As Tiger Woods prepares for the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California, Forbes magazine reports he is one of the most disliked athletes in America. According to a new poll, 60 percent of sports fans surveyed either "dislike," "dislike a lot" or "dislike somewhat" the former world number one golfer.
It's been over two years since the personal life of Woods was thrust into the forefront of the golfing world. His multiple extramarital affairs cost him a marriage with Swedish model Elin Nordegren and fans seem to have still remembered.
Woods hasn't won a "real" golf tournament since then. His victory in the Chevron World Challenge was in a field of just 18 players. Against a full slate of 125 golfers, Woods hasn't had a win in nearly 36 months.
Perhaps Americans simply like a winner. Vick was with the "dream team" of the Eagles that was supposed to win a Super Bowl this season. Instead, he battled injuries and Philadelphia finished 8-8 on the year and didn't make the playoffs. The Eagles finished the season on a four-game winning streak. Apparently fans don't like his previous conviction and jail time for dogfighting.
Woods didn't do any jail time yet he is still the most disliked figure in sports. Perhaps those surveyed simply like a winner. Plaxico Burress, Ndamukong Suh and Kris Humphries rounded out the top five. Woods is the only golfer on the list. NFL players dominate the survey with three NBA players and a NASCAR driver (Kurt Busch).
Golf is a gentleman's sport. No one gets driven to the turf or dunked upon regularly. Golfers are generally nice guys. Yet somehow a pro golfer is the top of the dislike list among guys who swear, go to jail and even get into fights on a regular basis.
The fact that Woods hasn't won and still continues to make headlines for being an alleged failure is telling. It's almost as if people are perceiving the golfer as superhuman when really all he did was make mistakes. Woods simply showed his human side and somehow he let America down.
This time next year, I predict Woods will be off the "dislike" list. He'll win sometime this year.
William Browning has covered sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network including golf and local golf courses in southwest Missouri. He currently resides in Branson, Mo.
- Tiger Woods
- Philadelphia Eagles