Golf

Tiger Woods and Why His (Alleged) Affairs Do Not Matter

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 12:  Tiger Woods of the USA prepares to putt on the 8th hole during round one of the 2009 Australian Masters at Kingston Heath Golf Club on November 12, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Daniel McGowinCorrespondent IDecember 10, 2009

Back in April, I wrote about how it is okay to hate Tiger Woods .  The point of that article was that even if you hate Woods, he "is still going to play when he wants to, be dominant, pump his fist, be robotic, and wear a red shirt on Sunday." 

In other words, no matter how much you dislike Eldrick, he is still going to be arguably the most dominant golfer of all-time.

That statement held true when I wrote it, and it holds true today.  Even given the publication of his recent "transgressions," it does not take away from what he has done (and will do) on the golf course.

Keep this in mind: I am no fan of Tiger Woods as a golfer.  In fact, I am not much of a golf "fan" to begin with.  So, I am coming at this not from an angle as a blind fan of Woods, but simply that what happens off the course does not discredit what he does for a living.

Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth are considered two of the top baseball players of all time. But the Georgia Peach was rotten, due to dirty play and alleged racism.  The Great Bambino was an alcoholic (which probably led to his death) and a womanizer. 

But that was rarely publicized during their times because of how the media worked then.  Now, with so many media outlets and the 24/7 news cycle, it is impossible for an athlete or celebrity to take extra packets of ketchup at McDonald’s without getting scrutinized.

To put it simply, the media did not change the lifestyles of athletes.  Sports history is replete with examples of great athletes whose off-the-field lives were detestable.  What has changed is the amount of exposure that athletes' personal lives receive.

But is this the fault of the media? Not solely.

Some of this falls on those who consume tabloid news.  If there was not a demand for such news, then media outlets would not cover the Woods fiasco.  Woods is a highly visible celebrity and that only drives the feeding frenzy for such personal news.

Furthermore, some people are desirous to see an athlete or celebrity have failings.  Maybe it is a form of escapism, but to see someone like Tiger Woods have these "transgressions" makes some people feel that they are not the only one who have faults in life.

So, as it is, Woods is watching his personal life implode publicly.  What has happened off the course has certainly damaged his "image" and personal reputation.  But those issues are for those who are concerned with morals and want to pass judgment on the personal lives of others (as though they have no faults).  It does not change his legacy on the links.

Look at this:

  • 71 PGA Tour victories
  • 14 Majors victories (winning each of the Majors at least three times)
  • Four Masters
  • Youngest ever to win a career Grand Slam
  • PGA money winner nine times
  • PGA player of the year ten times
  • AP male athlete of the year four times

I could go on and on, but the point is transgressions aside, he is still one hell of a golfer.  And if hooking up with a waitress at Perkins produces those results, well...that is still between Woods and his wife.  But L.L. Cool J must be proud.

The off-the-field issues of Cobb and Ruth, even viewed today, do not take away from their accomplishments on the field.  The same should apply to Woods, regardless of the different mediascape of today. 

On the golf course, he is/was as dominant as anyone to play golf.  Off the course, you do have to wonder where that Stanford education went.

Yes, continue to hate Woods.  He is still the best golfer on the planet.  And, I would not bet against him dominating again once he hits the links again.

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