An Epitaph for Tiger: Part One — By The Sports Philosopher

December 14, 2009
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 woods21     My girlfriend kind of ordered me to write about Tiger Woods this week.   I didn’t want to.   I wanted to write about the NFL, which offers up a buffet of tasty tidbits of athletic accomplishment every Sunday.   But she was adamant: “You absolutely have to write about Tiger!   That’s all anybody cares about right now!   This is the biggest story of the year!   You have no choice!”

      So here I am succumbing to the frenzy.   And I guess that’s the whole point.   You, me, all of us—We just can’t get enough of this guy, and his stable of cookie-cutter bedmates.

      First of all, let me clarify my headline.   I’m saying “Part One” because I fully intend to write a part two in about two or three months.   Because right now this story is too fluid, it expands and evolves daily, the tabloids can’t keep up with their own rumors, women are coming out of the woodwork like giggling Munchkins jumping out of bushes, and Tiger’s world, as well as the world of golf in general—a world he has held hostage for thirteen years—hasn’t even begun to push its way up from the ash heap of its nuclear annihilation to face the aftermath.   I need some time to give me the perspective of distance, to see if column two matches column one.  (I hope it doesn’t)   And speaking of annihilation, I chose the word “epitaph” because the Tiger you and I knew is dead.   Period.   What we get down the line will never remotely resemble the mechanical golfing assassin with the private life as Teflon-clean as a saint’s.   And as for the actual golf, he’ll never be as good as he was.   His spell is broken.   The days of utter dominance are over.   There will be emotional and competitive fallout.   Not to mention he’s taking some time off, never a good thing when you’re chasing history.   For the first time, I’m no longer 100% convinced he’ll break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 professional major championships.   (Now I’m only 98% convinced.)

      So for the time being, I’m just offering up a few knee-jerk impressions.

      I do find it interesting that there are so many similarities between the women.   That’s why I say cookie-cutter.   Have you noticed?   They generally look alike, sound alike, are big boobed, are not too bright, they are all either hostesses waitresses or prostitutes, they tend to deny being prostitutes just a little too vigorously, they all thought they meant a lot more to Tiger than just sex, they were pretty much all wrong about that, they all agree he was an aggressive and passionate lover (god help me), they all seem to think they were the only mistress he had even though at last count there were thirteen of them (They should form a girls softball team.   They could call it “Tiger’s Tomatoes”, or something like that.), none of them cared at the time that he was married, they all have hurt feelings over how dismissively he treated them, they are all broken-hearted, and they all seem bent on revenge.   It makes my head hurt.

       I also find this “taking some time off” thing interesting.   Looks like he might even miss the Masters tournament, which is in April.   Is that possible?   Would Tiger Woods really consider skipping the Masters?   If he does, it might signal the beginning of the end of his reign over golf.

      But I think maybe the most interesting thing about this whole tawdry mess is how the world’s most careful athlete, the world’s most privacy worshipping billionaire celebrity, a man who has excommunicated close friends forever from his inner circle for even the slightest breach of his personal security—a man who named his yacht PRIVACY for god’s sake—could possibly have been so ridiculously sloppy.    Steamy texts?   Voice mails left personally?   Using his own voice and his own name?   Are you kidding me?   Not to mention trusting his billion-dollar reputation to a bunch of impoverished gold-digging horizontal strangers.   It doesn’t make sense.   It’s as if he left bread crumbs for us, hoping, in fact wanting to be caught.   I don’t know what to make of all that.   I’m totally surprised at this kind of careless mind-numbing sloppiness.   I’m not the least bit surprised that a rich young uber-athlete would have multiple secret sex partners.   That—and the sense of entitlement and invincibility that goes with it—is an American sports tradition.   But I am surprised, make that shocked, that someone that careful could become that careless, that someone so smart would go out of his way to be so dumb.

      Okay.   Enough of the light comedy.

