Let’s Examine This Picture of Tiger Woods Shaking Hands with Steve Williams


Tiger Woods and Steve Williams

Look at that sad sack.

There’s a saying out there about pictures and words and in this case it’s entirely true. One thousand may not be enough. More than anything, there’s something about this picture that fully encapsulates the post-scandal Tiger Woods better than anything else I’ve yet to read or see. It finally seems real now! We can, quite literally, see the pain on the man’s face. I think my ACL started aching just looking at it. My back feels sore, does anyone have any aspirin? I started typing this and then the underside of my hands started to hurt, so I taped them up Eldrick style to ward off any calluses. Ok, that’s enough, for now.

Sort of seriously, look up and take in that photograph again. There is so much subtext, so much postscript, so much specialized knowledge required in order to fully grasp the weight of it in full. And yet, we all have it. We all know. This photo spans time. It spans perspective. I look at Tiger’s face and I see the Cadillac, I see his ex-wife, I see him at the Masters when he was 21 years old. I see him crying on Steve Williams shoulder at the British Open after his father died. I see other, less inspiring things. I see him winning and then losing tournaments. I see age. I see burden. I see rage and despair, and I see fatigue.

I see nothing less than the personification and embodiment of human frailty and mortality! Ahem, alright, excuse me. I got a bit carried away there.

After this picture was taken, Tiger Woods was completely demolished on the golf course. It was a team competition, and Steve Stricker was there, too, but no matter the circumstances, and even after everything that has happened, I can still manage to be very surprised by that. Stephen Ames and 9 and 8 are a lifetime away. And now, more so than ever before, I feel that Tiger Woods will not break Jack Nicklaus’ record for most Major Golf Tournaments Won. Just look at that picture, it’s all there.

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