A tarnished Tiger

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

Adam Speirs, one of perhaps a handful of Manitobans who have ever spoken with Tiger Woods, said his view of the golf superstar has changed.

"I look at him now, and I don't see who I believed he was supposed to be," Speirs said yesterday from Houston, where he will begin play today in an Adams Golf Pro Tour Series event.

"Obviously there's a creation in your own mind of what somebody is, and that's obviously been helped by the management team of Tiger Woods.

"But now, even seeing him in a commercial or seeing him in a print ad, just seeing him anywhere kind of makes you shake your head and say, 'Man, this is such BS.' That's the way I look at it."

Speirs rubbed shoulders with Woods at the 2002 and 2007 U.S. Opens. Speirs played behind Woods during a practice round at the 2007 tournament in Oakmont, Penn., and a picture of them together is on the 31-year-old Winnipegger's Facebook page.

Now that Woods is embroiled in a cheating scandal that has rocked more than just the golf world, however, Speirs sees the worlds' top player in a different light.

"I was a huge Tiger fan," said Speirs, who is three years younger than Woods. "I wanted him not only to win every event that he entered, I wanted him to win every event he entered by 10, just to see how dominant he was.

"... He's different in my eyes now. Whether that's right or wrong, I don't know, but that's the way it is. Whether it'll change in a year, I don't know."

The Manitoban who has likely spent the most time with Woods is Winnipeg's Rob McMillan.

They played together in about half a dozen college tournaments in the mid-1990s, when McMillan was at New Mexico State and Woods at Stanford.

'State of shock'

McMillan is in no position to comment on his former foe, however, because he now works for Nike Golf Canada, whose parent company is a primary sponsor of the world's No. 1-ranked golfer.

"Everybody's probably more in a state of shock at the moment," he said.

McMillan, who is Nike Golf Canada's territory manager for Manitoba and Saskatchewan, believes it would be best for golf if Woods returns to action quickly so that the sport can move on.

"I hope for golf that he hopefully comes back sooner than later, because I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't come back for a long time," McMillan said.

"The sooner he comes back, the better."

Speirs said Tiger talk continues to dominate in the U.S., but it's even more intense among his co-workers on the golf course.

"It's unbelievable down here," he said.

The rumours are flying, and so are the jokes.

"A lot of these guys thought they needed to work a lot harder to start beating Tiger," Speirs said. "Well, apparently they just needed to go have a lot of fun.

"It was like, 'What's Tiger's secret?' Well, maybe the secret's out of the bag."

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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