I've finally gotten around to reading the text of Tiger Woods's two-minute speech at the Lincoln Memorial. (I've been waist-high in Mai Tai's for the past week in Hawaii.) I love reading speeches. Some of my favorites: Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Martin Luther King's Jr.'s "I have a Dream," Jesse Jackson at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. Tiger's was clearly not intended to be a speech of that magnitude, but still, I was disappointed.
I wanted Tiger, a bi-racial American who has gained international crossover appeal by breaking down barriers in a lily-white sport, to say that he was proud that he lived in a country that had finally elected an African-American president. Instead, the speech sounded canned.
"My dad was a Special Forces operator and many nights friends would visit our home," Wood said, sounding nervous and uninspired. "They represented every branch of the service, and every rank. In my Dad, and in those guests, I saw first hand the dedication and commitment of those who serve. They come from every walk of life. From every part of our country. Time and again, across generations, they have defended our safety in the dark of night and far from home." (The complete text is here.)
I get Tiger's affection for the military, and I admire it, but if I were his speechwriter, I would have had him at least mention what he has in common with President Obama - their bi-racial heritage, their ability to bring Americans together, their affection for the game of golf. He could have also offered the leader of the free world a golf lesson.