Wednesday, February 11, 2009
If you have any doubt that golf emulates life, consider these thoughts about the recently maligned Michael Phelps. Phelps, at the ripe old age of 23, is considered one of the greatest Olympians ever. But the sanitary swim-boy has now run afoul of the ethics and demeanor court of public opinion. Unless you have been trying to extricate yourself from the same pot (pardon the pun) bunker for the past week or so, surely you know of Michael’s experience with a peace pipe. Coupled with a DWI a couple of years back, his “smoking” experience has ruined his relationship with Tony the Tiger and caused a three-month suspension from the U.S. Olympic team. Not only has this cost him a serious amount of cash in a depressed economy, but it has also embarrassed him beyond red in the face and robbed him of his role model image.
Phelps was heading down “Squeaky-Clean Lane,” but somehow took a wrong turn. He is now at a crossroads and can follow the trail of one of two golfers both who have experienced fame and fortune at a young age. Down one path is John Daly. Daly came from last alternate to PGA Champion in the space of four days. His history since that fateful Sunday in August of 1991 is well documented. Obsessive-compulsive comes to mind but it might fall short of being totally descriptive. Michael does not want this lane of the yellow brick trail. It leads to tabloid headlines.
Heading down the other road is Tiger Woods. By the time Tiger was 23 he was already a multiple major championship winner. Granted Tiger had already experienced a lion’s share of fame and fortune, yet he did not permit himself a career-ending episode. Tiger took the high road and has gone on to greater heights. Michael must employ a good scout to assist him in the tracking of the Tiger.