Mar 21, 2010, 12:30 PM EST
Mike Bianchi will not stand idly by any longer while Tiger Woods continues to sully the pristine reputation of the city of Orlando, by, you know, continuing to be an intensely private person and stuff.
In his column published yesterday in the Orlando Sentinel, Bianchi goes after Woods for, among other things, treating Orlando as “merely his tax shelter; not his hometown,” despite the fact that Woods has lived in the city for 14 years.
“Thanks, Tiger. For nothing,” writes Bianchi, because in his eyes, Tiger owes Orlando an enormous debt of gratitude solely due to the fact that Orlandians have granted Tiger the honor of living amongst them all these years.
The dismissive action by Woods towards Orlando which appears to have finally set Bianchi off on his tirade was the egregious act of electing to return to competitive golf at The Masters and not at next weekend’s Arnold Palmer Invitation, which just so happens to be held in Orlando.
Tiger has gotten favored treatment here by our cops, our media, even our Perkins waitresses, and this is how he thanks us. It will be the stuffy, stodgy Green Jackets at Augusta National that get to host the most eagerly anticipated sporting event in decades. It will be the TV partners of Augusta National that get the enormous ratings that will come with Tiger’s return. It will be fans at Augusta National who will buy their tickets, flock to the golf course and get to witness history.
How could he! How dare Tiger base his decision of when and where he returns to the PGA Tour only on what he believes to be most appropriate? That’s the definition of selfish as well as the ultimate affront to Orlando, people.
To be clear, I understand these insecure displays of provincialism all too well, being a resident of Minnesota and dealing with the “will he or won’t he?” contract negotiations of Joe Mauer. The “he’s one of us, therefore he owes us” belief is as absurd as it is pointless. Joe Mauer, as is the case with Tiger Woods, should only feel compelled to do what is best for him, not for the people who happen to share the same zip code as he does.
Further, Bianchi seems to be harboring a decade-old grudge against Woods, going back to when he came up with the brilliant idea of honoring the golfer for his “Tiger Slam” with a parade in Orlando, an event which the private Woods declined to participate.
“L.A. has parades for the Lakers,” I wrote then. “New York has parades for the Yankees. Guess what? We could throw a parade to beat them all. Because we are not just the home of any champion; we are the home of the greatest champion on the planet, the Master of them all.”
Hood was all for the idea if I could get it arranged. “We would like nothing better than to honor Tiger, our hometown hero, with something like a parade,” she said.
I then eagerly went to Woods’ people with the suggestion — a parade right down Orange Avenue with floats, Mickey Mouse, ticker tape, Tiger riding in the back of a convertible, the works. And here’s the response I got: “Tiger is not really interested.”
So, Bianchi writes a column years back extolling the virtues of his wonderful idea for a parade, but when Tiger doesn’t go along with it – no matter what the reasons may have been – Bianchi not only takes it personally, but considers it “arrogant” and is proof positive that “this city means nothing to Tiger Woods.”
Jeez, this Bianchi guy should maybe take it down a notch or two. Sure, as he points out, most of Tiger’s charitable causes operate out of different cities and his tournament is held in Washington, D.C., but does that mean he truly hates Orlando? Why would he have chosen to live there if he did? Perhaps he chose to live in Orlando because he loved the city and, as a compliment to its residents, felt that they were the friendly, civilized kind of people who would respect his privacy and allow him to go about his daily life with minimal interference.
The nerve of the guy, huh?
Scorned Orlando Writer/Parade Organizer Calls Tiger Bad Orlando Citizen [Trailing Tiger]
What has Tiger Woods ever done for Orlando? [Orlando Sentinel]
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