My Take on Tiger

As a journalist I have a job to do. As a journalist covering a specific beat I have a job to do. However, as a fan, I have a more important job to do. I will fulfill them in that order.

Florida police have closed their investigation of golf superstar Tiger Woods’ s Thanksgiving car accident. He has been issued a citation for $164 and four points towards his license. There. That’s what’s new in this story.

Now to get to my “social media and the future of news” obligation. Tiger Woods handled the situation without consulting typical media outlets. He did not hold a press conference. He did not answer reporters’ questions. He did not even make himself available to the police for a statement. He informed the public of all he had to say about his accident through his web site. Talk about skipping the middle man, ie. the future of sports news. Here is what he had to say:

“As you all know, I had a single-car accident earlier this week, and sustained some injuries. I have some cuts, bruising and right now I’m pretty sore.

This situation is my fault, and it’s obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I’m human and I’m not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn’t happen again.

This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way. Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.

The only person responsible for the accident is me. My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false.

This incident has been stressful and very difficult for Elin, our family and me. I appreciate all the concern and well wishes that we have received. But, I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be.”

Many members of the media have criticized Tiger for not saying more. Many have said that he owes the public and his fans a more honest explanation of the event that occurred early Friday morning outside his multi-million dollar home. To these members of the media I have one thing to say: Tiger owes us nothing.

His accident is a private matter. It involved one vehicle, his own, and no one besides himself was hurt. He does not have to, by law, make a statement to police. He did not break any laws, besides some minor traffic infractions, and alcohol did not play a part in the accident, according to police. He does not have to tell us why he was leaving his home at 2:30 in morning, either.

Sure, I want to know as badly as the next guy what really happened that night. I want to know why he left his home, why he crashed his car a stone’s throw away from his driveway, why he had cuts on his lips and face, why he had blood in his mouth. I want to know it all.

Without making the situation any less vague, Tiger does leave himself open for speculation. I have speculated a bunch myself. Maybe he was leaving his house to go get a microwave burrito from the gas station down the street and in his haste he neglected to put his seat belt on and even forgot to turn at the end of his driveway and subsequently drove his Escalade right over a fire hydrant and into a tree.

Maybe his daughter was sick that night. He was in a rush to go get some medicine, perhaps some Pepto Bismol, so his daughter could sleep soundly and he could have peace of mind when it was time for him to go to sleep that night.

But maybe, just maybe the rumors that have surfaced in the last week about his infidelity are true. Maybe his wife got liquored up on Thanksgiving and after putting their children to sleep, she started an argument with him. Maybe she accused him of sneaking around with a woman from New York, like the tabloids are saying. Maybe she sucker punched Tiger right in the mouth, causing blood to be found there later by police. Maybe Tiger decided to get away from here and clear his head. Maybe while he was getting into his SUV his wife began to chase after him, golf club in hand. Maybe as he got half way down the driveway she caught up with him and smashed through his back window. Maybe she then fell to the pavement because she swung the club with such velocity. Maybe Tiger was concerned for his wife and the mother of his children’s well being so he turned around in his seat to see if she was all right. Maybe then he drove over the fire hydrant and crashed into a tree. Maybe he never got a chance to put his seat belt on and banged his head into the steering wheel and was knocked unconscious.

We all can choose what we want to believe. I know what I believe, and I think I made that pretty clear. The fact of the matter is, if Tiger does not want to clear up any speculation about it he does not have to. We should respect his and his family’s privacy in dealing with this private matter.

There are members of the media demanding answers and demanding that he tells the public exactly what happened, saying that his fans deserve to know all the details. What kills me is that all sports journalists started out as fans and now here they go torturing this poor guy who has done everything in his power to please them – as journalists as well as fans.

Tiger Woods is one of the classiest athletes to ever grace this earth. To my knowledge he has never shied away from an interview, rejected a fan’s request for an autograph, or left the 18th green without shaking his opponents hand – win or lose.

In an era where athletes are being arrested for driving while under the influence, incarcerated for running illegal dog fighting circuits or shooting themselves in a night club, using steroids, being caught with controlled substances, and beating their wives – here’s Tiger; as clean an athlete as we’ve ever seen and probably will ever see.

We have seen him at his best – winning major after major, getting his first green jacket, beating Rocco Mediate on one leg, driving the ball further than you or I could even dream of doing. We have also seen him at his worst – mourning the loss of his father on national television, and now this; a potential house-breaking, family splitting clusterfuck that is all over the news.

To anyone that thinks that Tiger Woods owes us something, anything at all – he doesn’t. We may actually owe him a thing or two.

But perhaps that’s just the fan in me.


9 Responses to “My Take on Tiger”

  1. 1 Jeff W
    December 2, 2009 at 1:51 am

    Thank you! This is the most cogent and articulate article written about this Tiger incident in the past week.

  2. December 2, 2009 at 1:57 am

    Alex Martin…you just stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam! Nicely done.

