Should Christians Cheer for Tiger Woods?

April 18, 2013 — 12 Comments

It’s the question I’ve been asked from time to time.

Should Christians Cheer for Tiger Woods? 

I feel like I have grown up with Tiger Woods. I had great aspirations of becoming a world-class college golf player and then on the PGA Tour but those dreams didn’t quite come true. While I was struggling to make cuts, he was winning US Junior Amateurs and US Amateurs. Then, as a senior in high school we witnessed him obliterate the field at the 1997 Masters. Since then he has gone on to become one of the most well-known athletes in history. He motivated millions to take up the game, buy Nike gear, and hack it with the rest of us. He inspired us to seek greatness. That was until the world discovered Tiger was human in 2009. He then was simply, Eldrick Woods. The superhero Tiger Woods’ kryptonite was revealed in the form of adultery, greed, lies, and the root of it all, pride. What came next was the real horror.

During The Master this year, it was interesting to hear what self-proclaimed Christians were still saying about Tiger.

Tiger Woods…

  • Is a fornicator
  • Is a cheater
  • Always gets his way
  • Dishonored golf
  • Is a (insert racist slur here)
  • Is a crazy Buddhist
  • Only cares about himself

Sounds a bit like my 3 and 5 year olds. I confess that it sounds a lot like me too. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t sit in my holy chair and judge others, especially people like Tiger Woods. This scene of judgment is not much different from the pharisees with stones in hand ready to throw at the sinner. There have been some great articles and blogs written about this question of how we biblically should respond to Tiger Woods, most notably in Sojo. I encourage you to read this for good perspective.

Why do I cheer for Tiger?

I cheer for Tiger because

  1. It will be good for the game of golf for him to win. He brings excitement like few others in history have provided. That excitement has encouraged friends of mine whom would never have played to give it a shot. Golf has suffered when Tiger isn’t on top of the leaderboard. He is not perfect but is striving to earn his way back for the game, for himself, for us. I do get annoyed from time to time when the golf media focuses on him when lesser known players are leading. But I know that it helps everyone financially and professional golf is indeed a business.
  2. He pursues greatness in golf. He has been humbled in that pursuit but his undaunted spirit is inspirational for any golfer.
  3. I believe God’s story is about redemption and he may very well be doing some amazing that we don’t know yet in Tiger’s life.
  4. Tiger’s story isn’t over yet. He still has a golf career and a life to live.

I love the “what if” dreams.

What if we put our rock down and looked in the mirror more?

What if Tiger’s golf comeback is merely the beginning of something bigger in his life?

What if his comeback story leads him to Christ?

What if his redemption story could inspire millions? Inspire me? Inspire you?

What if?

12 responses to Should Christians Cheer for Tiger Woods?

  1. 
    Trent Tormoehlen April 18, 2013 at 12:20 am

    I sort of root for Tiger…it is weird really. Mainly I really like rooting for greatness. His greatness is unmatched in golf – I root for that, but I am never disappointed when he loses 🙂

  2. 

    Nice article Dave. I definitely agree lots of stones are cast his way and I always roll my eyes especially after this Masters to hear comments like “well he cheated on Elin, he cheats at golf” like “really???” When most of the people who do make these statements tend to have a few skeletons in their closet as well. In fact, most outspoken people of negativity in our world tend to harbor the insecurities in themselves and only get self enjoyment if they feel like the bigger / badder person.

    • 

      Kohlmy, you are right on in your assessment. Sports in general is marketed in story and people do take great consideration on the personal portion, especially his. But too often we forget the grace given to ourselves and rarely share that with others, especially someone like Tiger. As Trent pointed out, I can be okay cheering for greatness.

  3. 

    Tiger is my husband’s favorite, before “the fall” and after, because of the redemption story and because he’s a great golfer. Wouldn’t it be great if an athlete’s humanness made us want to cheer for him/her even more than their superhumanness? Thanks for weighing in on this, though the question itself disturbs me. As if Christians can only root for Christians or people whose lives line up with our morals (as far as we can see their lives). I get where the question is coming from, I guess, but it makes me a little sad. Good points you’ve made.

    • 

      Great thoughts and questions, Lisa! As a longtime golfer, this is a question I hate asking as a Christian but with what I’ve observed of many Christian’s (humans of course) behavior, I felt it was worth asking. I am comfortable cheering for any golfer who is honorable on the golf course and is in pursuit of a win. For example, I have no idea where Adam Scott is in his faith but boy was it exciting to cheer him on and ride with him through his up and down story of his career so far. He deserved. The side story was great as well to see Angel Cabrera be such a great sport even in losing to Adam. Both of them displayed greatness in the game of golf. On a personal level, I have no idea.
      Tiger winning 14 majors so fast in his career and dominating golf? That is greatness? You put the man as a whole together and different people draw different conclusions. Again, I say his story is not finished yet and I can be patient. In the meantime, I cheer for him both personally and professionally to find that greatness. It requires extreme humility and that story is far from over it seems. Godspeed Tiger.

      • 

        Oh I hope I didn’t sound like I was criticizing the question because it is a valid question. I think I’m just sad that people might think they can’t want a broken person to find success. Because if we can never hope for or cheer on a person who is broken to find success or restoration, then we have no gospel. Because we’re all broken people looking for redemption. And that’s something we should cheer for. 🙂

      • 

        Oh I didn’t take it that way at all Lisa. This is a deeper issue no doubt in Christian culture and as humans in general too. Thanks for engaging.

  4. 

    I’ve written about and like the Tiger story with similar ideas. Good stuff Dave, love it! Cheeri-o!!

  5. 

    Dave, This is great stuff. I wish other Christians would remember that ours is a gospel of redemption. Too often we watch a nonChristian repent and follow the Jesus way, and we hold them to their old lives and reject their redemption. Too often we celebrate their failings and hate their conversion. We’re not quite there for Tiger, but let’s celebrate every glimpse of redemption…in anyone.

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