I’ve heard it all, folks, everything that you have. I’ve read the statements, listened to the voice messages, seen the photos. Some of it is peculiar, some of it is meaningless. I’ve heard of secret phone calls to an estranged lover, crafted ploys to keep it all from the wifey.
I’ve heard the word “transgressions” thrown around in Starbucks and restaurants in the last 12 hours more than “espresso” and “flank steak.” Tiger let his family down, strayed from his values, is deeply sorry—I get it.
I’ve consumed the 24-hour media monsoon like we all have. It can be fascinating stuff. The words that trickle from tabloid ink are tantalizing even if they oftentimes are meant to be nothing more than mere attention-grabbers.
The statement that Tiger Woods posted on his Web site was much more than I ever thought the public would get, and it still wasn’t all that much. Woods didn’t necessarily admit to anything, so by definition all claims still remain alleged. But what we know is that he apologized for something.
Something that has caused his family a great deal of pain and grief, and something that could irreparably damage his reputation and Windex-clean image. There could be some news under the surface that would greatly embarrass Tiger Words.
We don’t know for sure.
Plenty of questions remain as our minds are still bewildered by how the scratches and lacerations got on his face, how and why his wife took a club to his Escalade to “rescue” him, and how his name got tossed around with women from New York City to Australia. Round and round the merry-go-round goes. Gossip is born into eternal life.
Don’t expect Woods to come out with more than he already has.
Don’t expect there to be some press conference in which he cries in front of his wife after admitting to relentless claims of infidelity.
Don’t expect him to hold interviews at future PGA tournaments longer than the minute the first what-happened-on-that-night grenade is launched at him.
But most of all, don’t expect to find yourself on the inside of the Woods’ family diary. It won’t happen.
And you know what? I don’t blame him.
If I were Tiger, I wouldn’t say a damn word about anything other than the pressures of Sunday at Augusta or my new lob wedge, if only out of spite to media outlets such as TMZ, the National Enquirer, and US Weekly.
Look, I’m not saying that the stories that have been printed in recent days about Woods are false. I don’t know any more truth than you do. But that’s not the point.
The point is that society has become a gossip-hungry lunatic on speed, and millions and millions of dollars are poured into the simple practice of putting divots into the personal lives of the famous.
Celebrities shouldn’t have to pour out the gory details of their relationships simply because they can hit a golf ball unbelievably well, kill the lead role in a blockbuster film, or are worth more than the GDP of Djibouti. It’s ridiculous and it’s frightening.
I understand the fun in knowing how rich stars spend their time, but why do we take satisfaction in watching—even helping—their family foundations crumble like ancient ruins?
With the news of “Tiger’s affair” making its rapid ascent through hundreds of blogs, newspapers, and magazines, we are quick to judge and condemn, like we have that power or that right. We will spend countless hours ripping through the layers that make up Tiger Woods, hoping to come across the next juicy gem that is saturated in lies.
Society will latch on to a rumor and we’ll be quick to say, “Look, the perfect family man ain’t so perfect anymore, is he?”
To be honest, I don’t really care about that. That’s Tiger’s problem. When many people are wondering what these alleged stories say about Tiger, I am wondering what this constant pursuit of sullied personal matters says about us.
Is this really what our days have come down to?
Many people get frustrated with athletes like Woods because they don’t say enough, don’t show us enough emotion or personality, don’t truly let us in.
I understand that, and that’s a legitimate frustration. We all have a real desire to truly know the superstars that capitalize on incredible talents. We want to be able to relate to those who make us say, “Wow!” time and time again. We want to feel like we are a part of their success, and that they are a part of our lives.
The problem is, the moments that captivate us come from the professional lives of such stars, not their personal lives. But we don’t know where to draw the line.
Knowing Woods as one of the greatest golfers (and maybe at some point, the greatest) ever to hunt flagsticks is simply not enough. We demand to know the man, too.
And maybe we would if we as a whole didn’t come off as such frauds. We can’t ask to know our athletes personally and then turn around and profit off of their transgressions. (There’s that word again.)
We can’t ask Tiger to show us what he is like at a Fourth of July cookout with his buddies and then rapidly spread his name across the Internet while connecting him to some unknown woman who (more times than not) is trying to parlay a potential scandal into instant fame and wealth.
And don’t say it is “reporting the news.” It’s not.
The Simpson murder trial was news. Plaxico Burress breaking New York’s gun laws and shooting himself in the leg in the middle of a club was news. Pete Rose admitting to betting on baseball was news.
This is blog fodder and national gossip. Big difference.
I’m not above juicy headlines, trust me. If Woods speaks, I’ll sit right next to you on the sofa and tune in. But I don’t have that burning desire to know what happens after he sinks a putt to win the U.S. Open.
What happens inside his mansion isn’t my business and, frankly, I don’t want it to be.
By not allowing celebrities to acknowledge or dismiss rumors—or say anything at all—before we scarf it down like pumpkin pie, we only have ourselves to blame for not knowing more details.
If respecting the privacy of Woods ever crossed our minds, Woods would probably be more apt to speak out about his personal life. He would know that the world isn’t waiting at his doorstep to paint him as a clown and a liar.
But he’s too smart for that.
He knows how we do our business, and therefore he is going to continue to snub the public on any significant news. The only thing Tiger owes us is to commit himself to playing the best golf he is capable of.
Outside of “work,” he owes us nothing and that is most likely what he will give us. He shouldn’t voluntarily help sell the next tabloid when said publication isn’t out to do him nor his family any favors.
As a husband and a father, Woods’ main priority is to protect his family, regardless of what that entails. Unfortunately, the public has become one of the biggest home wreckers there is, and we will continue to pay the price of silence and robotic Web site posts until we are humbled.
You can reach Teddy Mitrosilis at firstname.lastname@example.org.