Home > Uncategorized > Grabbing the Tail of the Tiger…

Grabbing the Tail of the Tiger…

Tiger Woods, that enigmatic ladies man who has either spent the last two months in a Mississippi sex addiction clinic, or in space, has called a press conference for tomorrow. Presumably, he will appear and read a very lawyered statement, which will pave the way for his return to golf in time for the Masters. He has already said that he will not take questions, which is fine although having a few trusted scribes ask beach ball questions might have been prescient.

Nonetheless, already this news has brought a litany of reactions. Ernie Els was quoted yesterday as saying,

“It’s selfish,” former U.S. Open and British Open champion Ernie Els told Golfweek magazine. “You can write that. I feel sorry for the sponsor. Mondays are a good day to make statements, not Friday. This takes a lot away from the golf tournament.”

Really Els? Really? Much like all the other golfers who’ve thought that the world needed their opinion on Tiger Woods over the last three months, Els needs to shut up. Whatever they might think of him personally, golfers need to remember that their bottom line has increased immeasurably over the last fourteen years because of Tiger. I don’t mean an extra thousand here or there, I mean exponentially. The popularity that Woods’ brought to golf has meant that prize money has expanded more than Rex Ryan’s waistline. For someone like Els, who has been successful throughout Tiger’s prime (although not head to head), that’s a lot of coin in his South African pockets.

I’m not saying that Woods should be beyond reproach by other golfers, I’m just saying that the golfers need to be aware of what he has done for them, before they start throwing around words like selfish. After all that his presence has meant to the well being and livelihood of guys like Els, is it selfish for Woods to hold a press conference, at ELEVEN AM no less, on the same day that a tournament is being played? Really?

And, how exactly is Woods’ statement taking away from the tournament? Do you actually believe that the thousands upon thousands of people who will be following what Woods is saying were going to be watching and fervently discussing the Match Play? Sorry Ernie, despite the public’s rabid excitement over your play, we weren’t. In reality, when Woods is finished his press release, at say 11:20, some who might not otherwise have tuned in to the tournament, having been reminded that there is golf without Tiger, might flip over and watch a little. To claim that he should have done this Monday, that he owes the other golfers, or the tournament sponsor*, in any way is just dumb. So please Els, do yourself and everybody else a favor and just shut up.

*(ED. Note: The sponsor released a statement today that said they were in full knowledge of Woods’ press conference plans and that it was timed, again at ELEVEN AM, so that it did not conflict with the tournament. Or, put another way, they told Els to suck it.).

Then there’s SI’s blowhard Michael Bamberger, who writes,

Tiger Woods is a world-class control freak, and in his re-entry into public life — which has showered him with wealth and opportunities and trappings that we can only imagine — he is picking up right where he left off. He controls all. He’s the same way with his golf ball. He tells it exactly what he wants it to do.

I don’t want to come off as a Woods apologist here, because while I certainly watch golf almost entirely because of him, I don’t have any special pull towards him, but I do want to bring a little perspective to this situation. Lets remember what Woods has done here. He has been unfaithful to his wife, numerous times, but… He hasn’t murdered anyone, he hasn’t hit Elin, he hasn’t been buying, using, or distributing crystal meth, he hasn’t been driving drunk, heck he hasn’t even been driving down the highway with a shotgun attached to his back. He has slept with women to whom he is not married. That’s it, that’s all.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning infidelity. If the Bride were to make a cuckold of me, I would be extremely distraught, but that’s the point. This is Elin’s tragedy. Not ours. Elin’s. Tiger Woods has to make restitution to Elin, and perhaps the penalty will be more than he can repay. But what the penance for his crime shall be, is something to be determined between the two of them. There is nothing more to this than that. Sure, Woods has been a fool and as a public figure he has opened himself up to ridicule and that’s all fair, but Woods does not owe us anything.

But in the meantime, he’s getting off on the weakest of notes, with this non-press conference in a ridiculous palace that pays homage to all the excessiveness Tiger’s gaudy Phase I brought. On his first step back, he’s showing that he has all the cards, and you and I and all the people who like golf and are fascinated by what he’s done in the game, well, we have none. Don’t blame Steinberg for this move and don’t blame the high-priced polo shirts at the PGA Tour. This move has Tiger Woods written all over it.

Michael, seriously, when you slip off your high horse, I hope you hit a soft patch of grass to cushion the fall.

I said above that I thought taking a few gimme questions would help Tiger and I think it would, but as Woods reenters public life, he doesn’t owe us those questions. We don’t have a right to know who he slept with, how many times, where, when, why. We don’t even have a right to know what happened that mythical Thanksgiving night, or where he was for the past three months. It’s the TMZ inside all of us that wants something more from Woods. We want to know the lurid details and then we want to have him atone to us, so that we can feel smug at his descent. Unfortunately, we don’t get that right.

This doesn’t mean we have to continue to follow him, buy his endorsed products, or cheer him on the golf course. We have every right to decide that as a “cheater” he isn’t the type of person we want to cheer for and support. That’s the public’s choice. That’s what we control and that’s all we should control.

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