The reason Americans love sports is that it’s the one spiritual experience you can have with a beer in your hand. We might be about to hack our way through an hour at golf lessons didsbury but we appreciate how the pros do it. We are a fractured, atomistic, self-regarding culture, but we connect through the shared experience of watching humans do superhuman things.

Usain Bolt demolishing his own 100-meter world record by over a tenth of a second. Federer and Nadal smashing miracles at each other for five hours at Wimbledon. Landon Donovan reviving U. S. soccer in extra time against Algeria.

So, as Tiger Woods approaches Augusta — the errant knight returning to hallowed ground — there is going to be one question on the minds of his followers: Will he be able to redeem himself?

The answer reveals far less about Woods than about us and the strange hypocritical puritanism that is infecting our sports religion.