      Seriously.   All petty amusements aside, the thing that hits me hardest about the Tiger Woods scandal has nothing to do with Tiger Woods.   It has to do with us.   I don’t know about you, but I’m embarrassed.

      Because, like I say, I’m just as guilty as you are.   I follow the story.   I go on-line for the entertainment gossip.   I watch Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood and Dateline.   I know by heart the names of at least half of the thirteen or fourteen young ladies who have taken their brazen blackmail of golf’s cash cow to the public.   Yes, I like a good sex scandal as much as the next guy, I’m sorry to say, which, I guess, makes me part of the problem.

      And it makes me feel dirty.


      My friends, we are the ones who come out looking bad when something like this happens.   It has nothing to do with Tiger Woods or any other testosterone-driven athlete with a brain the size of a stegosauruses.   It has to do with what titillates us, what we care about, what we consider “news”.   Have you stopped to actually listen to the tone and to the actual questions coming out of the insanely grinning faces of the tabloid-employed interviewers of these sad young women?   These “journalists” who our mania for smut allows them to have jobs?   Makes me wonder what happened to the Human Race.   Makes me wonder when Mediocrity became the national religion….      

      I liked it better when we didn’t know anything.   I liked it better before the “investigative” media reduced our heroes to flawed human beings, whose flaws sometimes, due to money and a sense of entitlement, eclipsed our own.   I liked it better when I didn’t know Mickey Mantle was a chronic womanizer and a sloppy drunk.   I liked it better when I didn’t know JFK had the sexual morals of a rock star turned loose in a whore house.   I liked it better when I didn’t know Barry Bonds kept a mistress for nine years and was too stupid to know he shouldn’t have told her about his Steroid use.   

      So anyway, I don’t know about you, but as of today I am checking myself into my own little self-contained rehab.   No more Tiger trolling.   No more “entertainment news” TV shows.   No more sharing “breaking news” Tiger anecdotes with friends.   No more following this story like it was something important, like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, or the National League pennant race.   I’m going cold turkey on Tiger for awhile.   You should too.   Just say no.

      I’ll make it easy for you.   I’ll start.   Hello everyone.   My name is Brad.   And I’m a Tigerholic.”

      Having said all that, stay tuned for my next Tiger Woods column in a few months.   I’ll probably call it Epitaph, Part Two.

      In the meantime, there’s always the NFL for us to get our sports fix from.   (Could Indy and New Orleans possibly both go undefeated???)

brad-eastland1The Sports Philosopher

Brad Eastland is an author, historian, film buff, and sports nut;  in no particular order.   Brad’s other recent columns for LaVerneOnline can be found in Sports under ‘The Sports Philosopher’ and also in Viewpoint under ‘Brad Eastland’s View’.    He has also written four novels and over 20 short-stories.    Samples of Brad’s fiction work can be discovered within the links below :










One Response to “An Epitaph for Tiger: Part One — By The Sports Philosopher”

  1. With all due respect to your girlfriend Brad, she has it wrong.

    What it is, is “all people can read about is Tiger”, not “all people care about is Tiger”. I for one, liked it better when the off-the-field/course behavior of professional athletes was ignored unless it made the Metro Section. You know, like the rest of us.

    The sad fact is the onset of electronic reporting has brought the sometimes silly, sometimes salacious behavior of our Sunday heroes right up into our, (and our children’s), faces via our home computers. Oh goody. For my money, as sad and shameful as Mr. Wood’s behavior apparently was, it was his, it was at least consensual, and shouldn’t be anyone’s business but his and his family.

    It’s probably no small coincidence that I received my copy of Jim Bouton’s tell all Ball Four just about forty years ago this Christmas. As a (then) athlete, Bouton’s stories of drunken debauchery and all-night parties followed by a handful of speed in the morning to play both titillated and troubled me. And two questions stuck clearly in my mind: Why, I wondered, did editors allow the play of soft-core porn as reporting and why did professional ballplayers start families with years on the road ahead of them.

    Forty years later, those questions are still with me.

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