AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 10: Tiger Woods looks on during the final round of the 2011 Masters Tournament on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. Woods announced June 7, 2011 that he will not play in the U.S. Open because of an injury to his left leg. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Still nursing an injury, Tiger Woods announced on Tuesday that he won't play in the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional. Because sometimes, life just isn't much fun. Plus: the difference between LeBron and Iverson, photos of the rapture, Messi and Ronaldo, and imagining Werner Herzog as a sports columnist. Talking Points is a daily series that highlights some of the best stories in sports (and elsewhere). Read the archives here.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Tiger Woods announced that he wouldn't play in the U.S. Open in two weeks, explaining that it's a "short term frustration for long-term gain."
"I am extremely disappointed that I won't be playing in the U.S. Open, but it's time for me to listen to my doctors and focus on the future," Woods said. "I was hopeful that I could play, but if I did, I risk further damage to my left leg. My knee and Achilles tendon are not fully healed." So yeah: it sounds like he's making the right choice here.
It has to be pretty tough for Tiger, too. The whole concept of short-term frustration for long-term gain has always been one of those things about life that's no fun. You know, sacrificing in the short term to win in the long run. It's always made no sense.
If I had participated in that marshmallow experiment as a toddler, there's no way I'd wait to eat the first marshmallow they gave me. Because you know what's better than two marshmallows? Instant gratification. You can worry about finding more marshmallows later.
Why worry about consequences when it's so much easier to just do what you want?
That used to be Tiger's attitude, too. You know what's better than playing it smart and resting until an injury heals? Playing, anyway, and then winning. That's exactly what he did at the 2008 U.S. Open, when he played on one leg and won one of the best Majors of the past 25 years. That was awesome. It was completely insane, but awesome. Now, Tiger's grown up, obviously.
You can't fault him for protecting his body and his own sanity, and if he's really hurt, then it's better he pulls out now then doing what he did at the Players Championship. But still.
I bought tickets to the U.S. Open last week, and now I feel like an idiot. That's really what all this is about. That's why life's really unfair. I spent all this money to see my first-ever golf tournament and was all set to root like hell for Tiger Woods in two weeks, and now he's gone, and it makes perfect sense but it's annoying and sometimes "choosing the hard right over the easy wrong" just sucks for everyone. I guess what I'm saying is, does anyone want some U.S. Open tickets?
On a more positive note, this commercial still makes me smile every time I watch it:
With that, let's get into Talking Points...
Happy Birthday Allen Iverson. Bubba Chuck turns 36 years-old today, and he's the subject of a pretty excellent interview with Slam Magazine, who just put him on their 150th cover. In the interview with Slam, Iverson talks about wanting to play in the NBA again, and says "We’re going to work hard at it, but like I said, if it doesn’t happen, I promise you I won’t sit home on my ass. I won’t do that. I’ll play for somebody."
Part of me hopes he doesn't, though, because if he never makes it back to the NBA, it almost enhances his legend. I once said Allen Iverson was Basketball's 2Pac. Insane athletic anecdotes aside, He was always more famous for what he represented than what he actually did or said. He may not have quite the legacy that 'Pac did, but the myth surrounding AI is closer to Tupac than Tiny Archibald.
He wasn't perfect, but that's what made him so magnetic. A lot of people have been talking about LeBron James this week, and everybody's trying to wrap their heads around why it's so hard for us to appreciate him. For me, it boils down to this: LeBron James may be the best basketball player in the world, but as a person trying to relate to the rest of us, he still doesn't feel real. Every move he makes feels calculated and insincere, he's been anointed by others and he's anointed himself, all before winning anything. And even though his game's pretty much perfect and it's impossible not to appreciate him as a player, his persona makes him impossible to ever truly love.
Allen Iverson was pretty much the exact opposite.
That's why LeBron's playing basketball as well as anyone's played it, ever, and I spent most of the day looking through old photos of AI. We don't demand perfection from stars, but at least be real.
Ever Wondered What The Rapture Would Look Like? We survived the false alarm a few weeks ago, but whenever the world does come to a fiery end, you have to think it'll look a lot like the scene surrounding the Chilean volcano right now. This photo and this photo, specifically.
Messi And Ronaldo And Ray Charles. This was pretty fun. [Via Kevin McCauley]
Fun With Peter King! Drew Magary's weekly takedown of Peter King at KSK is always required reading, but if for no other reason, you should read this week's edition for Peter King's coolest concert memory. It involves Elton John, and it's like some dystopian vision of a Woodstock for conservatives and people that hate fun. Even for Peter King, pretty impressive stuff.