Hey, Tiger.


You are Tiger Woods.

You are the reason, the only reason, I wanted to play golf as a kid. My dad, a used car salesman, and my mom, owner of a regional modeling agency, never played a single round (save some nights of putt putt at the local Hawaiian Rumble). I didn’t have a legacy membership at one of the many golf clubs in Myrtle Beach, nor did I have hand-me-down clubs from siblings.

Just a shade past eight years old, I was hanging out with my mom at a photoshoot at a local bed & breakfast. It was Sunday, April 13, 1997, and I was watching you make history at The Masters huddled over a 13” television while a makeup artist was sitting next to me touching up one of the models.

Instantly, I wanted to be like you. When I got my first cap that wasn’t associated with my favorite baseball/basketball/football team, you can guess what it looked like. When Santa finally adorned me with my first pair of golf cleats, he was smart enough to know I didn’t want a FootJoy logo on them. I never got your Titleist (or later Nike) clubs, but two out of three ain’t bad.

I’m not here saying I wouldn’t be a great golfer if it wasn’t for you, Tiger – because the fact is I’m not a great golfer at all, and frankly never have been. I’ve never broken 80, I don’t play from the championship tees, and I only made the golf team at Myrtle Beach High School my sophomore year as a sympathy selection after trying out (and failing miserably) the two years prior. Shout out to my teammates who played with me that winter, as you all waited patiently on many fairways while I gained an intimate knowledge of South Carolina flora in the nearby woods. But what golf (and you personally) taught me goes way beyond handicap. Vision. Self discipline. Competitiveness. How to talk to a bunch of old rich white guys. You were more of a positive influence on my childhood than you’ll ever know.

And you got this pseudo-only child excited about a sport that could entertain me solo for hours on end.

Just ask my parents, who cringed every time their son – sporting black pants and a red shirt in the middle of a 90 degree summer afternoon – would hook a ball left on the opening tee of the McCollum Family Golf Club [read: home] and accidentally graze a window. Were they terrified of my new summer hobby of working on my swing inside each night, carefully crafting a track for my steel-shafted clubs to narrowly avoid the family antiques (sometimes wearing rollerblades)? Certainly. But did they know golf was ultimately good for me? You bet, and you played a major part in that.

You are Tiger Woods.

For the next ten years, you being in contention on Sunday was as sure of a bet as the CBS coverage being followed by a new episode of 60 Minutes (except on the west coast, as Jim Nance reminded us). Your chip-in on 16 at The Masters in 2005 is the greatest golf shot of all time, and your 72nd hole birdie putt to force a playoff on your bum knee at the ‘08 US Open was just one of the many reminders we’ve been given that your greatness is limitless. You’re Michael Jordan with a collar. 

You are Tiger Woods.

Since that tournament, the 2008 US Open, it’s been a weird ride, hasn’t it?

I remember where I was when details of your personal life were released in ‘09. I was sitting in my Jeep, about to go to class at The University of Georgia. Jason Derulo’s “Whatcha Say” had just played, and a morning DJ was giving Athens, GA, his two cents on the developments. I remember feeling like one of my childhood heroes had been living a lie. I can’t imagine how Elin felt.

Although I forgave you, it’s never quite been the same. Between the injuries, the surgeries, the tournament withdrawals, and now the DUI, I keep feeling like my hero hasn’t been 100% with it. But that’s the underlying problem with heroes: they’re human, not super. You had relationship issues, just like many of us. Chalk me up in that group. You’ve battled an aging body that’s kept you away from the game you love, just like many all who came before you. And you got arrested on a DUI charge, just like 1.5MM do each year.

But that’s where our similarities end, Tiger. Because we’re not Tiger Woods.

You are Tiger Woods, and you need to remember that.

We weren’t on TV playing golf with Bob Hope at age 2. You were.

We don’t hold the record for most consecutive weeks as the #1 ranked golfer in the world. You do. 281 weeks, if you had forgotten.

