No, Tiger hasn’t suddenly become Leonardo DiCaprio or Orlando Bloom or Olympic gold medalist Picabo Street, for that matter. He hasn’t taken up the global warming cause, at least not yet. But there are lessons to be learned from his two consecutive major wins.
As the photo from the British Open shows, the greens at Royal Liverpool were off color. “This is the brown British Open,” as the Associated Press put it:
A heat wave in Britain – the temperature reached 91 degrees Wednesday – has caused the rough to die, leaving wispy strands of native grasses and fairways that are a mixture of yellow and brown. Yellow is the color of the grass, brown is where the grass has died.
Heat waves and droughts are becoming longer and stronger thanks to human-caused climate change. Tiger, however, is the greatest golfer of his generation–probably of any generation–and a briliant all-weather strategist. Washington Post sports writer Michael Wilbon explains:
In Liverpool at the British Open a month ago, Tiger was called upon to hit off parched grass that had the consistency of concrete.
He did so by constructing an irons-only game plan that none of his peers had the skill or imagination to even attempt. Here in Chicago, with Mother Nature having evened the playing field by softening Medinah, Tiger was called upon to take divots the size of toupees in the fairways while firing at pins. And he did that better than anybody else in the field.
All of us working to get the nation to take action in time to avert climate catastrophe are playing a very challenging course. But we can all learn from Tiger’s mental discipline. As one writer described it:
Tiger has already won 12 of golf’s major tournaments (which also include the Masters and the U.S. Open), and he is only 30. If he can best Jack Nicklaus’s “unmatchable” record of 18 professional majors, and, barring injuries, he will probably do so within a few years (my guess is 2010), then what goal is unattainable?
Will Tiger ever take up global warming advocacy, the way, for instance, leading winter sports athletes have, as it increasingly becomes clear what climate change will do to their beloved sports? Who knows? But anyone who spends so much time outdoors during the summer can’t help but notice the severe changes humans are bringing to the climate.
Interestingly, next year’s PGA championship will be at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is currently experiencing an extended drought. Brown greens may become the norm at golf’s major championships–and golfers may yet join the growing chorus of those demanding action.