Not being a golf fan, I watched exactly 0 seconds of the Masters Championship over the weekend. I did, however, hear about the victory speech given by some guy named Zach Johnson because it made for good radio fodder today.
Apparently, Johnson is a Christian of faith so he did the whole thanking God thingy that pro athletes seem to find so appealing. "I'd just like to thank the Lord for helping me to (make that shot, stop that shot, catch that ball, knock down that ball, insert relevant sports action here)."
I've never understood this. I suppose I can grasp the concept of a player thanking God for giving him/her guidance, moral fortitude and the strength to avoid the familiar pitfalls that see a lot of athletes show up in as many police lineups as they do commercials.
The idea, however, that God favours any particular athlete or team is ludicrous. I once wrote, and still believe, that the media should ban any and all references to supernatural powers being involved in their triumphs. The only Angels in the outfield have to put their cleats on one foot at a time just like all other players even if Vladimir Guerrero's hitting is occasionally otherworldly.
Johnson, for instance, is 31 years old. His Masters victory was a complete fluke; he'd won one other tournament in his career. However, his victory was not that unusual; unknowns have certainly captured majors on numerous occasions, especially in the past few years with courses being constantly redesigned to overcome technological changes.
In golf, if God favours anyone, it's Tiger Woods. He's the winner of 12 majors, well on his way to setting the all-time records for everything golf related including career earnings and married to a super hot Swedish babe. Tiger doesn't thank God when he wins because he knows his victories are crafted from natural talent, physical abilities, his instincts to put opponents away and hours upon hours of relentless practise. I don't really like Tiger Woods as a personality inasmuch as he's been pretty much invisible on important issues around the game and society, particularly equal rights, but I give him credit for rarely stooping to the traditional media pandering and cliched responses to everything.
In sports, players on all teams thank God all the time. But, would God really let the New Jersey Devils win several Stanley Cups if he cared about sports?
Mr. Johnson should remember that Sunday was also Easter. So, on the one hand, God's got the Pope reminding him of every damn thing that's wrong in the world and, on the other, he's got some no-name golfer wanting to wear a green jacket and take home a big paycheck. Benedict represents 100s of millions of Catholics and is decrying poverty and violence; Zach Johnson wants to upgrade the designer label on his plaid golf pants.
I'm thinking God might have had more important things to do on Sunday...which is probably why Tiger Woods didn't win the Masters.