We didn’t grace the cover of the EA Sports PGA Tour video game for 15 straight years. We just played it. As you.

Oh, and you won some golf tournaments, too. 79 professionally, as it stands right now.

I’m not here to say you owe it to us to come back next season and write your greatest chapter yet. After all you’ve given us, you don’t owe us anything.

But you have to try.

Because you are Tiger Woods.

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Thank You, Norelco 15LC


Somewhere between 1999 and 2001, I remember a trip with my mom and dad to the local Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Trips like this would typically go as follows: My mom and dad would start making the rounds in the grocery aisles picking up Great Value commodities, while I would make a dash to the electronics section to marvel at the latest television technology and play whatever video game was queued up in the PS2 display. I would find my way back to my ‘rents right about the time they were passing through the chips and soda aisle, and we’d be well on our way.

Occasionally though, the McCollums, like most American families, needed to re-up on items like toothpaste, shaving cream, and other items of the sort that were on the opposite end of Wal-Mart as the groceries. Me, on the precipice of puberty and already caking on Old Spice Pure Sport deodorant under my arms every morning, enjoyed these detours. These were opportunities for me to up my bathroom game, very important for pre-teen social status in suburban South Carolina. Polo Sport cologne: check. Aforementioned Old Spice: check. Globby hair gel that made your hair resemble a metamorphic rock: most definitely a check. But you (read: I) always wanted more. Maybe some premium P&G mouthwash? How about a non-drying acne scrub? Baby’s first Gillette razor? Us cul-de-sac kids considered these things acquirable luxuries. When friends would come over to spend the night, you were being judged, knowingly or unknowingly, on your sink-side stash (no ‘staches to judge just yet). So yeah, I was always in a good mood walking down these aisles. Plus, you got to walk by the condom rack when you were in the pharmaceuticals section. That was pretty cool as a kid, no doubt.

As a young pitchman, my ability to obtain these sink-side items was usually a dead end street. “Costs too much.” “I bet the store brand is exactly the same.” “You a’int got nothing to shave.” These were just a few of the near-rehearsed responses I would receive from Herb and Marsha. I felt like Ralphie trying to make a case for the Red Ryder in A Christmas Story, only without his Christmas morning miracle.

One occasion, though, I had a breakthrough in my pitch strategy that yielded amazing results – the results that bring me to writing this post.

To pitch effectively as a middle school kid in a middle class family, you needed to play up the long-term cost effectiveness, not just the short-term perceived gain. How is this going to help me, and how is this going to help you (parents). The razors, premium mouthwash, and better acne cream were a wash on these grounds, but for one item, it was gold:  a humble, entry-level $10-$15 Norelco hair trimmer.

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For me, a way to keep my sideburns in check in the halls of Myrtle Beach Middle School. For my parents, a way to go an extra couple weeks before dishing out the money for another hair cut. And money aside, a clean-cut me directly benefitted my parents socially too, as a well-groomed me in God’s house made my parents look like they were raising me right (They were…love you, mom & dad).

Sales strategies and childhood nostalgia aside, this love letter is intended for the people at Norelco, makers of the hair optimization device I’ve had for roughly 15 years now. This trimmer has been with me through puberty, dorm life, college transfer(s), and career moves. It has effectively eradicated hair on my sideburns, my cheeks, my neck, my shoulders, and my lower back – even my you know and what-have-you’s on occasion. In Johnny Cash terms, it’s been to Myrtle Beach, Conway, Columbia, Athens, Oxford, Atlanta, Austin, and New York – it’s been everywhere with me for well over a decade, and it still works. Sure, it’s got a short in the cord somewhere and I know I can’t hold it at a certain angle without it shutting off on me, but at this point, none of that matters.

IT STILL WORKS.

