TWITTER: @sirbacon123

05 April 2010

Tale of Two Tigers

For 34 consecutive minutes on Monday, I sat at home and watched the much awaited Tiger Woods no-holds-barred news conference from The Masters, where he answered every question thrown his way.
I don’t remember the words "No" and "Comment" coming out of his mouth at any point, so he gets credit for that.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not a huge golf fan and not a huge fan of Tiger either, but I certainly respect everything he has done on the course.
In the same breath, I am absolutely disgusted by what he has done away from it.
I’m not here to be judgmental and his life is his life, but when you have the power that he does or at least did to be a role model, it’s a shame to throw it all away.
As the father of three impressionable kids, ranging in age from six to 12, they look up to pretty much every person that they see on the TV screen or iPod Touch or the back of a cereal box.
It’s a beautiful fairy tale to think that today’s kids worship mom and dad, but the reality is they would rather be like Joe Jonas or iCarly.
In my house, sports is on the big screen as much as possible, so it’s only natural that my son wants to be the next great athlete.
I really wish that I could talk to him about the two-time Super Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger without talking to him about the two times Big Ben has been accused of sexual assault.
I really wish that I could talk to him about the 762 home runs that Barry Bonds hit, instead the steroids that Bonds is accused of taking.

I also wish that my son could sit down and watch Tiger Woods at The Masters this weekend without the extra-marital affairs coming up in the conversation.
I try not to introduce the off-field news to the kids, but the reality is the news will find them.   And when the subject comes up, it is my responsibility as their father to tell them the truth.
I have absolutely no problem talking to my kids about the issues that cloud the legacy of their potential heroes.   
We have had several lengthy discussions on how drugs have ended the lives of so many great performers.
The good news for Tiger is that while his legacy may have died, his life goes on.
And we can all hope that he has learned from his mistakes.
I would say that for at least 94% of the news conference, he seemed sincere, if not honest.   Or is it honest, if not sincere?
My problem is with the other 6%.
There were 34 questions asked, but it was two of them which showed me the side of Tiger that I don’t like.  And never have.
One female reporter asked if Tiger’s wife Elin and the kids would be at The Masters this weekend and if not, is that a sign that maybe he should be at home with them?
Based on his reaction, you would’ve thought that the woman accused the greatest golfer in the world of having a double-life, where he cheated on his wife with no fewer than 18 other holes.
Oh wait, he did.
His reaction was as short and straight as a tap-in putt, saying that his wife would not be at the event this weekend.
Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no concept of what it is like to be the greatest golfer in the world.   
And I have absolutely no concept of what it’s like to cheat on my wife... with nearly two dozen women.

The Woods’ family deserves its privacy, but it is very clear to me where the Woods’ family falls on Tiger’s priority list.
And it’s not #1.
The other question that rubbed me the wrong way was when Tiger was asked about the car accident that set off this forest fire.
He said something like...  my lawyers advised me... blah blah blah.. the police investigation is closed.... yada yada yada... I paid my $166. 
That was probably the only time during the entire news conference that I saw Tiger with his hand in the cookie jar saying, “I didn’t eat any cookies.   Look, no cookies.”
Is he allowed one mulligan in 34 questions?

But it was a loud and clear reminder to me that there is still a secretive, calculated, dishonest person underneath that Nike logo.
I have no doubt that he is a different person than he was five months ago.
I have no doubt that he is probably, perhaps, potentially a better person than he was five months ago.
But in that one moment in time, I saw the reason why I don’t like him.
And that’s a shame.


Erwann said...

Hello Stewart,

I think the fondamental problem is not golf, or even Tiger; it is the culture of deification of artists and athletes, that we see every day. Under the contrary, I think you should make a point of telling your kids about the rapist side of Ben Roethlisberger; or about Barry Bonds' drug abuse or complete aggressive narcissism. You should do that, only to remind them that, after all, they are only human, and prone to the same mistakes.

You see, I played field hockey for my country for 15 years, and not once did I forget to tell the young kids that I visited at schools around the world that we, the demigods they worship, are made of flesh and blood. I'm not gonna go Shakespearian on you, and talk about the prickle and the blood, but you get my point.

Furthermore, with this knowledge, acquired at a great cost, I am able to enjoy the music of Mozart, even though I know now that he was also a conniving prick, a womanizer and a cheat. As well, I can also dwelve in the mathematical beauty on Von Neumann's equations, even though he was a narcissistic asshole.

All of that because I can now separate the achievement from the Man.

Erwann said...

By the way... I forgot to mention... I love your blog, and I wish that you will keep writing, even when you find a job. The world would be a lesser place without your words.

I'm sure that you are a beacon of encouragement for your readers who are going through the same rough patch as you.

Keep rocking,


Anonymous said...

Sir Bacon,
North of Foothill, I have to tell you that your synopsis of Tiger Woods is spot-on.
I agree-keep writing!