was dipping causing a hook or a slice, but really to the rest of the world who just knows Tiger as the young guy who won the Masters by a landslide in his debut and proceeded to dominate the golf world, it was when he got caught.

It made me wonder what celebrities were like in the 70s, 80s, and 90s when social media didn’t determine popularity. When “trending” wasn’t something to be achieved on social media there were still our favorite celebrities doing nasty things. There was drug use and alcohol abuse. There was infidelity and affairs. There was also privacy and respect.

It seems like those were the times when we genuinely looked up to sports stars and icons because we believed in them. Now, we wait for the mighty to fall, and the mighty are falling faster and being replaced by the next mightyto-fall celebrity to take his or her place.

It’s everywhere. It got me thinking about the role that Tiger Woods now plays in the public eye. Rather than being the celebrity we all go to watch, and whether or not that was the reason the 34,000 came out to the Wyndham, he has the power to command an audience for other people. It would not have been impossible for 34,000 people to follow Tiger all day on the course, which meant that a large chunk of that group was watching other golfers. That’s a good thing.

Having Tiger Woods at the Wyndham meant that more people might have watched the tournament on television, giving Greensboro and the Triad just a bit more exposure in the national media, other than having a presidential hopeful by the name of Deez Nuts actually polling.

Perhaps the level of fame that Tiger Woods has reached is that of “Best Supporting Actor,” where his star power is used to prop others up in the spotlight rather than on him.

I don’t doubt that he is frustrated he didn’t win the tournament. Anyone who competes doesn’t want to lose, especially someone with a blood-thirst for trophies like Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods came to Greensboro to play in a golf tournament. His Sunday partner hit a hole-in-one, 34,000 people watched golf, and by Monday morning, no one was even talking about him.

That, my friends, is a brilliant marketing plan for any golf tournament. You bring people to watch the shining star they all think he is, and then you wow them with the fringe players.

In the video where Scott Brown sinks the ace, he high-fives Tiger and then Tiger bops him on the head with his golf glove, sort of like a “good job, kid.” I wonder what Scott thought of that? It looked sort of chummy, but it also looked degrading. I doubt Scott took it personal since he just landed an ace in front of the largest crowd at Wyndham, and probably the largest crowd he’s ever played in front of, so, whatever.

I’m going to go ahead and award Tiger Woods the “Best Supporting Actor” honor for his work in Greensboro. He brought a lot of people to an event, allowed a minor player to receive an epic roar, and he didn’t win.

My only question now is, did the Wyndham purchase the Sunday course Nazi outfits after finding out that Tiger was playing? They were all wearing red shirts and black shorts, which is Tiger’s Sunday attire. Either way, let’s hope he does poorly next year so he has to come back. That shit was exciting. !

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