Tiger Fans, You Asked for It

Tosten HeathSenior Analyst IDecember 14, 2009

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 01:  Golfers make their way back to the clubhouse after rain sets in during a practice round ahead of the Australian Open Golf Championship at New South Wales Golf Club, La Perouse on December 1, 2009 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Craig Golding/Getty Images)
Craig Golding/Getty Images

This is what you wanted isn’t it?

Throughout this decade, throughout his entire career, you have called Tiger Woods dull, uninteresting, and boring. Well, congratulations.

Sports Illustrated, you now have what you asked for when you said in 2003 that “on camera, his car commercials are about as interesting as he gets. Eldrick works hard on perpetuating that cool, calm and collected image. He makes no waves, takes no stances… And that's kind of hard to cozy up to.”

Woods’ off camera drama has moved on camera. Is he easier to cozy up to now?

The media has torn down Woods’ wall of privacy. In doing so, it has also let down the millions of people who look up to him. Every TMZ report that reveals another "other woman" kills the dreams of every golfer, young and old, who placed Woods on a pedestal of hope.

Heroes are like smoke detectors and elections. They are not to be tampered with.

There is a reason Spiderman wears a mask, so that those who idolize him don’t see the boy underneath obsessed with revenge for the death of his uncle. If you take away Superman’s red and blue, all that is left is a heartbroken journalist with glasses.

These are not figures that inspire optimism and provoke courage.

This exact metaphor literally applies to Tiger Woods. The tabloids, blogs, and newspapers have stripped Woods of his heroic mask as the greatest and most dedicated golfer to ever play the game. And what the world found underneath is not so pretty.

Up until a few weeks ago, Tiger Woods was the image of hard work and success. Global consulting firm Accenture used him as their pitch man. The company’s slogan? “High performance. Delivered.”

Now everyone knows that Woods has cheated on his wife for years. Now Accenture no longer sponsors Woods.

On the surface, this is obviously a wise moral decision. However, who will Accenture turn to? Tiger Woods was the premiere image of high performance in sports and life. Who is it now?

And just as importantly, whose fault is it that Woods has lost this image? Yes, it is the man’s decisions that tainted his legacy. But it is not his fault that these decisions are now exposed to the public.

Simply being a public figure is not an invitation for reporters to have access to text messages or to take pictures of private affairs. Being the globe’s most beloved athlete is certainly not an offer for exposure. In fact, I would even say that it is more of a warning.

The bigger the person and the more that is uncovered, the more people the story hurts.

Curiosity killed the cat. Right now it is killing all that was good about Tiger Woods. This isn’t to say that Tiger Woods is good, but simply that the world looked up to him because his plain, dull, boring commitment and success were perfect.

Taking away an idol’s privacy is to give an idol humanity. And to turn a hero into a mere human is to take away everything heroic about him.

The world’s most well known athlete has fallen, and so have all those whom he inspired.