While I was writing about and live-blogging the U.S. Open this weekend, I wrote the word “Tigerbole” twice to describe the media hyperventilation over the greatest golfer of this generation, maybe ever.
Now, while I patted myself on the back for that little neologism, I knew that somewhere, someone had to use that word before me, right?
Well, yes. Sort of.
The Google search for Tigerbole nets five results, and two of those were mine, one on this blog and one a carbon copy of what I wrote here posted in the Deadspin comments section.
The other two that link to uses of the word were a second-sentence mention from a media column in Sports Illustrated about the coverage in the 2001 Open, and a Knight-Ridder piece you can’t see in full without a valid library card for the system.
The fifth just shows that tigerbole.com should be a valid domain name, but if you have any concept of what the word “should” means, you need not click on that link.
So I’m left to wonder why this very simple, aurally pleasing perfect rhyme for hyperbole that describes a phenomenon we’ve seen time and again this millennium has failed to gain traction.
I mean, five results from Google? “Spaghetti Alpha Wyclef shovel” gets 2,890.
And it’s not like this word’s not going to keep getting used to describe media behavior; Pat Forde and Gene Wojciechowski both had front-page columns for the Four-Letter’s website about Tiger and the Open, the wonderful Steve Elling, who wrote for the Orlando Sentinel for a number of years, had a good piece at Yahoo! Sports, and SI.com has a link to a Golf.com article ranking his major championships. (And, oh, yes, this counts as Tigerbole. This, too.)
How deafening is the hype going to get when he gets to and past Jack Nicklaus’ 18 major titles, or makes another serious run at the Grand Slam in 2010 with a ridiculous track (Augusta-Pebble Beach-St. Andrews-Whistling Straits) for him?
I say very, and that’s why I hope this word sticks around.
So I leave you with my definition:
Ti·ger·bo·le (n., \tī-ˈgər-bə-(ˌ)lē\): extravagant exaggeration of or relating to American professional golfer Tiger Woods, esp. by media figures.
Come and get it, folks. (Update: You may not need it until 2009.)
But remember where you heard it first.