On the Course: Scotts puzzled by robotic Woods | AspenTimes.com

On the Course: Scotts puzzled by robotic Woods

Eben Harrell
Edinburgh correspondent

You can’t fool The Old. That’s the adage around here in St. Andrews, where I’ve spent the last week taking in the British Open Championship.

Local golfers know that if you’re playing superior talent, don’t play on the Old Course. Choose one of the town’s four other courses. Because The Old, well, she knows who’s best.

So why, then, the sense of the deflated after watching the unparalleled Tiger Woods win his second British Open here? Why the hundreds of spectators milling around this evening looking mournfully into their fish ‘n chips?

A Scot finished second, as a start. Cheers of “Come on, Monty” filled these hallowed grounds until this evening when Colin Montgomerie proved no match for Woods.

But more so, it has something to do with the manner of victory ” five strokes (it was eight last time, in 2000). There’s a cocky, self-assuredness to Woods, a robotic confidence, that the Scots find difficult to relate to. He’s great, yes, but there’s still no proof that he’s human.

Fans, especially the weather-beaten, dour, pale, depressed Scots, need to see vulnerability. Without the threat of failure, success means nothing.

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The British press searched the grounds this week. There was talk of Woods’ mother being near one of the London bombs. And mention of his recent knee surgery ” a minor meniscus repair, a cake walk for the wimpiest Aspenite. The efforts to prove him human failed.

So when will the fans here adopt Tiger Woods, as they have the great American champions before him? This week, Jack Nicklaus, who once dominated the game like Woods, bowed out from golf to a rapturous reception at the 18th. At 65 years old, his body failing after years of powerful play, he was never more loved.

Sadly, irrevocably, it will be Father Time that brings Woods back to earth. And St. Andrews will be here to greet him.