Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Focus on Tiger’s golf swing, not his personal life


Focus on Tiger’s golf swing, not his personal life

 (James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.) 

    I don’t think I had an athlete role model when I was growing up. The closest would have been Roger Staubach. Then I learned he didn’t let his children see PG-rated movies, and that was that. I remained a fan, but a role model? Hey man, “Star Wars” was rated PG, too.

    Perhaps that’s why the whole Tiger Woods controversy is catching me by surprise. Since a minor car accident not far from his home, we have been inundated with revelation after revelation about his personal life.

    In those rare lulls when the media wasn’t pasting another paramour’s picture on the screen, the televison talking heads would find a public relations person to tell them exactly what television talking heads love to hear.

    “If I were Tiger Woods,” the public relations flack would say as if it were possible. “I would come clean with everything. Get it all out there so it blows over. Just like David Letterman.”

    And there I sit in my armchair yelling at my television, “No, Tiger, please don’t. Anything but that.”

    Not that it would shatter any illusions I have about Tiger. I don’t have any thoughts on him personally, but I know that man is inherently fallen in nature, prone to sin, and what is Tiger if not a man with more temptations than the rest of us?

    This is not to excuse his behavior, whatever it was. It’s just that I have a hard time understanding how it affects me. At most I might wonder why he cracked up a Cadillac instead of the Buick he endorses, and which car would be better for my golf swing?

    I don’t spend hours watching sports highlights to see which cocktail waitress has a Tiger-by-the-tail story. I want to see Tiger Woods hit a golf ball better than any man alive.

    Hitting that golf ball does not give him a sudden lock on moral virtue. If we admire Tiger Woods for his ability to hit a golf ball better than anyone else, does that admiration really diminish when we learn he’s hitting on something else when he is not on the golf course?

    After all, it’s not like he was the president having sex with a young girl entrusted to his care as an intern and then lying about it under oath in a sexual harassment trial brought about by dropping his pants in front of an employee when he was governor. I’m sure we would all agree that would be a matter for the public interest.

    Then came the “breaking news” that Woods’ mother-in-law was going to the hospital. We are to the point where even the untalented relatives of celebrities are being thrust into the spotlight as celebrities themselves.

    There’s no excuse for our interest in these stories. It’s the movie “Rear Window,” only we don’t have the excuse that we’re trapped watching what is going on because we can’t do anything else.

    We can try to blame reality television, but People magazine was around long before “Jon & Kate Plus 8.” At some point we have to tell ourselves to stop watching and tend to the events nearer our own lives.

    Back to the talking heads on television and I’m listening to them discuss whether or not Woods is going to “survive” his infidelities. Are we suddenly stoning the adulterers? Or are they wondering whether Woods will still be doing commercials next week for products that have nothing to do with his golf swing?

    It doesn’t matter, because unless Woods is going to make a repeat performance with a new Cadillac traveling at a higher rate of speed, he’ll be whacking around a golf ball again as long as he has the ability to do so.

    While we await the return of Woods to the fairways, I’ll focus my attention on the congressional races that are shaping up in Wisconsin. The candidate to watch is Sean Duffy who is running against David Obey up north. Duffy was on MTV’s Real World Boston.

    Oh no, not again.

Publication: Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date: Dec 10, 2009; Section: Opinion; Page Number: 8A
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