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Local Sports, Tiger Woods and The Masters: The good the bad and the ugly...Story by John Nestor
It's an especially good week to be a sports fan with the local Spring season about to get underway, Major League baseball throwing out the first pitch and The Masters teeing off Thursday.
The golf season's first major, The Masters is the real start of Spring for me, having had the opportunity to cover four starting in 2005, The Masters almost always meant warm weather, exciting golf and a great start to Spring.
With Tiger Woods back into the mix after his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, I started thinking more about the Masters, Woods and how the two bring out conflicting emotions for me as a sports fan and journalist. I'm due an introductory column as well, so why not throw them all together?
As I thought about more about Woods and the Masters as well as the new local sports scene and coming on board at Litchfield County Sports.com in an official capacity, one theme stuck out to me .... these represent the good the bad and the ugly of sports, with some of them representing more than one.
I've been covering the local sports scene for a few years and sports overall for nearly 20. There are great stories to be told and I have met some great people. There isn't too much ugly to be found, just some truly inspiring and interesting stories that you will see on Litchfield County Sports.com as the season goes along.
Woods is another story.
Always standoffish with the media I could take Tiger because he played great and was dominant. One of, if not the most dominant athlete in any sport in my lifetime to date. He burst on the scene by clubbing the competition and the course into submission to win the Masters in 1997 and he has provided up with countless highlights and amazing accomplishments since.
The scandal really took it's toll on Woods, on golf and his fans. We don't need to rehash the details here but let it be said Woods turned out to be much less of the man he would have had us believe with the image he cultivated over the years.
But now Woods appears to be back, coming off a win in his last tournament. The drought is over and he's a favorite again at Augusta and I can't help but root for him and I'm not even sure why. I'm not sure if it the chance to see history as he chases Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors or the comeback story or what, but when I have watched Woods over the last year or so I have pulled for him and will again this week, hoping for more good while forgetting the bad and ugly.
It would be fitting if he truly announced his return as a dominant force at Augusta National because that's where he did it so long ago, a teenager who was a man among boys.
Augusta National also represents some of the good and bad in sports, another reason it would be fitting for Woods to return to form there. Among other things, Augusta National's black eye is its exclusionary membership practices. The most recent controversy surrounds new IBM CEO Virginia Rometty.
The last four CEOs for IBM, a major Masters sponsor, have been invited to join the club, but as of now Augusta National has no female members, and considering the Masters' place in the game of golf, that's an embarrassment.
If you're a sports fan, a trip to the Masters should be on your bucket list, but like with Woods, there is some bad and ugly to go along with the good.
While I was thinking about Tiger and Augusta recently I also began looking ahead to Spring locally. It will be my first season as a official member of Litchfield County Sports.com and I'm looking forward to it. We're looking to tell the stories beyond the scores and stats, what makes the players, the coaches and other personalities that make up the local sports scene tick?
That's been one of the biggest interests for me as a sports fan over the years. The games, matches, meets are where the athletes and coaches test themselves, where they lay it on the line. But many times the real story is in how they get there, how a player or team overcomes adversity, finds success, beats the odds, those are the stories I want to tell and the stories you'll find here on Litchfield County Sports.com.
It's a great time to be a sports fan, nationally and especially locally. Baseball, softball, lacrosse should provide plenty of excitement on the high school level and there are some great stories coming on the town and rec level as well. Fortunately for us it's all good, there's already enough bad and ugly out there.
For more from Timothy W. Gaffney click here