TIGER is back. His winning of the Chevron World Challenge last Sunday so impressed the aficionadoes, he has immediately been made favourite for all four Majors next year.
And as his only supporter in the media in the world, in his time of trouble, naturally I am delighted.
I should add that there is no hyperbole at all in that last statement, either to exaggerate my own contribution or for comic effect. It is a plain statement of the truth that, apart from my own articles on the topic, there is not a single known example of a commentator who took the Tiger line on this -- not one.
Yet the Tiger line is not such a remarkable point of view, if you think about it. Roughly speaking, it places his monumental greatness as a winner of 14 Majors on one side of the argument, and on the other side it places his "crimes", in which no law was broken, which involved little more than adultery.
And it comes to the conclusion that when you are dealing with a figure of such stature, it is wrong -- indeed, it is both intellectually and morally wrong -- to view him as some sort of a monster just because he may have been married to the wrong woman, or because he should not have been married at all.
In this he would be no different to most other billionaires or movie stars, and most likely there were many old-time stars of golf itself who thanked their God that journalists in the olden days didn't see fit to report the truth about life on the road.
Yet Tiger was monstered by the overwhelming majority for these mundane transgressions, pursued and abused almost to the point of extinction. And the reasons for this are not just deeply interesting, they tell us much about why the world in general has been going down the toilet in the last few years.
There was a terrifying failure here to draw a distinction between someone who is famous for their astounding achievements, and someone who is just famous. To tell the difference between that which is real, and that which is bullshit.
Indeed the essence of the man, the whole point of Tiger Woods, was that he was not some corporate
con-man fooling the people and robbing them with his business babble, he actually had all that genius, all that fortitude. He didn't just instruct his Director of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs to put out a press statement claiming that he was very good at golf, he really did all those wonderful things.
And he was seen to do them.
You could not get a more potent symbol of real achievement, of all that is not bullshit, than Tiger winning the US Open of 2008, having played four rounds and an 18-hole play-off with a shattered leg.
In a world which had any decency left in it, or even the most basic levels of a functioning intelligence, this noble deed would have been seized upon as an inspiration -- it was just before the meltdown at Lehman Brothers would reveal the true scale of the gangster economy which the corporate class had created, and one might have thought that the world needed at least one person in it who might justifiably be regarded as a hero.
Thankfully it had one.
And yet the hero was not embraced. He was destroyed. And he was not just destroyed by the sort of opinion-formers who are known to be irredeemably stupid. You could hear the more respectable sort too, forming a herd to castigate him with their gibberish.
The line they favoured, was that Tiger was fair game because he had sold this "squeaky-clean image" which had now been "exposed".
In truth, Tiger did not have a squeaky clean image at all, and was constantly being put down by commentators for using bad language and spitting, and for not being very nice to those same commentators and journalists who apparently thought that that mattered a damn.
So the "squeaky-clean image" nonsense went on and on, revealing yet more of the void at the heart of our culture, this inability to tell the difference between reality and bullshit -- I need hardly add that the corporate class deserted him.
In reality, Tiger had sold nothing but his genius. Yet the herd of hacks persisted with the lie that the folks were apparently buying all that merchandise, not because he had won 14 Majors and because he was the greatest golfer who ever lived, but because he was a good family man -- even though the folks had made Tiger a billionaire long before he was even thinking of starting a family, with all the trouble that would bring to him.
Ah, but there was never any sense to the abuse of Tiger; it was grounded in much darker impulses. There would even be an unacknowledged element of racism in it, shown recently when Tiger's former caddy Steve Williams described him as "that black arsehole". And after a few days of minor embarrassment, Williams still walks the fairways, carrying the bag of a white man in whose company he is perhaps more comfortable.
Hysterically, even then they managed to further abuse Tiger, demanding that he "speak out" against Williams. So that was Tiger's fault too.
All told, the brutalisation of Tiger Woods represents an appalling failure of the imagination, the sort of mass stupidity which seems to afflict the world at certain dark times, and which in recent years has rendered us apparently unable to function any more as democratic societies, helpless as we are against the "markets" and other agents of international gangsterism.
Perhaps the baleful gods, seeing such emptiness in the human spirit, have been angry with us -- certainly the good times for Tiger were good times all round, and the bad times for Tiger were the worst times many have known.
Now that he's back, let us take it as a sign that perhaps the worst is over. That all is not lost. That there are still men out there who can do great things by dint of their talent and their courage and their capacity for hard work. And who can have their lives ruined in the most horrible way -- and then come back and do it all over again.