By Tony Mangia
The media is already comparing 'it' to the inauguration of President Obama--claiming 'it' will be the most anticipated broadcast in the past decade--maybe bigger than O.J.'s trial. Wow! A news scroll actually crept across the bottom of New York 1 News announcing 'it'--the station that prides itself on covering New York City and the city alone. 'It' is Tiger Woods proclamation that he will return to playing golf at this year's Masters Golf Tournament in April. Finally, the world can sigh and get back to the treadmill once again.
The Masters in Augusta, Georgia--what a perfect place for a man to hide. Home of the Green Blazer, protocol and a boy's club attitude. Remember how Martha Burk protested the "Men Only" membership policy and camped outside the gates of the famed club in protest a few years ago. Maybe some women's group will pitch a tent outside the hallowed venue this year. I don't get riled up about any club's right to legally adhere to outdated policies--no matter how biased they may seem--but Tiger sure picked the right place to make a comeback. Woods, once again, gets to be sheltered, pampered and privileged. Nothing has changed.
Augusta's tight security, closed practices, limited press, and kindergarten-type gallery rules--no running etc.--make it easy for Woods' public relations doctors to repair his image without the burden of answering the questions people want answered. The course is a spectator's gulag within 18 lush greens. Poor Tiger. First, he gets the kid gloves treatment after allegedly driving under the influence of Ambien--not even a blood test! Imagine if Tiger Shmo was in that situation? Now the high-browed principles of Augusta apply to everyone except Woods. What hypocrisy! If I hear anyone use the word 'hero' or 'courage' used in a sentence with his name, I'll leave this country like Alec Baldwin did when Bush got re-elected. Oh, he didn't? Well, maybe I'll just boycott Nike.
Golf, the gentleman's game; except how Tiger Woods plays it. Cursing and tossing clubs: that's says Mister Manners to me. Don't forget his caddy, Steve Williams, loudly scolding gallery members about cameras and noise--under the guise of protecting Woods--and now brashly promising to lay out anyone who dares to address his boss as a horn dog, "sex-addict" or some other anti-Tiger designation. Williams, you're a high-paid caddy not Furio on the Sopranos.
Tiger Woods has Augusta and CBS wrapped around his ring finger--next to his gold symbol of empty wedding vows. They should rename the tournament "The Master." Augusta is willing to soil its own name because the tournament and golf, in general, is so desperate for an audience that a single player can bring--and what a Nielson they will get. I understand it, ratings and money carry more clout than a player's reputation. Sports is not religion--except football in the SEC. I just hope the dignified members at Augusta remember Woods' disgraced wife and children back at home while checking out the leader board. I bet professional golf is hoping for a fairy tale ending. I'm leaning more towards the "South Park" finale. I still remember Woods' own mom at his press 'statement' last month--rarely did she raise her eyes to look up at him. Too bad millions of raised eyes will be closely watching Woods in a few weeks; but not too closely if his caddy and the Masters bigwigs have their way.
KICKAPOOS AND KICKFLIPS
If you get a chance, get down to the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian at One Bowling Green in downtown Manhattan. The exhibit, "A Song for the Horse Nation" runs until July 7. It's a wonderful look at the horse and its influence on Native Americans combined with an interesting side gallery that looks at skate boarding in the modern Native American Nation.
Artifacts include a 110 year-old Iroquois lacrosse stick to a turn of the century (1900) North Dakota Sioux child's sled made from giant buffalo rib bones. A fringed and beaded (made from seeds) Pawnee coat from 1910 with the name 'Lone Wolf" sewn across the back shoulders resembles the colors worn by the Hell's Angels. You can envision these bands of emblazoned horsemen stampeding across the plains like a gang of bikers rolling down the flats of I-80. Whether used for hunting, sport or warfare, this exhibit extols the horsemanship of the tribes and the virtues of the horse on the native people
If you like tail-slides and goofy foots mixed with an underdog story, check out the skateboarding exhibit. It recounts how the sport has grown throughout Native American reservations throughout the west. One of the first competitions was a tiny gathering in an dusty Apache reservation at Whitewater, Arizona and has grown into a tour event. Native Americans are now some of the best half-pipers and a 4-wheel Warpony Company spokesperson says proudly that it is the only board making outfit run solely by Apaches. Check out the photos and crude wood boards from the '70's. The museum is open 7 days and is one of New York's great bargains--it's free!.
Nomar Garciaparra has announced his retirement. Whatever happened to comparing the big four shortstops 10 years ago--Jeter, A-Rod, Tejeda and Garciaparra? They all have good numbers but Jeter's five rings are what sets him apart. I don't think Nomar is a Hall of Fame caliber player--good but not great.
I hope Mike Tyson's new pigeon raising reality show isn't on the Food Channel.
Jet's Rex Ryan had stomach-clamping surgery to lose weight. Good for him. I hope he had surgery for his giant-sized head too. After his body shrinks, we could be looking a life-sized bobblehead doll in the future. By the way, the Giants should open the new arena and it will always be known as Giants Stadium! Coin toss or not.
How come there aren't any cheese items on a Chinese menu? No General Tso's chicken parmigiana or spring roll nachos. Just curious.