In 2009, the world stood wide-eyed watching Tiger Woods fall from being the face of competitive excellence and inspiration to being a sensational sex-scandal poster child.
The ugly truth started to come to light on Nov. 27, 2009 when Woods crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant just outside his Isleworth, CA home , It was 2:30 a.m. and, allegedly, he had been attacked by his wife, Elin, with a golf club.
As more and more salacious details came out, most people – well, women for sure – could see just why Elin was looking to tee off on Tiger. In the wake of the scandal, Woods announced he would take an “indefinite leave” from the game of golf.
Now, here we are, 2 ½ years later and Woods is back in top of the golf world. Just last week he took the Number 1 spot away from golfer Rory McIlroy. Woods has even managed to recover a handful of endorsement deals. Not only is he owning the green again, but he will also be bringing in some serious green, too.
To top it off, he is “officially” dating (at, last according to Facebook) Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn. She says on her her FB page, “Our relationship evolved from a friendship into something more over these past few months and it has made me very happy”. Ironic, since she was one of many who went “on the record” mocking Woods and the entire ordeal in Feb. 2010.
So, it seems Woods has weathered the storm to find good fortune again. But the fact is, he will forever belong to a class of athletic “heroes” who fell from grace and were exposed for unethical, sometimes repulsive behavior – think Lance Armstrong, Joe Paterno, Michael Vick.
Doug Ferguson of The Telegraph writes, “Woods admitted his battle to re-establish himself amongst the world’s elite had been a tough journey. ‘It was a by-product of hard work, patience and getting back to playing golf tournaments,’ he said.”
How are people supposed to respond to this? Does he expect to hear “good for you”? Or “nice work”? I can tell you, that’s not what he’ll hear from me.
My response: So what. You’re a creep. I don’t care about your “golf recovery” – or even your recovery from “sexual addiction”. How has your family recovered from your betrayal? From the humiliation on a global scale? This wasn’t a one-time-whoops-I screwed-up-I’m-only-human mistake. This was on-going, predatory infidelity.
And I don’t want to hear people talk about the $750M settlement Elin got out of the divorce “making it easier”. I’m sure she is thankful for the life she gets to create for herself and her children with that kind of money. That said, there’s no price you can put on watching your family torn apart. Think of all the famous families with more money than sense that have dissolved into nothing more than sad headlines. Even Forbes magazine has called inherited family fortune a kind of “curse”.
I’m someone who loves being inspired by people who are great at what they do, who strive to reach the tip-top of their potential. I want to believe in what’s truly great about wild, wonderful and talented human beings.
When it comes to Woods though, there’s no inspiration for me. I just can’t see myself ever cheering for him again. In my mind, he just serves as another reminder not to confuse competitive excellence with an excellent human being.
After all, pedestals were never meant for people. I will not put him back on one.