The second most significant thing Woods did this year was get that putting lesson from his friend Steve Stricker. (Everybody in this world needs a friend.) The single most significant thing he did was post those snaps, posing with his new lady friend, Lindsey Vonn. He's moving on. So are we.
Bobby Jones was despised by the locals when he first went to St. Andrews to play in the 1921 Open. The bratty American wunderkind. Thirty-seven years later the townspeople stood for him and sang, "Will Ye No' Come Back Again?" Alastair Johnston, Arnold Palmer's business manager, will remind you that Fat Jack had a long metamorphosis en route to becoming Uncle Jack, happy to tell you about his days as a stoner (or one night anyway) and the depth of his feelings for Palmer and Player and the game that made them all. Golfers tend to hang around. Especially those who have won at Augusta. Give Tiger time. That is, years.
And if he starts winning majors, let's agree not to god him up again, O.K.? In April 2009, Billy Payne, the Augusta National chairman, talked about Tiger as a "very, very special person." A year later, posthydrant, he was a "very special player." The fact is, Tiger is an exceptional golfer, probably the best ever. If you're looking for more than golf skill from him, you're looking for too much too soon. Regarding that office pool sitting on your screen right now, we offer only one thought: Tiger at Augusta in 2013 will face the same problems he faced in '09, '10, '11 and '12. He wants it too much, and he needs it too much.
As for the broader question—to root or not to root?—some guidelines. How connected are you to Jack's pointy-collared past? To his enduring grace? To the prospect of seeing Tiger fulfill his childhood dream? To witnessing sporting history?
We know: not very helpful. But you can figure this out. Just sort through your whole life experience. Or go with your gut. There's no wrong answer. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Here come our holy days.