The Emancipation of Tiger Woods
“It’s now up to me to make amends, and that starts by never repeating the mistakes I’ve made” Tiger Woods apology speech on Friday Morning
Over 90 days and three months later, golfer Tiger Woods went public and tried to come clean after his dirty laundry was aired to sports fans all over the world. Woods, the 34 year-old child golf prodigy, was involved in a high profile car accident last November, where he crashed his SUV into a tree at the married couple’s estate in Florida. Tiger’s reign as the country’s best golfer was tainted due to stories linked to his infidelities by women claiming to have had affairs with him. His wife Elin has been silent and out of the public since December.
The media, critics and everyday people have had their take on “Tigermania” over the last three days, and quite frankly I’ve been a little bit disappointed in how people have been continuing the negative comments about Woods. Golfer Ernie Els told a reporter from Golf Magazine on Friday, “It’s selfish…..you can write that. I feel sorry for the sponsor. Mondays are a good day to make statements, not Friday. This takes a lot away from the golf tournament.” Els even took shots at the commissioner of the PGA Tim Finchem, claiming Tiger is the savior of the PGA, something short of a fallacy. “It’s like Tim has lost his head. He wants Tiger back in the worst way and so he lets this go on. I mean, we all want to see Tiger back, but this doesn’t look good.” Or, pro golfer Tom Watson in a KSHB-TV television interview in Kansas City, Missouri stated “he will be back at some point this year. But it’s really up to Tiger to get his personal life in order, and his golf is really secondary. It’s bad for our game. It’s something he needs to get control of and a handle on and make some amends and show some humility to the public when he comes back.” Watson later added, “his swearing and his club throwing, that should end. That’s not part of what we want to project as far as the professional golf tour is concerned.”
The blatant disrespect and childish comments from these golfers and members of the peanut gallery need to take a “chill pill!” Right now, can you tell me who’s the greatest name in golf next to Tiger? Can you honestly tell me a golfer who can pull the advertising revenue, television ratings, and tournament draws like Tiger Woods? I doubt it! Tiger’s name alone is worth over a billion dollars alone!
Tiger’s road to recovery was evident during his speech. Him attending the Gentle Path Clinic in Hattiesburg, Mississippi was the first step in trying to redeem himself, not his wife and kids. In dealing with addiction, one must admit they have a problem then deal with it head on, something Woods explained during Friday’s press conference. He adds “it’s hard to admit that I need help, but I do. For 45 days from the end of December to early February, I was in inpatient therapy receiving guidance for the issues I’m facing. I have a long way to go. But I’ve taken my first steps in the right direction.”
His addiction is like one’s to food, cosmetic, drug or alcohol, or shopping. What makes Tiger’s speech and his situation so surreal is that he’s Tiger Woods. His high profile status in sports and the mainstream has prevented him to have a normal life. His addiction was women. Men and women have dealt with infidelity since the beginning of time. It’s nothing new! Tiger’s life was similar to the late Michael Jackson’s, where these men had never enjoyed their childhood due to the enormous talent and pressures of being celebrities at an early age. Let’s be honest, when Tiger was in his 20’s, did we ever see him date any high profile models or celebrity figures? No! Outside of his wife Elin, when has Tiger had any long-term relationships? As a journalist and critic that’s followed his career, I can’t say that I have. Him not having a normal childhood and the lack of basic social relationship skills was also another factor to Tiger’s personal fiasco. I honestly believe Tiger never enjoyed the rigors of dating life nor developed any relationships as a child and partially as an adult. His “playboy/player” persona was his channel for relaxation and his escape as the high-profiled Tiger Woods.
Only God knows the outcome of Tiger and Elin’s marriage, but I can say the naysayers have been pretty harsh on Tiger and his many indiscretions. There’s a classic saying “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Or, biblically, the book of Matthew Chapter 7, verses 1-5 state:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” How can you say to your brother, “let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
You and I aren’t perfect in anyway whatsoever. But, to call Tiger out for his major flaws is something that we ourselves need to look. Tiger is ready to move on and he’s way on point to begin his personal journey. What we all need to do as a people, especially the press, is to look at ourselves before we cast that first stone.
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