Have We Really Forgiven Tiger Woods? Perhaps Not.
Updated: Jul 15, 2022
UPDATE: I'll keep this brief, and I think I've made it pretty clear that I am not now, nor have I ever been a fan or even an admirer of Tiger Woods from afar, but I would like to point out in all sincerity and honesty that Tiger Woods' most recent disaster truly defined him as someone who is truly untrustworthy and unworthy of the praise that is constantly given to him. I can never understand why often times in sports, network pundits and sportswriters from ESPN and other media outlets, feel the need to cling to past glory to such extreme and seemingly endless proportions. Obviously we have seen it with Tom Brady in football, and it's no different with Tiger. I don't know if he was liquored up, hopped up on pills, or possibly even sober during this most recent car accident that for all intents and purposes, probably should have cost him his life. It did cost him one very shattered leg, and undoubtedly much of the pain that this obviously causes, but I just want to ask everybody to ponder this for a moment. Did you read the police report? The guy was traveling over 90 MPH on a known, windy and dangerous road that many others had been hurt on before in the middle of a weekday afternoon, a school day. I'm a teacher, so as you can imagine, there's no way that you can tell me that an actual responsible father of young children, or any kind of reputable sports star (and so-called hero), didn't know this. Was he late, was he in a hurry? Who knows, but these are situations and circumstances that we ALL have to face every day. He was certainly forewarned, but once again, his pathetic decision-making skills (or lack thereof) took over, and his absolutely abhorrent actions can never be commended or forgiven in any way whatsoever. In my mind, it's strike three buddy. I'm sorry, but you're out, and I hope you can all agree with me on this. ESPN, please stop praising this former champion, because there's a reason why he not only loses at golf now, but also loses at life. And he doesn't need to look any further than the mirror to find out that reason. Sometimes it's time to simply let go.
April 2019-20 Dateline: Some beach in Florida, Feb. 2010? The news has broken, and at long last the truth has been revealed about this once great sporting icon! Text messages to who? A little black book, what? How many names were in it? Where was he, and how much did he pay to hang out with that girl? Is she an Australian model, or just some TV actress? A cocktail waitress in LA? I never even heard of that chick! What?! What’s this guy doing?! Escorts, hookers, call girls, when does it end? Vegas, Miami, LA, New York? Isn’t he supposed to be married? Elin Nordegren, is that his wife? Wait, how many kids does he have? Oh God, What?!?! How many women did he sleep with? What year was that? Why is CNN interrupting our regularly scheduled programming in the middle of the day on a Wednesday?! This isn’t about the Obamacare health plan debate? No, wait, this can’t be, this can’t be happening!! I mean, what’s his mom doing there? I know he’s loaded, but this guy’s a golfer for God’s sake! “He let down his family values with this behavior!” No shit! This is supposed to be a gentlemen’s game, isn’t it? A 4-time Masters champion! No! This can’t be… can it?! “And now he’s even blaming his late father for it,” another woman says as she strolls out of a courtroom. Soon after, he’s getting in car wrecks hopped up on drugs and alcohol! Cuts and bruises, he can’t play in his own tournament! “Quitting golf for good to fix his marriage!” Serves him right! Can this be real, or is this some sort of circus fairy tale? Of course it can, I mean, just look at the guy. I always knew he was a weasel. I think he cheated to win all those tournaments. Jack Nicklaus, my ass! I knew this guy was no good! And we could go on and on and on about the scandal that was, and still is? Tiger Woods? Once a cheater, always a cheater, or a sex addict was it? Excuses, excuses, excuses. Why can’t these rich athletes just admit to themselves who they really are? And why should we forgive them for their transgressions? But alas, over the past 8 years we have seen a complete transformation of a celebrity, and his fall from grace, turning him into, can it be?…. a normal person?? No longer a super hero, we have seen Tiger become mortal. We have watched his back injuries, and other surgeries and minor setbacks make him look older and older, and more and more mortal - almost to the point where we feel bad for the guy. It even got to the point where one could say, he simply cannot compete anymore with the likes of this new wave of young, talented golfers like Spieth, Day, Fowler, Johnson, Koepka, and others who have made mince-meat of the once great icon. “I need to be a better man than I was before,” says the veteran of at least 22 mistresses, 5 girlfriends, and a few other “mystery women”, on record that is. “I need to atone for what I’ve done,” he says. I’ll say, and I think most of you will catch my drift here. We’ve heard so many excuses from Tiger over the years - most of which deal with his actual game, more so than his personal life. There have been those countless injuries, and discussions on “how he feels” before a tournament. I don’t recall