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Jason Miller, Published December 16 2009

Miller: Tiger’s fallout not big surprise to me

I wasn’t at all surprised to learn of superstar golfer Tiger Woods’ infidelity recently because, frankly, nothing post-Kirby when it comes to superstar athletes surprises me.

Growing up in Minnesota in the mid-1980s, Kirby Puckett was the guy every little kid admired. I was no different.

I wore No. 34. I collected the cards. I went to the games. The star Minnesota Twins center fielder who everyone loved to watch tear around third base in the way he only could and rob opposing players of home runs was the perfect role model.

Or so we thought.

I don’t know exactly what Kirby did behind closed doors, but the allegations weren’t flattering. It turned out he wasn’t the great guy all of us Little Leaguers thought he was.

It’s no different with Woods.

Woods built up this squeaky-clean image and was a man that fans mostly loved but, as it turns out, really didn’t know. Everything we thought we knew about Woods has turned out to be some sort of corporate concoction.

Woods was a great competitor with a great family. He was the family man with the perfect life. He was also the best golfer in the world, with the only hint of criticism coming because of his on-course tantrums. Even that criticism was rarely heard.

Now, he’s just the world’s greatest golfer. Now, he’s mortal.

I’ve always admired his golf game. Who couldn’t? When I attended a practice round at Hazeltine this summer prior to the PGA Championship, the goal was to see Tiger. That’s who everyone wanted to see.

Phil Mickelson was great. So was Sergio Garcia, John Daly and Stewart Cink, fresh off his dismantling of Tom Watson in the British Open playoff. But Tiger was the main attraction.

Now, he’s just the world’s best golfer, ready to take a leave of absence from the game. When he returns, I’m sure I’ll still watch him play golf. But just like when I stopped wearing No. 34 long ago, I think I’ll leave my “TW” hat on the shelf.


Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Jason Miller at (701) 451-5651 or jmiller@forumcomm.com