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Let Phil’s story stand alone

For the first time in a few years, I had my Masters Sunday completely clear for the whole afternoon of Azaleas, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

Actually, Fred Couples is my favorite golfer. From the time I was old enough to care, Freddy’s swing has been my idea of perfection. I’ve been trying for 18 years or so and I’m probably only getting further away from the goal. I was pulling for one last grand win for Freddy.

Phil’s victory was easy to root for over the final holes. Phil’s play is always entertaining. It’s a car wreck or it’s brilliance. His 205-yard shot off the pine straw on No. 13 was the ultimate Tin Cup shot, even by Mickelson’s standards.

Of course there was the family story behind Mickelson’s title. Then, of course, it took only a couple hours after the Green Jacket was awarded for Mickelson’s feel-good story to be paired with and oppose Woods’ last five months, or more actually, what’s become public over the last five months.

I guess we should all be thankful Billy Payne, the Augusta National chairman who got on the highest of horses earlier last week, didn’t ask Mickelson to compare his championship with “the fact” Woods “disappointed all of us” in Butler Cabin five minutes after sinking the final putt and hugging his wife.

It’s the nature of sports and competition when a victory by one person or team comes at the expense of someone else. It’s not always the case though and a feel-good story can be just that, it doesn’t have to stand for anything more. As huge as Tiger Woods is, it’s fine if something doesn’t have anything to do with him every once in a while.

When King’s Fork won the state basketball title in 2009, it was a great story for the whole city. Among the guys who understood that the most, were basketball players at Nansemond River and Lakeland who came out to some of KF’s tournament games to root for the city rival who bested them during the season. King’s Fork’s great season was something to see all by itself.

True, the Mickelson/Woods comparison was a lot deeper than winning vs. losing, but what did Mickelson’s victory have to do with any answer to – what do you think of Tiger?

Woods is the best golfer in the world and is worthy of being a role model because of his determination, concentration and the barriers he’s shattered, his personal life has nothing to do with anything. Or Woods is the best golfer in the world and a role model for that fact alone, or he’s the best golfer in the world but not a role model since he’s a slimebag. Any answer is fine and fair enough.

ANDREW GIERMAK is the sports editor for the Suffolk News-Herald. She can be reached at andrew.giermak@suffolknewsherald.com