Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Eldrick Woods: Human Being

Let's go ahead and get a few things out of the way right now.

Yes, Tiger Woods is my favorite golfer and favorite athlete period.

No, I don't think what he has all but admitted to doing is ok or should be looked at as anything other than wrong.

Now that we have those two points out of the way, I do have a few thoughts on this issue.

First, I don't believe we should all be that shocked that something like this happened. I know he's Tiger Woods and to this point the worst thing anyone could say about him is that he swears a lot on the golf course and occasionally throws a club in anger. However, given the extra-marital exploits of power players like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Bill Clinton, et al., can it really be a surprise any more when this sort of thing happens? I think not.

Second, think about what you actually know about your favorite athlete, actor, musician, etc., it's not really that much is it? Sure you know they're talented and you may know that they have a family and that their dog is named Buddy. But what happens with people behind closed doors is not and should not be for public consumption unless a crime is committed. And despite the fact that I don't agree with cheating on your wife, it's not against the law.

Now think about your next door neighbor and how much you know about them. Pretty much the same but with less famous-making talent right? You might really like your neighbor who always seems in a good mood and perhaps comes over to watch football with you on Sundays. The fact of the matter is that he could also be snogging some waitress behind his wife's back and you'd never know because he's not an integral part of the 24-hour news cycle.

Consider this. What happens if Tiger misses that fire hydrant and subsequently misses that tree and just drives off into the night to get away from an angry wife for a little while? Well for starters, TMZ and the rest of the seedy tabloid media aren't let loose on Isleworth and things continue on as they would have behind closed doors.

Perhaps cooler heads prevail behind said doors and quietly Woods and his wife work things out and convince the other woman involved to keep it to herself. No one is the wiser as cell phone messages are deleted in exchange for some hush money and everyone goes about their business thinking Woods is a swell guy.

Does that change the fact that he cheated on his wife? No, of course it doesn't, but the point is that things have a way of working themselves out one way or another and while some people get exposed, many others never do.

I've always been uneasy with how much coverage the personal lives of famous people get. I love sports, but I don't personally hold any of my favorite athletes up as role models or heroes. Perhaps I'm lucky/smart that way, but this sort of thing points out why Charles Barkley had it right all those years ago.

Is it in some ways disappointing to hear that Woods, father of two adorable young children, has been cheating on his outrageously gorgeous wife? To a certain extent it is if only because deep inside we all would like to think that our favorite famous people live story book lives, but that's just not the reality of the situation.

Woods, like the rest of us, is only human. That's not an excuse, it's just a fact.

So what does this change? In my mind very little, but certainly Woods stands to lose some fans who like to run to the moral high ground as if they've never exhibited poor judgment in their lives. Also, Woods will now have to deal with even more reporters asking even more nosy and somewhat inappropriate questions, something he bristled at the thought of even before all of this.

He most likely won't lose sponsors because he is the premier athlete-endorser of products in the world today and the cash cow for many of the companies who sponsor him.

He does however stand to lose a wife and perhaps custody of his children should Elin Woods decide to go that route, and you couldn't blame her if she did. After all, the only people anyone should feel sorry for in all this are Elin and the Woods children.

Ultimately though, like many before him, if he returns to competition and goes about dominating as he has for so many years, all will be mostly forgotten. He's still Tiger Woods after all.


  1. Right on, Adam. So, after 72 hours and a lot of reflection, I wish Tiger would have said "Sometimes you're a genius, sometimes you're a jackass..give me some time to sort this out and see which one emerges." Tiger has always played best under pressure, and he gets one chance here. Let's hope he can show the world of players how to come back from his worst private score. LRV

  2. People love to see stars make mistakes. It makes them feel better about themsleves. Feel good news that makes the front page longer than even 9/11.