A moment of great relief has finally enveloped the casual sports fan in all of us. It feels like that wonderful sequence, 20 minutes into every airplane flight, when the seat-belt light turns off and the captain's voice comes on:
You are now free to...
... continue hating Tiger Woods.
And given the way he treated Stevie Williams, his caddie of THIRTEEN years, it makes sense that America is once again furious at the self-dubbed "Blasian."
Few of us will ever know exactly what went wrong, but we don't need the details.
Tiger is wrong.
Why is he wrong? Because the horribly dirty manner in which this has played out is necessarily a sign that the employer failed to end things gracefully.
There are countless ways to fire an employee that leave both parties feeling dignified—and that is before we take into account the hundreds of millions of dollars that Tiger Woods currently possesses.
Does Stevie Williams deserve credit for Tiger's success? No. But did he probably do enough to earn a one-time "goodbye bonus"? Almost certainly.
It sounds like Tiger could use a human resources consultant to go along with his knee surgeon, divorce attorney, swing coach, nightclub wingman and the rest of his ever-growing team of service providers, the lot of whom will likely fail to resuscitate a dying career.
But even though every American should use this as a renewed opportunity to (justifiably) hate on Tiger, this episode is still not enough to make "real" journalists stand up and berate him.
I guess they are too scared of Tiger making that long-awaited comeback.
Consider Larry Dorman's article on the front page of the New York Times:
Even though the Woods-Williams partnership went beyond the usual caddie-player partnership and became a friendship, with Woods attending Williams’s wedding in New Zealand and Williams often going on jogs with Woods, it still was an employer-employee relationship, subject to change at the employer’s discretion.
What a wussy, cop-out of a description. This is the kind of spineless, conflict-of-interest journalism that explains why newspapers are hemorrhaging cash.
A mere "employee-employer relationship"? Tiger spent eight hours a day with the man. That is 1/3 of his life — or 1/2 of his waking hours, since Stevie was one of the few people with whom Tiger did not sleep.
Tiger was a groomsman in his wedding!
And while the law does stipulate that Tiger can fire him abruptly at his discretion, the law also enables people to do a lot of things that violate every single fiber of common sense and decency.
How's this for common sense... by acting like a cheap prick, Tiger just took another PR hit that he can ill-afford. And he has exposed himself to... well... a potentially steamy tell-all book.
And, yes, Stevie knows everything, and, yes the book will sell.
How's this for decency... Tiger is now devoid of a highly-trustworthy and loyal friend. Those would seem to be exactly the people one needs in life when they are at ROCK bottom.
A couple months ago, as it became clear that Tiger's glimmer of a comeback was going to be quickly shelved... well... I sort of felt bad for the guy.
Now I can continue to think that Tiger Woods is one of the most self-obsessed, unlikeable, disappointing, Emperors-New-Clothes wearing, mortal, stupider than we thought, men behind the curtain.
But we all knew that after the heinously distasteful Nike commercial that exploited his dead father.
Let's hope that Rory can help us quickly forget this brat.
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