February 19, 2010

Tiger & the Flying Pig

"Tigers love pepper. They hate cinnamon."

—Alan Garner (Zach Galifianakis), "The Hangover"

Hmmm, I wonder if Tiger ever met an exotic dancer named Cinnamon? ...

Anyway, the Tiger Woods kabuki theatre continued today with Act III—The Public Apology. The sports media is now abuzz with varying critiques of Tiger’s performance:

Was he sincere enough?
Did he sound genuine or scripted?
Should he have looked at the camera more?
Did he get all of his lines right?
Did he apologize to all the right people?
Why wouldn’t he answer questions?

On many levels, I don’t give a flying pig about the Tiger “scandal”. To me, Tiger is a great golfer, nothing more, nothing less. Tiger is not a role model. I don’t buy or do anything because he endorses a product or service. I don’t know Tiger, and nothing he’s done has affected me personally, so he certainly doesn’t owe me any explanation or apology. My only expectation from Tiger is the chance for a thrilling round of golf on the weekend of a golf major, with maybe a breathtaking shot or two thrown in.

Frankly, I’m baffled. Why is America so obsessed with this story? Tiger is not the only athlete to exhibit an inflated ego and sense of entitlement; in fact, an outsized ego seems almost de rigueur for professional athletes. Tiger is not the first, nor will he be the last athlete to succumb to the temptations of his wealth and fame, whether those temptations are women, booze, drugs, or gambling. Really, the media is intoxicated on the heady brew of an overly self-righteous sense of judgment, cashing in on America’s favorite pastime—schadenfreude of the rich and famous.

It is indisputable that Tiger’s womanizing was wildly inappropriate and incredibly hurtful to his family. But, Tiger didn’t commit a crime, nor did he betray a public trust. So, how does his rakish behavior affect anyone other than his family? Why do we in the public need to know how many women, whether they have pictures or tapes, and the intimate details of how they hooked up? Why does the public in general and the sports media in particular feel entitled to know everything that happened, and assert the right to judge whether Tiger is handling the situation correctly?

At the end of the day, this entire sordid situation reflects poorly on Tiger’s character, but it is irrelevant to his ability to play golf. So enough with the media coverage. Let Tiger deal with the situation in private, with his wife and family. Only Tiger’s wife can judge whether Tiger is truly remorseful, and decide whether their marriage can be salvaged. The sports media and the public need to move along and stop rubbernecking at the Tiger train wreck.


  1. you're mostly right on about Tiger (he certainly does not owe me--nor you--an apology), but he's wily enough to know that if he ever wants to recoup those endorsements he has to give the right amount of mea culpas to put Nike, Accenture, Gatorade, etc...at ease.

    The fact that he was today's top story only confirms for me the fact that his worth as a commercial vehicle is what drives this story. The whole world stopped at 8 am today to hear what he had to say, and nothing he said means anything to anybody except his wife and the marketing machine that depends upon him.

    Personally, I can't wait to see how his return to golf will go. Will he be the "bad guy in a black hat"? Will he be embraced as soon as his first birdie drops? It should be interesting.

    On a side note: I really enjoy your blog. I know you get paid to write (legally) for a living, but your prose (poker-related or otherwise) is quite enjoyable.