Thursday, April 08, 2010

It's complicated.

I've always had a hard time explaining exactly how I feel about Tiger Woods, and the shenanigans that have come to light over the last five months only complicate my feelings.  Part of me despises the guy, while part of me can't help but cheer for him. 

I've never met Tiger Woods, so my opinion of him is completely based on his behavior on the golf course and during interviews.  And his behavior has always bugged the crap out of me.  First of all, the guy has always acted like a whiner and an entitled brat on the course... whether it's swearing, slamming clubs, or scowling after a bad shot. Tiger has always left me with the impression that he thinks it's the fault of the ball, the club, the lie, or the spike mark when a shot doesn't end up in the fairway, on the green, or in the hole.  He could never accept that it was (sarcastic gasp) his fault.  His defenders will point to his extreme competitive nature.  That's a cop out.  Other golfers are just as competitive, and the most don't behave that way.  Other Wood's apologists will imply that because the camera follows his every move, his outbursts stand out more compared to less notable golfers.  Again, I don't buy it.  On Monday, Tiger vowed to tone down his on-course antics, but I didn't see a noticable improvement during the first round of the Masters.

As for Tiger's recent off the course exploits, they bother me. But not for the reasons they bother most.  I'm not a moralist.  I'm not going to judge the way others live their life.  On top of that, I've covered sports long enough to know that a large percentage of professional athletes, if not a majority, cheat on their wives and girlfriends. What bothered me most about Tiger's sex scandal was the hypocracy of it all.  Tiger worked very hard to cultivate an imaged that portrayed himself as buttoned-down, morally-sound family man.  He was the exact opposite.  He was a phony. And I don't buy that he's a sex addict.  Again I'll preface, I don't know the man.  But I think Tiger sought sex rehabilitation mostly to expediate the rebuilding of his image.  It's much easier for the public to forgive someone that claims to be an addict.  Addiction implies the subject can't control his/her actions.  And it sounds better p.r.-wise compared to the alternative conclusion... that Tiger is just another sex-crazed male with power.  Chris Rock said it best... a man is basically as faithful as his options.

I'll give Tiger this... he's paid a steep price.  He's acted genuinely remorseful and appears to accept responsibility for his actions.  Still, the reception Tiger received at Augusta on Thursday was a little too warm for my taste.  He was applauded not just warmly, but as loudly as ever.  I wish it would have been a little more icier, if you will. I didn't want, or expect, people to jeer or boo.  But it just seemed like he eased right back into his comfort zone amongst the fans a little too easy.  It wasn't much of a pennance, considering the huge distraction he's become for the game of golf.

But here's the strange part.  Having said all that, I root for the guy on the course.  I can't help but be amazed when he hits a great shot.  I couldn't wait to see Tiger's first tee shot at Augusta.  Maybe it's just because I like to see golf played well, and tournaments are so much more interesting when Tiger is in contention.

Like I said, it's complicated.



lgold said...

I don't think you give men much credit...I think there are some good and faithful ones out there!

Anonymous said...

A very thoughtful and honest response to the situation. Thank you for sharing.