This trimmer, bought on a shelf at Wal-Mart for well under $20, should’ve broken down long ago. Surely there are some best practices on cleaning/maintaining this trimmer which I have yet to adhere to. Surely Norelco didn’t expect this trimmer to outlive most dog breeds (The University of Georgia was on Uga VI when I started using the Norelco. We’re now on Uga X – RIP, Ugas). And surely this trimmer isn’t good for Norelco’s bottom line because I still don’t need a replacement.

But that’s the way it is, and for that, I’m thankful. Thanks mom and dad for the gift, and thank you Norelco for the badass product. I’ll be back to buy 1-3 more of these before I die.

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Consider The Garbage Man: The Musical


He’s Tom, and I’m Cory.

And we don’t have much of a story.

We’re making ends meet

On the edge of our seats.

We’re garbage men.

 

We have a helluva truck

With unusable stuff.

The job doesn’t pay.

Another smelly day.

We’re garbage men.

 

But the garbage man life

Is actually quite nice.

Seeing your family at night.

Watching the sun always rise.

Writing this here ditty

After cleaning the big city

Is all we need.

 

But garbage men have ambitions too.

Polishing the South Bronx

For the School Of Hard Knocks.

Heads Of Sanitation

For the best cities in the nation.

Hashtag Goalz.

 

So let this be a reminder to all.

Do what you love and life will be a ball.

Every man’s trash is our utmost treasure.

If we weren’t paid, we’d do it for leisure.

We’re garbage men.

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Proud Dropout?


NYC Dropout
When our friends who’ve lived in New York City for a while bail for San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Portland, and other cities, we usually celebrate their time spent grinding away in The Big Apple, and wish them the best on their futures spent elsewhere. But if and when you leave New York, you can’t really say that you’ve defeated it – that you won. In some way, leaving NYC after beginning to shape your career here is quitting – on the city, on the lifestyle, and on the ideology (#NewYorkValues, maybe?). You, in a sense, dropped out.
New York is a different, and oftentimes tough environment to live in. We carry our groceries home in our hands. We do not push our groceries 100 yards to our cars. We’re not saying you’re an idiot for leaving. On the contrary, we’re probably the idiots for thinking this is the #bestlife. But alas, we’re still here, currently waiting to see if this winter storm brings one foot or two feet of snow, checking to see if the L train is still down, and trying to remember if April or May is when it usually gets warm again, while you’re likely researching the pros and cons of buying a hybrid and/0r checking the availability of your favorite wedding venue. Really, you’re probably in a better place. But you did kinda dropout of New York.
But hey, dropping out is nothing to cry about. Zuckerburg did it. Jobs did it. One of my college roommates did it, though he’s not a case we’ll dig into. What I’m saying is, dropping out of NYC is honorable, and something worth celebrating.
NYC Dropout 2
The idea is “NYC Dropout.” Much like alumni attire given to you by your alma mater, but with a bit of edge to say that you’re proud that you said “to hell with New York!”, or something along those lines. If you’re into this idea, hit me up, and we’ll make some shirts. Maybe you’ve got a friend who’s leaving town, or maybe it’s you who’s calling it quits. Either way, rocking one of these could be a fun conversation starter at CostCo and Sonic.
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New York Presbyterian Hospital Spot


When a 93 year old woman says bitch, I listen.

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June 10, 2012 · 10:02 pm

Miller Lite Selects Familiar Song for New Miller Time Spot


Miller Lite recently relaunched their tried and true “Miller Time” campaign with a series of new spots. One of those spots features a very catchy song, How You Like Me Now, by The Heavy. It’s the classic case of a great song becoming discovered by being paired with a high-profile commercial with a heavy media spend supporting it. I had yet to hear of the song or the band before hearing it during a commercial, and after hearing it in the ad I thought about the brand every time I heard the song.

The problem for me (and Miller Lite) is that I first heard this song in the 2009 Super Bowl spot for the Kia Sorrento, not the 2012 spot for Miller Lite.

