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Bethany-Grace Bowers is a junior journalism major from Thomson, Georgia.

After Tiger Woods clinched his first major title in 11 years at the 2019 Masters Tournament, there are many people discussing his comeback and I have been in the midst of the madness.

People are raving about his comeback and how his perseverance has pulled him up from ground zero, literally. However, it’s hard to look at a man and respect him as a person when he has caused so many people so much.

On that Thanksgiving night in 2009, Tiger’s career came crashing down, along with his personal life. Golf clubs were swinging and cars were driven into trees and it’s all because this famous athlete chose to be unfaithful to his wife.

It’s easy for sports fans, and golf fans especially, to make excuses for him. For example, these are some that I’ve heard recently:

“His wife was probably crazy and in it for the money.”

“He’s an awesome athlete so who cares if he did all that.”

All I can say is that just because a person is in the spotlight or an awesome athlete, that does not give them an excuse to do these things. That’s what I think is so twisted about those who live their lives in the spotlight.

We, as a society, give celebrities a free pass to do whatever they want and they are still given praise. It’s almost like we worship them.

Now, before every golf fan reading this gets heated, I’ll say that I recognize his success as a golfer, apart from his personal life. People can choose to see him however they want, however, it’s hard to root him on.

His golf game has made a major comeback. There is no question about that. He has redeemed his career from its utter depths when he plummeted from the No. 1 in the world to down in the 1,000s in December of 2017.

Woods’ win on April 14 will go down in history. His family, specifically his young children, were able to see their father happy and on top once again and he deserves that recognition, professionally.

As a sports writer, I can say that his statistics from this year have definitely put him back on the PGA map, but he is not my favorite due to his personal persona. So, I respect why people are Team Tiger, but I’ll keep supporting athletes who continuously show integrity on and off the course.

Yes, people grow and change and that is probably the case for Mr. Woods, but there are also many athletes on the tour that have performed well and consistently in the past few years.

So, for those who aren’t into golf as much and know the name Tiger Woods, make sure to look at the statistics of people like Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele and Phil Mickelson.

Everyone has skeletons in their closet and Tiger’s just happened to be put on display, but it’s up to you to decide who you root for in sports.

We all have reasons and that’s why sports is so interesting, but always make your decisions based on what you stand for as a person.

In addition to this, analyze how players perform as athletes and you’ll be able to stand your ground in any sports discussion.

Bethany-Grace Bowers, The George-Anne Assistant Sports Editor, gaeditor@georgiasouthern.edu

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