Along Came A Tiger

A small crowd gathers at a specially prepared outdoor stage cordoned off by security barricades and stern-looking guards situated at the entrance of the Marina Bay Sands. The crowd were none other than a trickling of reporters, a group of sports students in bright orange jerseys and me. This event was either kept incredibly low-key or it simple lacked publicity as not even a fan was in sight or were passer-bys even remotely curious about our tiny gathering. As we wait for the guest of honour who would be hosting a golf coaching clinic for the students of the Singapore Sports School, signs of rain were on everyone else’s minds as grey clouds rolled omniously across the structural skyline. Tiger Woods, legend, and current world no. 2 golfer, is that special guest. No doubt, Woods has had a golf career of mammoth standards. However, his private life has inevitably overtaken all his sporting achievements in terms of publicity.

The entire affair was incredibly distant and Woods was kept under close watch by his band of merry bodyguards. As he coached each and every single student more spectators armed with their smartphones gathered around the makeshift golf practice area. When it came time for the Q&A session, reporters were only allowed to ask questions pertaining to golf, his career, his foundation and anything that was of a personal nature was strictly off-limits. None of us were able to interview him on a one-to-one basis and if you were ever in need of a signature, you’d stand a better chance being a student of the sports school.

Winning was definitely one of the topics that were focused on. With the current no.1 ranking taken up by 23 year-old Northern Irelander Rory McIlroy, Woods comments that Rory is still young and that it’ll take time to determine if Rory would be a consistent legitimate rival for Woods. It’s all about winning tournaments and being consistent he added.

This has been an eye-opening experience being able to see Tiger Woods from a somewhat close proximity. He looked tired, perhaps hampered by all the travelling and all forms of media he had been subjected to. I suppose there’s that flash of preconceived notion that the legends we see on TV and on the papers are very much glorified and thought to be larger than life. In actuality, this clinic in particular has left me feeling slightly underwhelmed. Perhaps I expected more. Given how under-wraps the entire set-up was and the hurried pace of the Q&A session, this visit simply wasn't befitting of a legend. I’ll be looking forward to seeing Woods back on his feet soon. Afterall, it'd be a shame to see a Tiger caged up.

Photographs credited to Ace Kindred Cheong. 


Occasional hand model with a taste for adventure.

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