Read GolfPeach's latest blog reflecting on the USPGA, Tiger Woods and why she'd choose Eddie Pepperell over the 14-time major winner
Tiger Woods Vs Eddie Pepperell – Who Wins?
If Tiger Woods and Eddie Pepperell had been the two main contenders for the USPGA title last Sunday, who would I have wanted to win?
Nothing at all against Brooks Koepka, who seems to be one of the ‘good guys’ of the game, but I was really rooting for Tiger at the weekend.
His charisma is alive and well and nobody else is better placed to move golf out of its niche and onto the front pages.
But if life is all about the people you’d most want to share a supper table with, I think I’d rather get a hangover with Eddie.
Pepperell has already had the most famous hangover in golf this year.
Fed up with his form on the eve of the final round of the Open, he and his coach hit the bottle a little harder than they had intended to over dinner.
After shooting 67 in the final round, Eddie was able to laugh about the headache that accompanied him to the 1st tee.
He can laugh about most things.
Tiger hasn’t even smiled since I took up golf.
I am, of course, exaggerating.
The world’s most famous public performers live in a world of exaggeration that drives a lot of them into a competitive shell.
We make value and character judgments about the likes of Tiger Woods, Andy Murray, Usain Bolt and Cristiano Ronaldo as if we know them personally.
If we ever get within ten metres of them, too many of us instinctively turn our camera phones to mirror mode and try to snatch a second of reflected fame for Instagram. It is a bubble of a life.
Eddie’s life has not quite reached that level of invasive scrutiny… yet.
As a result, he is a joy to follow on Twitter with his whimsical insights into life on tour and his escapes back home with partner Jen and faithful hound Gus.
He not only has a rascal sense of self-effacing humour but also a very readable turn of phrase in his thoughtful blogs.
His latest offering is a particularly personal peep into self-service sports psychology…
“The thought of travelling to France all of a sudden felt overwhelming. There wasn’t an ounce of me that felt ready to go and compete. I don’t like terms, but I was concerned I was depressed, or certainly experiencing an episode. So I withdrew right there and then without telling anyone. It took me an hour or so to tell Jen. I didn’t find telling her very easy. I lied to everyone else. I find lying generally despicable and soul destroying. Here’s what’s crazy about being a golfer, and a human being I presume, is that days after feeling such emotions and having darker than ideal thoughts, you can go and achieve something really great.”
Two weeks after pulling out of the French Open, Pepperell pocketed a cheque for £500,000 at the Scottish Open.
Just imagine if Tiger had written the above, though… just imagine the ‘Tiger lied’ headlines, the admission of depression, the analysis on the return of his ‘darker than ideal thoughts’.
Ok, at least half of the pain he has suffered since he was the ‘greatest of all time’ 15 years ago has been self-inflicted but that only adds to the attention on him, only adds to the fascination with him.
A recent controversial biography of Woods referred to his Las Vegas gambling trips with basketball legends Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan when one of them told him that only he could know what it was like ‘being Tiger Woods’.
The rest of us can only guess.
Koepka may have come away from St Louis on Sunday wondering whether he had actually won the USPGA title or not.
All of the attention was still on the player who finished 2nd.
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Maybe it is because I am a relative newcomer to golf and had no interest in the sport when Woods was a serial champion that I found myself tuning into the USPGA app on my phone and monitoring his progress over the weekend (Sky Sports, I really missed you!).
I want to see a second coming because I can’t remember the first one.
Not everyone in golf is quite as afflicted by Tigermania.
Eddie Pepperell’s first blog of the year back in January is proving to be quite prophetic…
“Probably the biggest story of 2018 in golf will come down to one man: Tiger Woods. The fact that he is still the biggest draw in the game says so much about our world. Our obsession with image, personality and the past it seems, as opposed to substance amazes me. I say that with respect, i.e. not meaning Tiger can’t substantively impact the game moving forward (I think he can), but if he had of just won in Hawaii the way Dustin Johnson did, then the golfing world would be hyperventilating. It leads me to think that the days of awe-inspiring achievements are behind us. Instead all we are craving is a story, a comeback, controversy or even batshit crazy stuff like Conor McGregor boxing Floyd Mayweather.”
I wasn’t quite hyperventilating when Tiger hit the front with nine holes to play at Carnoustie but I did want him to win.
Interest and appeal are not always functions of success.
The Woods revival is ‘a story’ complete with far more intrigue and suspense than a commendable victory for a role model like Koepka or Francesco Molinari.
Those guys would have to do a lot of Eddie’s ‘batshit crazy stuff’ to compete with Tiger for headlines.
And they wouldn’t want his spotlight anyway.
More to the point, neither would I.
To rephrase my opening question… if Woods and Pepperell were both available to partner me in a mixed foursomes next Sunday, who would I want?
In terms of hits, likes and views on GolfPeach’s social media platforms, there is no contest.
Tiger has the aura factor. It would certainly be an experience.
But I play golf for the fellowship, for the fun, for the sport.
The Eddie Pepperell that I’ve come to know and like through his blogs and tweets sounds like he’s on my banter wavelength.
And the wine would be so much better too.
And if you’re not following Eddie on Twitter, you should be.
Blog extracts from: eddiepepperell.wordpress.com
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