At a time like this it’s heartening to have Tiger back. I’m sure you share my deep distress at the way things are in America today. It seems the chasm separating white Americans from non-white Americans has never been wider, never more difficult to bridge.
A series of police atrocities against black Americans – and the establishment’s instinctive reaction to protect the perpetrators – has set race relations back a generation or more.
It will take a while to recover from the apparent disregard for the lives of those hapless victims killed by police in recent weeks – Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner. Killed, it seems, with no serious attempt to punish their killers.
You probably know the details of those cases. And, sadly, they are not isolated cases. I just read that between 2005 and 2012, a black person was killed by a white law enforcement officer almost twice every week.
There are ongoing protests of course. And there will be investigations. And commissions. The rift between the races will grow wider before it is bridged.
Meanwhile, white America is closing ranks against Hispanics. I am convinced the President’s attempt to address the injustices of America’s immigration laws was a key factor in those disastrous midterm elections.
At a time like this, I am relieved to be able to turn on the TV and watch a non-white American (half black, half Thai) enjoying the adulation of the crowd – an overwhelmingly white crowd, by the way, for golf is still an overwhelmingly white sport.
Tiger Woods will tee it up with Jason Day in the Hero World Challenge at Isleworth this afternoon. And the word is that he’s back in shape and back on form. In the coming season, I expect him to display the old magic that has won 14 majors and numerous other tournaments.
To me, the Tiger Woods phenomenon is an affirmation that the thrill of sports is color blind. People of all shades and ethnic backgrounds share the visceral joy derived from watching consummate artists – of any race – in competition with each other.
Perhaps it is in the shared thrill of physical competition that America will find its way back to racial harmony.
As the poet Rudyard Kipling observed a long time ago:
… there is neither East nor West, border, nor breed, nor birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth.