We all know that Twitter can be annoying. Its cacophony of voices screaming 24/7, its herd mentality taken to the nth degree and its perpetually haranguing (and harangued) character @realDonaldTrump hovering over it all, like a big orange balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.
But there are some people who are tailor-made for Twitter, and who make it all worthwhile. One such person is in the spotlight this week because he has traveled across the pond, all the way to France, to cover the Ryder Cup for Golf Channel.
OK, that is way too generic a way of describing what Tiger Tracker does for a living. @GCTigerTracker, who has somehow managed to keep his real-life identity secret, follows Tiger Woods for the benefit of the legions of golf fans around the world who find Tiger to be the most compelling character in sports.
Here’s a peek at Tiger Tracker’s Twitter profile:
Tiger Tracker, or TT as he is affectionately known by his 330K+ followers, had the good fortune this year of following Tiger Woods, professional golf’s version of Rip Van Winkle, who had been sleeping for five years following a succession of failed back surgeries and is now back on the course playing to a level that he and his fans could have only dreamed of him achieving as recently as nine months ago.
But Tiger Tracker didn’t just benefit from this good fortune, he seized it. His 34,500 (and counting) tweets are the perfect amalgam of in-the-moment cheerleading for “our man,” chortling at PGA Tour-related foibles, champing at the bit for Tiger’s next conquest and checkmating those who try to out clever him in 280 characters or less.
Just this weekend, one of TT’s followers asked him: “What would be doing if our man’s back surgery hadn’t been a success?” “I shudder to think,” was TT’s candid reply.
I started to follow Tiger Tracker early this year, just as Tiger Woods began his at-first very tentative comeback. Even then, TT struck just the right tone, wanting Tiger to do well but unsure – like all of us – exactly how he would adjust to 2018 tour competition.
As the year progressed, and Tiger started to play better and better, TT did get a bit ahead of himself. Again, just like us and frankly just like Tiger himself, TT very badly wanted more than just contention. He wanted a victory. When Tiger got agonizingly close at Carnoustie and again at the PGA Championship at Bellerive outside St. Louis, TT was in Twitter agony himself, as were those of us who follow him.
I went for a long bike ride on the Sunday afternoon in mid-August when Tiger was on the top of the leaderboard (until he wasn’t) in Town and Country, MO. The ride was a good one, but my stops got more frequent as I felt a hunger to stay on track with Tiger Tracker. Ultimately, we all were disappointed in the outcome, but TT had just the right amount of empathy for “our man” and for us.
If there are two other qualities that Tiger Tracker has in abundance, they are perspective and good humor. This past Sunday night, in the afterglow of Tiger’s 80th career victory at East Lake, TT tweeted: “Don’t thank me. Thank him. But thank you. All of you (except for the ones I blocked.)”
For those of you who wonder whether now’s the time to follow Tiger Tracker, there is no time like the present. The Ryder Cup, with all its continental and nationalistic European and American pride on the line, starts this Friday at 2 AM ET just outside of Paris. TT is there, and he will be tweeting real-time from all of Tiger’s matches, whether they are alternate shot, four-ball or singles.
I know you would enjoy TT whether you are a golf fan or not, but fair warning: if you don’t like him and try to tell him why, be prepared for some of the subtlest yet sharpest putdowns on the planet in return. Tiger Tracker has patience, but only so much for Twitter prima donnas.