04/09/12 — Champ/chump: The greatest sports stories don't always involve stars

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Champ/chump: The greatest sports stories don't always involve stars

If you didn't see the finish to The Masters this weekend, you missed a chance to see why often the best role models in sports are not the ones with the big names.

Bubba Watson choked up when he realized he had won one of golf's greatest prizes and was so overwhelmed that it took him several minutes to compose himself.

The emotion was, in part, because his father, Gerry, had died of cancer in 2010, and he had so wanted him to be there to share in a victory just like this -- and also that he was a new father.

And the rest was simply because it mattered to him.

Contrast that with the histrionics of golf star Tiger Woods, who drew much attention this week after throwing a temper tantrum on the green because he did not like how he was playing.

What a chump.

There are stories like this in every sport, and they carry with them a hint that perhaps these days heroes are not so hard to find, they simply are not the ones in the headlines.

Woods is no role model. His past behavior certainly reinforces that observation.

And his tirades this past week show that sometimes we get too caught up in the "star" factor and that, perhaps, there is more to being a champion than bringing home the trophies.

All you had to do was watch the ceremonial opening tee shots at The Masters to see true legends -- Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.

Those are champions -- not perfect, but certainly with a respect for the game and an appreciation for those who have come before and those who will carry on the tradition.

Woods might have the talent, but when it comes to class, he is not even in their league.

Published in Editorials on April 9, 2012 10:38 AM