just in case you've been hanging out under a rock this week, tiger's back in the spotlight as he returns to golf for the first time since his wife tried out his nine iron on the back window of his car last thanksgiving. i am having a hard time with this one… and i guess i'm having a hard time with it because in the middle of me not really caring about what happens to him, i'm forced to care as it is not only the main story on every sports station, but is splayed on the cover of every newpaper and is the "breaking story" on every news channel.
if i didn't already have enough of tiger before, i've certainly ODed this week.
augusta national chairman, billy payne, issued a critical statement:
"it is simply not the degree of his conduct that is so egregious here… it is the fact that he disappointed all of us, and more importantly, our kids and our grandkids. our hero did not live up to the expectations of the role model we saw for our children."
why all the outrage?
because tiger wasn't who we thought he was?
who is tiger, anyway?
just a guy who has a knack for hitting a little ball accurately and can sink a crazy putt. he's a golfer with some seriously mad skills. and for that we should give him props.
but to elevate him to a god-like status?
why do we do that? give hero status to people? is it deserved? i haven't made it my quest to delve into the history of all things tiger… so i don't pretend to know all the details… but besides golf, making his sponsors (and himself) a boatload of money and inspiring kids (especially minorities) to play golf… other than playing a game well… what has tiger done?
is he a crazy charitable giver like bill gates? has he built a school for disadvantaged kids in africa?
he may be a great charitable giver. i don't know. and if he is… he's doing it in secret… which is admirable in itself because it's not self-serving. that is to be applauded.
my only point here is that we as a culture tend to elevate people to hero/role model status without any warrant. look at madonna. michael jackson. magic johnson… the list goes on… people with questionable moral practices who happen to be at the top of their game.
tiger's always done a great job of keeping his golf game out there and his private life private. until november, he'd always managed to keep his name associated with golf, and nothing more.
and now we know there was a lot more going on behind the scenes. he has crazy fame, incredible wealth, good looks and a busy travel schedule. couple that (sorry, bad pun, i know) with females throwing themselves at him at every turn… it was a recipe for disaster. not many guys would be able to withstand that type of temptation. some would argue what he did wrong was marry and have kids. it's tough to live in both worlds.
billy payne said he "didn't live up to our expectations…"
he certainly didn't live up to mine… but then is it fair to expect redeemed behavior from someone who is unredeemed? or should we expect him to live up to the moral standards of our culture? if it's the latter… perhaps we should be amazed that his lifestyle didn't come into light a long time ago…
i'm going to leave you with the nike ad that is currently running. (i don't fault nike for standing by tiger. his endorsements made nike billions.) there's a voiceover of tiger's dad asking him about his thought process and what he's learned. what do you think about the ad?
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