Much has been said and written about Tiger Woods in recent days. I have listened to several news reports, read several more, and listened to my wife and mother about what they thought about what has been revealed about Tiger's very public sins. Now, I want to share some thoughts about the whole Tiger Woods media frenzy.
First, I must admit I am a Tiger Woods fan. I am not usually a frontrunner or a bandwagon fan, but when it comes to golf, I guess I am. I feel like I grew up with Tiger. I followed his career for years before he began the PGA Tour. And when he went pro, I rooted for Tiger to be the best ever.
I like several things about Tiger's game. I love that he can spray his drive off in the woods somewhere, shoot an impossible approach shot, and end up with a birdie. From the beginning, Tiger has played a rock and roll style of golf in a profession that has often been more like a Benny Goodman concert.
Not growing up with a lot of wealth, I admired folks in golf that did not fit the mold of the typical golf pro. People like John Daly, who is as redneck as they come. I also root a lot for Rich Beem and I used to be a big Chi-Chi Rodriguez fan. Tiger's game fits less into the typical mold. He has made a way for himself on the golf course, and changed the way the game is played.
On the other hand, I was not always a fan of the way he played. His four-letter word tirades at fans and cameramen wore thin. Although I loved the visible passion he played with, grounding clubs and throwing things while he was golfing made me ashamed to root for him at times.
Now, when I heard the news about Tiger I was not all that surprised about hearing that he cheated on his wife. Anyone who has Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley as his running buddies should expect to find themselves in some compromising situations. I did not approve of his behavior. But, I thought who Tiger Woods has sex with is really none of my business. As I watched the story unfold, I kept wondering why people would not just let the issue go.
Through the last two weeks it has become apparent that the Tiger Woods drama will not go away. And now, Woods has taken a leave of abscence. If I was Tiger I would have managed things totally differently.
Here is what I would have done:
1. I would have made a public appearance soon after the accident. Even if I was forced to bringing in camera people and a news reporter, I would have made a VISIBLE statement. I would have shared something to the effect of "I have made so many mistakes, many of which will only be known me and those closest to me. I have cheated on my wife. I have betrayed the trust of my fans. I cannot make things right. I can try to be a better man. I hope you will give me the space to do that with my family, and the patience to earn back your trust after I get my personal life taken care of. Thanks for all your support"
He needed to be seen visually by people. He wasnt. He needed to get ahead of the story instead of having it trickle out ahead of him. He didnt.
2. I would not have said I was going to take time off from golf. Idle hands will only lead to more temptation and emotional distress for the Woods family. It is not coincidence this happened in the off-season. Instead I would have said that I was limiting my appearances and reevaluating my life in such a way that I would only particpate in majors and in tournaments where I could be at home at night. A self-imposed house arrest for Tiger will not help Tiger's marriage. I will not help his image either.
3. If I was Tiger, I would work to reinvent my image to be commensurate with who I am. I would allow myself to be recast as the villian of the sports world and the golf world. I would star in commercials that poked fun at my mistakes. I would be very blunt with those who criticized me about my mistakes, and come up with snarky comebacks to put them in their place. I would be more difficult with the media. I would get a tatoo or two that was visible on the golf course. I would be the Man in Black of the PGA tour. The man that everyone hates. The antagonist of all the pretensions that are a part of the golf world. Later, as I worked on my marriage and family at home, I would hope to reinvent my image again in four and five years, pointing to what I had overcome and the good I have done in the community with my foundation.
What do you think? Do you think the whole Tiger Woods thing is truly newsworthy? Do you think there are racial dynamics in how the story is being covered? I would love to hear your thoughts.