I have not been a Tiger Woods fan over the past two decades. I was tired of hearing about him in every breath as if no other golfers existed.

After a humbling series of personal setbacks and some serious physical issues completely trashed the mental and physical parts of his golf game, the four-time Masters winner and the winner of 14 major tournaments was a shadow of his former self in recent years. He was frequently missing cuts and was reduced to an also-ran, falling to a PGA ranking below the 1,200th best golfers in the world. Woods resigned himself to the fact that he was done when he needed help getting out of bed. At least we wouldn’t have to listen to the cockiness during interviews anymore. After several surgeries, a year off, and a very intense rehab program Woods came back on the tour last year as an average player. However, you could see improvement each month. He even won a big tournament to close the PGA season last year.

Coming into the Masters earlier this month, most pundits thought he would do well, but he was a long shot to win. However, Woods was always around the lead, he kept his temper down, and played steady, smart golf.

I found myself subconsciously pulling for Woods to close the deal from late Saturday forward. Two bad breaks by the leader, Fransesco Molinari, gave Woods the opening he needed half-way through the round Sunday and he never gave it up. A commentator during the last round Sunday mentioned that Molinari, who played rock-solid golf for three and a half rounds, would be the first Italian to win the Masters. That didn’t even phase me.

It was good to watch Tiger release 14 years of frustration afterward while hugging his mother, kids, and friends. It was also good to see a bit of humility as he spoke afterward.

Rebuilding Notre Dame

TENS OF MILLIONS WATCHED IN SHOCK last Monday as flames overtook the iconic Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. The scene was gut-wrenching for those who held the 12th century landmark in a special place in their heart.

The French have held the Gothic structure in reverence for centuries as the epicenter of the country.

It’s understandable that emotions would run high while the embers smoldered. There is no way to compare that loss of history to anything we have as Americans, or as a functioning piece of history for those without a religious affiliation.

Those emotions combined with a wide-ranging reverence for the Catholic faith have already generated a billion dollars in pledges and contributions to rebuild Notre Dame. With all due respect to those tremendous nods of generosity and to the most faithful of Catholics who hold the cathedral at or close to the level of the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City, it may be a good time to step back and get some perspective.

A lot has to be considered. What would be the purpose of a rebuild? To what scale? What would it accomplish? Whom would it satisfy?

Salvaging what is possible from the stone facade and rebuilding part of structure to house salvaged artifacts and to offer function, pride and historic reference/reverence is obvious.

But to what degree?

Much of the structure was not original work. Elements were added over the centuries. A major restoration project took place in the mid 1800’s which is when the cathedral’s iconic spire was installed.

So aside from the salvageable stone work, they will attempt to rebuild some of a 12th century landmark with 21st century materials. Will it have the extensive bling? What significance or reverence would that hold?

Add to that there will be a groundswell of anti-religious, anti-history, zealots that will protest revisiting the oppressive history of the Catholic church and the France that was. They will argue against that direction and will lobby for a more tolerant and multicultural interpretation, anything that veers away from Christian, white, and patriarchal.

That angle aside, shouldn’t the logical focus of a faith-based response be on a respectful and worthy restoration with some emphasis placed in more spiritual areas? Investing an overly-exorbitant amount in a building with the sprawling spiritual and physical needs of so many could be considered irresponsible.

Thinking about how this opportunity can positively, but modestly reflect on church history, AND address more pressing needs of mankind is most important. A few hundred million should easily cover a restoration.

After all the clatter and clutter of opinion and emotion is set aside, there will be time to contemplate on what the restoration should mean for then, now, and in the future.

Since the sacred focus should ultimately be on what He would want, not us, the real question to consider might be, What Would Jesus Do?