Golf

Tiger Woods' DUI arrest not really a stunning development

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AP

Tiger Woods' DUI arrest not really a stunning development

Tiger Woods’ DUI has led to an awful lot of hand-wringing by people who either enjoy his slow but steady fall from grace, or want it to be a sudden plummet from grace.

The first group – well, schadenfreude is very marketable stuff these days, because so many of us choose personal misery and the right to distribute it to others on a moment’s notice.

The second group is just wrong.

Woods’ iconic years are almost a decade behind him, and his reduction through hyper-celebrity and eventually to run-of-the-mill clickbait has been a slow and overly tortured process. We have clung to his myth far too tenaciously for either his good or ours, and the reaction to his arrest and mug shot are both predictable and tedious.

There is no cautionary tale here. All the longform pieces about his tortured soul have been exhausted, and the amateur psychological studies have just become well-worn paths to the same conclusion – namely, that he was a very big deal, and through time and erosion is no longer so.

He has won six times in eight years, and no majors. He has had one burst of exemplary golf since in this decade and the rest of the time has been at best day-to-day, and at worst a perpetual patient. He is not a tragic figure, he is merely someone whose body and soul could not keep up with the rigors he damned of them.

So in that way, today’s arrest isn’t really a stunning development. It is bad, because all DUIs are bad. It is sad, because he had the access to at-a-moment’s-notice drivers above and beyond Lyft-level.

But if we must categorize this, it is mostly a reaffirmation of gravity. He rose mightily, he filled the sky for a time with a spectacular aurora, but he did not achieve earth orbit, except in the prurient new world in which everyone is reflexively famous until we decide otherwise, and now he is in re-entry.

Compared to the height of his fame, it is a massive fall. But it didn’t happen all at once, and this arrest may not even be some gothic tale of rueful self-examination. It might have been just him getting plowed, refusing to acknowledge his impaired state and trying to drive when he clearly should not have done so. It didn’t have to be any more melodramatic from that.

In short, Tiger Woods’ DUI is bad enough, because all DUIs are objectively bad. He deserves no sympathy for a stupid choice, and he shall have none. But it is not a plot point unless you decide in your head that it is, in which case it isn’t his story but yours. You want him to be a disgraceful character or a tragic figure, and as is typically the case, it is probably neither of those two poles.

The answer, of course, is most likely Occam’s Razor – the obvious one. A guy got drunk and reckless. It isn’t more evidence of a tortured soul as told by his most avid followers and his fellow torturers.

Nevertheless, we will try. Even in the current social media age, some stories hold more helium than others only because we choose to pump more into them. Tiger Woods drove drunk, and now we will decide what it means. It’s another story that is more about the reader than the subject.

Tiger Woods wins Tour Championship for first PGA Tour title since 2013

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AP

Tiger Woods wins Tour Championship for first PGA Tour title since 2013

Tiger Woods' half-a-decade wait is over.

The former Stanford star broke out his Sunday red and won his first PGA Tour event in five years -- and his 80th overall -- after claiming the Tour Championship.

Woods finished the tournament at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta at 10 under par, one stroke ahead of second-place finisher Billy Horschel.

Woods opened the tournament with a blistering 65 on Thursday, and he shot another 65 Saturday after he birdied five consecutive holes on the front nine. The 42-year-old shot a 71 on Sunday, and held on to win despite bogeying twice on the back nine.

Woods improved to 54-4 when holding a share of the 54-hole lead, and 24-0 when leading by three or more shots entering the final day of competition. 

In addition, Woods just missed out on a major payday. He nearly finished as FedEx Cup champion -- which would've brought him $10 million -- but Justin Rose birdied the 18th hole to win that title. 

Vegas oddsmakers pegged Woods as a 9-1 favorite to win the Masters on Saturday, before he busted his slump. Now that he has a win under his belt, he might be even more of a favorite by the time April rolls around. 

Watch Tiger Woods: Tour Championship live stream, Round 4 tee times, odds

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Watch Tiger Woods: Tour Championship live stream, Round 4 tee times, odds

Tiger Woods hasn't won a PGA Tour event in five years. That could change for the former Stanford golf star on Sunday.

Woods enters the final round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club with a three-shot lead, meaning that unless he has an epic meltdown, he'll claim his 80th PGA win and, possibly, an eight-figure paycheck. The golf world seems to be rooting for Tiger, the former world No. 1 golfer who could win the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus if he wins the Tour Championship and Justin Rose -- the current top-ranked golfer -- falls to fifth place or lower.

History is on Woods' side, as he's 53-4 in PGA Tour events when holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead, per ESPN. Woods hasn't blown a three-shot-or-more lead in 23 times facing that situation.

Woods' previous PGA Tour win came at the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has shown in recent majors that he has shaken his persistent back issues and is returning to form. Oddsmakers certainly believe in Tiger, with Vegas listing him as a -175 favorite to win Sunday. He's also favored to win next year's Masters with 9-1 odds, and should he fulfill those expectations, he'd be three titles shy of Jack Nicklaus' record 18.

While many sports fans will be watching NFL games Sunday, you can bet some will flip the channel to see if Tiger can close out a Tour Championship win. If you're one of those fans, here's how you can watch the Tour Championship, both on TV and online, and below that, we have the final-round tees for your reference.

When: Round starts at 11:30 a.m. ET/8:30 a.m. PT; live TV coverage begins at noon ET/9 a.m. PT

TV channel: Golf Channel (noon ET/9 a.m. PT to 1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT), NBC (1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT to 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT)

Live stream: NBC Sports Live 

Sunday's tee times

All times Eastern/Pacific

11:45 a.m./8:45 a.m. -- Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson

11:55 a.m./8:55 a.m. -- Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson

12:05 p.m./9:05 a.m. -- Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari

12:15 p.m./9:15 a.m. -- Kevin Na, Patrick Cantlay

12:25 p.m./9:25 a.m. -- Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith

12:35 p.m./9:35 a.m. -- Rickie Fowler, Jason Day

12:45 p.m./9:45 a.m. -- Marc Leishman, Patton Kizzire

12:55 p.m./9:55 a.m. -- Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama

1:05 p.m./10:05 a.m. -- Justin Thomas, Webb Simpson

1:15 p.m./10:15 a.m. -- Gary Woodland, Xander Schauffele

1:25 p.m./10:25 a.m. -- Aaron Wise, Dustin Johnson

1:35 p.m./10:35 a.m. -- Tony Finau, Billy Horschel

1:45 p.m./10:45 a.m. -- Jon Rahm, Paul Casey

1:55 p.m./10:55 a.m. -- Justin Rose, Kyle Stanley

2:05 p.m./11:05 a.m. -- Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods