The publicists of Andre Agassi, Roman Polanski David Letterman, and the Duhamels (Josh and Fergie), must be clicking drinks in light of all of the buzz around Tiger Woods. The best golfer of this generation who has charmed us with his desire to succeed, his ability to win despite adversity (race, injury, fierce competition) has announced an indefinite leave from his sport to rebuild his family post-scandal. In the US, ‘Tiger Woods’ is the #1 Search term – proving that despite his professional success, Americans share an appetite for scandal and stories that portray how the “mighty have fallen”. During a business meeting that I attended earlier this week, one of the senior executives in the room shared her secret obsession with the celebrity and commented on his growing list of women as she performed multiple searches (one link brought her site to a grinding halt due to a spybot). SNL, CNN, Tiger’s fellow competitors have all taken their jabs, but I feel like now is the time to give him some privacy and let the man figure out his next steps.
With power comes responsibility and Tiger needs time and privacy to give himself a real hard look in the mirror and decide what he owes to his family and the general public. He has brought a new legion of fans to golf, the same way that the Williams Sisters have brought new fans to tennis. His dominance has made Tiger a household name and a magnet for sponsors. We come to expect him to live up being a role model, a model athlete and a champion on and off the golf course when you consider his charitable efforts. He dealt with the death of his father infront of us, and also proved he only needed 1 leg to win a major. From where I sit I have no idea of the pressure associated with trying to prove yourself again and again, pleasing sponsors and fans, silencing critics…(I won’t even attempt to dive into the race factor), but I could imagine that the pressure is intense. To release that tension with the likes of the women that he has been linked to (and the vulnerability shown through those text messages is astounding). I can’t help but believe that something is missing — in himself. Maybe he has yet to come to terms with the death of his father? Maybe with all of this fame and money, he believe he should have access to whatever he wants? It’s quite possible that he didn’t have a chance to sow his wild oats before the fame. Maybe he was always a sex addict, but his desire to be the best far outweighed the former? I don’t have the answer, but I respect what the sports networks have said in Tiger’s defence – they only cover sports and nothing else. We should adopt the same approach – accept his apology, let him figure out how he will be accountable to the media and the public and most importantly, his family.
Spare a thought for Elin, mother of Tiger’s kids and sits at the center of the scandal. Since Thanksgiving she has had to deal the publicity around all of the sordid details of the affairs, the raunchy sex and the calibre of women that Tiger has found comfort in while he’s on the road. I don’t know if she knew of the affairs prior to the outbreak, and frankly it doesn’t matter. She still entered the marriage knowing that her financial status for love or otherwise would change forever. Is there enough money out there to take away what she’s going through right now? Elin and Tiger need time to figure that out and determine how to tell their children what has happened so they can respond to it as they get older.
Get caught up on the latest jokes at the Woods’ expenses and then turn away. I know we would all be mortified if the tables were turned and the media lens was pointed to us instead.