So you're tired of seeing Tiger Woods glorified on cereal boxes,
on billboards and in TV ads. Then you won't be thrilled to hear
that John Ziegler, a radio talk-show host in Philadelphia, has
placed Woods in an even loftier pantheon--the loftiest, in fact.
Last year, on April 1 (not coincidentally), Ziegler launched
tigerwoodsisgod.com, the website of The First Church of Tiger
Woods. "We are simply providing the evidence," says Ziegler, a
self-proclaimed "recovering Catholic" and agnostic. "It's
mounting every day."
The latest of the 23 pieces of that "evidence" presented by the
site reads, "The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen each of
the last 20 times that Tiger has completed a U.S. tournament,"
while an earlier entry compares Earl Woods's calling his son "the
Chosen One" with Jesus Christ's leaving it to others to proclaim
his divinity. Like any church, the site has a weekly prayer, Ten
Commandments (No. 1: "Thou shalt not wear red on any day but
Sunday"), sacred music (Ode to Joy plays when you log on to the
home page) and interpretation of Scripture. How to apply
"Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child" (Proverbs 22:15)
to Tiger? "Obviously, this passage refers to Tiger's wildness off
the tee as a youth," declareth the site. There's also a
reverential photo gallery that includes pictures of "Prophet
Earl" and "The First Mother" Kultida, as well as one of Jack
Nicklaus with Tiger that is captioned "The Old and New Testaments
Ziegler receives 20 e-mails a day. Some correspondents find the
site hilarious; some, outraged, see it as sacrilegious; and
others mistake it for the web page of a dangerous cult. Ziegler,
a scratch golfer, is not surprised that the site has touched a
few nerves along with funny bones. "Golf is a very spiritual
game," he says. "If God were ever to come down as an athlete, it
would be as a golfer."