ever hearing so much about how an athlete feels before competitions, do you? I mean, Michael Jordan had the “flu game” in the NBA Finals in what would turn out to be his last Finals game ever, but I don’t think we ever heard him say, “my pinkie hurts,” going into a regular season game, or we never heard Barry Bonds say, “I have a headache,” in between a day/night doubleheader, or Joe Montana say, “take me out coach Walsh, my elbow hurts!” Of course, fast forward to the “epic” Tiger vs. Phil “The Match” on pay-per-view in late November of 2018 in Las Vegas. A match in which both players were coming off their first halfway decent finishes in any golf tournaments since 2013 (5 years! - Phil having just won the WGC-Mexico and Tiger having tied for 2nd at the Valspar Classic), so they of course needed to immediately capitalize on this success. A $9 million, winner-take-all affair, that was actually botched up so badly that the PPV aspect disappeared altogether, and the match streamed for free. It was highlighted by side bets whose winnings were donated to charity, but I guess the whole thing was meant to entice us all to believe that “Tiger and Phil are back!!” Actually, the event’s promoter was quoted as saying the match would be, "played the way a lot of us play with our buddies on the weekends? You know, where you bet on everything and talk smack and basically have this continually running dialogue of, pardon the expression, giving each other shit.” (www.wikipedia.com) Really, have we actually come this far with these guys? (And recall Mickelson also, despite his golden good boy image, had some pretty serious troubles himself while being investigated for insider trading by the IRS, just a few months earlier). Have we actually gotten to that point with these two? Especially Tiger? Have we really actually forgiven the likes of something most of us guys all dream about, but probably couldn’t even imagine, much less live? And of course Tiger’s still loaded, and he can still date the likes of a Lindsey Vonn, an olympic skiing champion, and now it’s another beautiful young woman, or pretty much anyone he’d ever want to date, right? And now he’s got his 2 kids and has paid his dues to society and his estranged ex-wife Erin, so he’s in the clear now right? But I just have to ask you all - what has really changed people, that should make him look so good in the spotlight? Is he really getting better, is he cured? Is he getting humbler and humbler, can that be so? I suppose in the end, deep down, we always want to see just that normal human being, that perfect gentleman, that decent guy, that nice guy, a good father. Not sure if we'll ever quite get that with this guy, whether on or off the course, but hey, he’s trying right? Isn’t that what we’re all doing? I doubt it. Maybe we can put him in a category with a Dustin Johnson or a Josh Hamilton, both former drug addicts who cleaned up their acts and did better. Yeah, that’s it I think, that's got to be it! But wait, I would always prefer someone who has been decent all along, someone like say, a Roger Federer, or even those young and up-and-coming golfers I mentioned earlier like say, Adam Scott? Awww screw it! Phil seems more decent than Tiger to me anyway, despite some of his shady IRS dealings, and I guess he won the head-to-head, so he’s definitely better, but hey, now they’re talking about doing it again! Only this time with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning! And despite surgery after surgery postponing comeback after comeback, and excuse after excuse covering up 10-stroke loss after 10-stroke loss, we may never see the “old Tiger” on the course again either, but is that really such a bad thing? In these days of the #metoomovement (domestic violence) and sexual harassment running rampant with “heroes” like Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and Kevin Spacey running amok, we’ve got to be careful. Tiger was only a “sex addict” you know, but not a sexual predator, thank God!! Nevermind all those flashy cars and private jets and oceanside mansions, he’s just like you and me right? Well, I guess this is the “NEW normal”. We’re all TV stars aren’t we? I’m reminded of a talk show I saw Kris Jenner on, where she was talking about going to the grocery store and buying vegetables - she even played “The Price Is Right” with the audience! See? We’re all celebrities nowadays!. Dateline: Augusta, GA, 2019: The long wait is over! Tiger smiled as he sunk a putt to cap off his first tournament victory in about 5 years on Sunday, and found himself clutching the Master’s trophy one more time, and yet somehow becoming more human in the process. (Yes, I do believe it will be his last major - I simply don’t think he can climb that mountain again!), but for one brief moment of glory on a beautiful, April day at The Masters, Woods ended his 11-year drought of winning a major title. I guess you can say we forgave him after all, right? We forgive you Tiger, and AMEN to decency, I always knew you’d find it again! I think? I hope? Well everybody, I guess I’ll leave you to ponder that very question, and please do get back to me with an answer as soon as you possibly can! Maybe by the end of this pandemic when all great sports and athletes will be back! And good luck buddy, you deserve it!!