Why do brands feel the need to latch on to songs that have already been used in very prominent ads? Think about the reach the Kia Sorrento spot had. Don’t you think it would be smart for Miller Lite to select a song that people don’t already associate with another brand? And even if you didn’t associate the song with Kia, you probably had already heard that song by now, right? I think it would have been a much better play for Miller Lite to go with a track that was cool and felt right to listen to before a night out on the town, but had not yet been discovered. If they did that, people would hear the song and associate it with Miller Lite, and they would look at the Miller Lite brand and think, “Damn, these guys are purveyors of awesome music.”

Often times, music gets overlooked during the production of broadcast spots, and that’s not a good thing. When you treat the music selection for commercials as an afterthought, you increase the chance of your commercial becoming an afterthought.

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Will time heal Gregg Williams’ wounds?


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Former New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams faces a serious image problem right now. When you lead a bounty program that promotes and awards injuring your opponents, people are obviously not going to be very happy with you. Of course, as the old saying goes, “Time heals all wounds,” right? In the case of countless celebrities and athletes, you’re damn right it does. Look at Tiger Woods. He went from an O-zone-piercing high to a burrowing earth worm low.  Of course, like so many before him, Tiger rebounded from his version of rock bottom and salvaged his career. With that said, I think Gregg Williams faces an even steeper uphill battle than Tiger faced. The reason? Gifts. Not monetary gifts, as I don’t think that would have changed Tiger’s public perception for the better, but emotional gifts – memories. Do Saints fans associate the fond memories of the 2009-2011 teams with Williams, or do they associate it with the players? Gifts are why Tiger Woods was sure to get a second chance, and the same reason why it’s going to be tough for Gregg Williams to ever get that chance.

In this day and age, a character issue is not even close to a career-killer for athletes. Even instances of cheating in some cases can be forgiven if the player admits to his or her mistake and learns from it. (Come clean, Roger Clemens.) The reason is that athletes (in a very raw sense) are products that bring millions of people happiness. Tiger Woods fits the mold perfectly.

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Tiger Woods cheated on his wife Elin hundreds (if not thousands) of times, and he upset a ton of people who looked up to him, myself included. With that said, he’s the single biggest reason I took up the game of golf as an adolescent. Sure, I lived in a golf-happy town with great deals for kids wanting to learn, but ultimately it was Tiger that made me want to play – his fire, passion and intensity made golf fun to play and watch, even at age 8. I distinctly remember watching the final round of the 1997 Masters, and I remember multiple occasions where I took my pitching wedge into the yard in the middle of 90+ degree summer afternoons in Myrtle Beach wearing black pants, a red polo and a black Nike cap. He was, and still is, awesome. He gave me so many gifts – so many fond memories from my childhood. After the details of his unfaithful personal life became public in late 2009, I wasn’t happy at all, but I knew I would get over it. It has been a little over two years since the scandal broke. Sure enough, I’m completely over it and extremely stoked to watch Tiger face off against Rory McIlroy this week at The Masters.

It’s rare for a coach to have that kind of connection with the general public, although it isn’t unheard of – just look at Joe Paterno. Did the late Joe Pa make mistakes in regards to reporting the child sexual abuse scandal involving his longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky? Of course. Do I think his inaction will hurt his legacy in the long term? Absolutely not, and it’s because of all the wisdom he gave over the years to his players, fans of Penn State and the general public. Like I said, though, coaches like Joe Pa are scarce, and I don’t think Gregg Williams has ever had the likability of a Joe Pa.

Arguably the biggest play of Super Bowl XLIV came late in the fourth quarter when Saints defender Tracy Porter intercepted a Peyton Manning pass and returned it for a touchdown, essentially sealing the Super Bowl for the Saints. When Saints fans think of that play, do they think of the incredible play call by Gregg Williams, or do they think of Porter snatching the future Hall of Famer’s pass and sprinting untouched to the end zone for the game-clinching score? My guess is the latter, not the former, and that is essentially the problem that will make it much tougher for Williams to repair his image than any of the Saints defenders that played under him.

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