I am writing this editorial in response to Ms. Sylvia Schon’s smack-down on the media for coverage of the “Tiger Tale.” I have a slightly different take on it.
I met my husband Jake 12 years ago while I was working at Oak Knoll Country Club. Jake has been a member of the Professional Golfers Association of America since 1996 and has worked in the golf industry for almost 20 years. Before I started working at Oak Knoll and met Jake, I didn’t know the difference between a driver and a putter. And before I married my sweet husband, I certainly would have never been caught dead watching golf!
Times have changed, however, and I have even caddied in a few events for Jake. My television habits also have changed. Golf and Tiger Woods are now part of my daily life.
Over the years of his magnificent golfing career, Tiger has wowed me with his talent. He is one of golf’s greatest, if not the greatest. His Sunday afternoon dominance of those who look like they might challenge him never fails to amaze me. He is to golf what Michael Jordan was to basketball in the 90s. He will be a legend, even if he never touches a golf club again.
Tiger’s main problem is that golf is supposed to be the gentlemen’s game. Sorry, golfers are just held to a different standard due to the non-contact, respectful, handshake-after-the-round nature of the game. I know that not all golfers are gentlemen, but that is the image we associate with them. You won’t see many fists flying at a golf course, except maybe from spectators who have had a little too much fun.
Golf is supposed to be a game based on etiquette, sportsmanship and honesty. Golfers actually call rules on themselves and penalize themselves – I’ve seen it happen. You’ll never see a football player tell a referee that he can’t take the touchdown because he was indeed out-of-bounds. Again, I know that not all golfers are honest, but that’s what we expect. When we remember golf greats, we remember family men who kissed their wives when coming off the course.
We’ve seen Tiger kiss Elin – a lot. That makes it personal.
Another problem – Tiger at times has been less than gracious with the media, using his influence to control the media and to pick and choose which reporters he will grace with an interview. He oftentimes gives short answers and has definitely staked his claim on his private life, even naming his $20 million yacht “Privacy.” Basically, he slapped the media in the face with that little jab. Nobody can control the tabloids, however, and they pay big bucks.
Finally, Tiger flat-out lied on his own blog the Friday the incident took place, calling Elin a hero for her actions and saying that the media was being malicious and spreading rumors. Well … ?
Now people are having a lot of fun with the situation, circulating silly e-mail forwards and watching the Tiger-directed antics of late-night comedians. Before the truth came out, there was tons of speculation, and we all knew he was hiding something big. His blog entry basically called his readers stupid – no way could we have figured out that running over the fire hydrant and hitting that tree at 2 a.m. wasn’t a normal accident.
The truth is that he has positioned himself as a great, and with that comes responsibility. He has a foundation that promotes better lives for children. When he took that on, he took on the role model position.
No, I don’t want to know every detail. I feel very sorry for Elin and the children. I hate that she will have to explain this to them one day when they Google their daddy. It’s sad.
Elin has taken on a hero label; she’s just not Tiger’s hero. She may be the hero of every political wife who has had to stand by her man, smiling while he admits his transgressions. If my golfer pulled this, no one would be interested, except for me of course. And while I don’t condone domestic violence, I would at least entertain the thought of throwing a nine-iron through his car window.
Elin is now dealing with these domestic violence issues as well as the embarrassment of her husband’s actions. If she is understanding enough to take Tiger back, and for his sake and the children’s, I hope she is, she will now have to also help him fix his reputation while mending her own. She is going to have to answer for her actions as well.
I wish Tiger would have handled this differently. If he would have just come forward with the truth in the beginning and asked the public for our understanding, we my have had much more sympathy. He tried to lie his way through it, as he had done with his family. The media fought back.
Because he lied again, he now can’t face his public. Because he lied again, some of his sponsors are beginning to think twice. Because he lied again, the PGA Tour will lose millions in sponsorships and endorsements.
Do I care? Yes, I care. He has lied to all of us, and we are the ones who have paid money to help make him who he is. We didn’t make him talented, but we did make him richer through supporting those who endorse him, giving him more wealth than he ever could have had by playing alone. I'm extremely disappointed.
I hope a Tiger can change his stripes. I have a lot of respect for what he has done for the game of golf. Like Ms. Schon, I hope he is able to pick up his golf clubs again. And lastly, I hope he becomes a better husband and role model because like it or not, he asked for both titles.