Nike's Tiger Woods Ad Got It Fundamentally Wrong

Op-ed: Woods is no longer the superhero we knew; he's a mere mortal, and that's better
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2019 12:22 PM CDT
Nike's Tiger Woods Ad Got It Fundamentally Wrong
Tiger Woods reacts as he wins the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Augusta, Ga.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

No sooner had Tiger Woods won the Masters than Nike was out with a nostalgic ad celebrating his greatness over the years. At the Wall Street Journal, Jason Gay worries that it's a sign we're about to make the same mistake all over again with Woods—mythologizing him into a superhero. That's a big reason his fall was so spectacular: A larger-than-life figure was felled not just by personal misdeeds but by the physical breakdown of his body. Then, a funny thing happened: Woods became human. "After setting impossible standards, he grew accustomed to failure," writes Gay. "He failed in small ways and spectacular ones. He began to show a little self-deprecating humor (!) and humility (!)." Woods readjusted his goals to modest ones, like playing without pain, and "in the tiniest way ... he became like the rest of us."

That's where everything stood before Sunday's remarkable victory. Woods in 2019 is a much different person than the Woods who redefined the game in his 20s, and "that’s why it’s a mistake to simply rev up the nostalgia machine and act like Tiger Woods is back to being Tiger Woods," writes Gay. "This is why Nike’s new commercial, which revives the 'beat Jack Nicklaus' story line—as if Woods’s career is just one, long, unbroken mission—is more than a little tacky and utterly misunderstands the moment." Woods is no longer a superhero, he's human, so let's keep it that way. Click to read the full column. (Or read about how some fortunate gamblers struck it rich on Sunday thanks to Woods' win.)

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