When Tiger Woods held a press conference several weeks ago to apologize for cheating on his wife, I felt kind of silly watching it. For me, it felt voyeuristic. The thought of watching a man confess his personal and private failures was too much to take. After all, what business is it of ours — the public —the fans — what Tiger Woods does in his personal life?
For many people, it’s natural to enjoy following other people’s lives — especially celebrities. It takes our minds off of our own mundane or less exciting existence. But are Tiger’s failures in his marriage really a public debate? Who was the true victim of his shortcomings?
As I contemplated these questions I was surprised that Tiger decided to publicly apologize in the first place. I did not understand why he put himself out there, voluntarily, while still in the middle of his own private recovery?
Interestingly, as he held the press conference for millions of prying eyes, the one person who truly mattered in this saga wasn’t there. The one true victim of his failures was not present. That person is his wife, Elin Nordegren. In the final analysis, only what she thinks matters…not us.
So why did he hold the press conference?
Perhaps Tiger was completing a critical step within a 12-step program by publically announcing his marital crimes. Or perhaps he was persuaded into the press conference by his corporate sponsors, trusted advisers, friends or lawyers. Or perhaps, he wanted to publically embarrass himself as a sign to Elin since he publically embarrassed her with his many affairs.
In either case, I believe he should have stayed silent. His marital failures are none of our business and he did not need to shine a greater spotlight on such sensitive and personal matters. He does not require the public goodwill to swing a golf club. To those that would disagree with me, answer this: If Tiger was not a celebrity…..just a good husband living in Orlando; would you care about him, talk about him, cheer for him? The answer is NO! The only thing that makes him different is his ability to play golf. That’s the only thing we really care about. No one is crying for Elin and the kids. People may say they are but in reality they’re not. However, our hypocrisy demands we cry foul against him. I say nonsense! Here’s to hoping he continues his journey to recover his life, wife and family. May his journey be successful but remain private.
However, yesterday was a different story. As Tiger descended upon the greens at Augusta National, it was great to see him in his element. With each shot and each fist pump, he reminded us of why we liked him in the first place. As he moved from tee to tee, the roaring galleries cheered him on and communicated their well wishes for him and his family.
The Tiger was back….he is back on the prowl for his 5th Masters championship.
By the end of day one, he shot 4-under-par to finish at an impressive 68—his best score ever on the first day of the Masters. It was as if he never left. He absolutely dominated the par 5s, making eagles at #8 and 15. This was the first time he’d ever made two eagles in the same Masters round.
As I watched his performance yesterday, I realized that this was the venue for — the public —the fans — to voyeuristically watch this master at his craft. The greens are where he belongs and is where we want to see him.
We are all mere humans and we all make mistakes. None of us is perfect. However, no matter what shortcomings or failings we have, we will never have to hold press conferences to divulge our secret life choices. I know some of you will say that it’s different because Tiger is a public figure. Yes that’s correct. The golfer is a public figure…not the husband.
Therefore, continue to enjoy Tiger the golfer for all his greatness. But leave Tiger the husband alone. He doesn’t owe us his right to privacy…he never did.
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