  3. 3 Dave Edgar
    December 2, 2009 at 2:28 am

    As always, A.Martin Sports getting it done. Excellent perspective on who owes who. Everybody screws up. Let’s just deal with our curiousity (thankfully, you have helped to satisfy mine with your vivid hypohetical) and show RESPECT. And might I say, Alex, very nicely written!

  4. 5 Rubin
    December 2, 2009 at 3:13 am

    Amen brotha

  5. 6 Christina Griffin
    December 2, 2009 at 3:34 am

    I completely agree! I am so sick of covering this story at work…if the same thing happened to any regular Joe…it wouldn’t even make the news.

  6. 7 Gerry Ashley
    December 3, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    With all due respect…

    I agree with you to a point. Celebrity puts one in the public eye. It’s the price of fame. When you make as much money as Tiger does, it enables one to buy back some of the privacy lost via living in an exclusive neighborhood, behind a gated community.

    I’m not sure when this was written, but it was posted yesterday. I’m going to assume it was written before the floodgates opened with the bimbo in California going public with the voicemail.

    That changes things. A LOT. Tiger has as much as admitted (on his web site) that he’s been unfaithful. He’s not denying the authenticity of the voicemail.

    He has forsaken his wedding vows, and now it seems not just with Bimbo #2. It doesn’t matter how many, it matters that it happened at all. And all the “Well, after all he’s just human like the rest of us,” doesn’t cut it.

    Any of you who want to buy into the public image of Tiger can continue to do so. But we now know the truth is, the emperor has no clothes.

    Here’s a man who has it all: Fame, fortune, a stunning wife and lovely daughter. Hundreds of millions of dollars a year are his for playing a game, and endorsing anything from toothpaste to sports clothing. When is enough enough?

    I used to work in the Rock industry, I won’t bother to name names, but suffice it to say I worked with one of the most famous American rock bands in history. And we toured with some of the other rock elite. THere were ALWAYS girls ready to throw themselves at bandmembers and their entourage. A few members of the group were married. I was proud of how most of them avoided the groupie issue. Some didn’t, however, and I can personally attest to the devastation of those family members who had to endure the cheating. There’s simply NO EXCUSE for it.

    Tiger has had a storybook upbringing, a father who doted on him. He knows right from wrong and its now obvious he CHOSE wrong… and apparently for a fair amount of time. Are there others? It doesn’t really matter. Look what this is doing to his family.

    The truth? Tiger Woods APPEARED to be the classiest guy in sports. The REALITY? He’s a dirtbag like so many other athletes and celebrities who have it ALL… but never enough. He should fall on his knees and beg Elin for a second chance to be the man his image touts. Then, he should get therapy with her and rebuild the trust and relationship. And yes, he should be allowed to do this in private. As for us?

    We were duped. Get over it. He’s not the saint you thought he was. Don’t make excuses or try to spin it. People who cheat on their spouses and family do not deserve your excuses. They deserve scorn until they walk the walk back into honesty and integrity. Tiger’s got a long walk and he’s just on the first hole. I want to believe he’ll get there. I’m confident he CAN. But HE will have to do this for himself.

  7. 8 DeFlip
    December 4, 2009 at 7:16 am

    Solid article my man. Just one complaint on this end… When you state that you “…Want to know as badly as the next guy what really happened that night,” I’m just a slight bit curious as to WHY!!? Honestly, Tiger is an amazing athlete and the best that will ever play the game. But that is all. I pay my cable bill in order to admire his golf skills. I try my best to learn a thing or two from his swing and course management abilities but I need not concern myself with his personal life, especially not when it comes to his driving record in a vehicle that I despise him for possessing in the first place, outside of a house that is worth more than the GNP of most countries. Guess what I’m trying to say is that, well, its no surprise that life is short and I have my own problems, issues and goals to focus on without being concerned about those that are more fortunate than 95% of the world population… Just my $.02… keep up the good work though buddy.

  8. 9 DeFlip
    December 7, 2009 at 6:34 am

    One more thing… I have to applaud Gerry’s post as well. Very articulate and creative if I must say so myself. However I have to STRONGLY disagree with your granting of a reconciliation to Tiger for his actions. Althouh dwindling, I’d like to believe there are still a great number of people in the world with honesty and integrity that would never treat life as such a joke as Tiger has with these stunts… I mean, judging by the latest voicemail he left on that woman’s phone, Tiger is not and never will be trustworthy. It’s one thing to be as selfish as to get caught up in multiple affairs when you have love from a family and wife such as his, but it is ENTIRELY another when you go out of your way to continue to lie and decieve even ater you are suspect. Not only should Tiger’s wife not give him a second chance but she should divorce his sorry ass and take the kids with her! Tiger Woods became one of the best athlete’s in history by being 100% devoted to every aspect of the game of golf; unfortunately this must have inhibited the development of much simpler, yet much more fundamental skills of life… in particular the ability to be appreciative and be greatful for the things that matter most in life. Shame on you Tiger Woods… looks like Jack just passed you on the all time great list… you are both phenominal golfers but the Golden Bear was a truly a class act, not simply putting on a front.

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