Leave Tiger alone

Michael Rosengart | Sports Columnist

Tiger Woods may have had an affair but there’s no reason for this publicity frenzy. The world’s number one golfer issued a statement on his Web site Wednesday saying, “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves.”

This seems to confirm our worst fears, but there is no point in speculating any further because it’s unlikely that he’ll come out and actually address the matter publicly. Tiger has always been very cautious with the press and prefers to avoid it when he can. Its tough enough to get him to talk about swing changes let alone personal matters. The name of his yacht, Privacy, says it all.

He makes an interesting point, though, about the media and his personal life saying, “personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions.” Tiger’s wrongdoing, whatever it may be, has undoubtedly hurt a lot of people who are avid Tiger fans—myself included—but if there has ever been a case where the public needs to back off someone’s private life, this should be it, the fact of the matter is that on the golf course, where it counts for Tiger’s fans, nothing is going to change.

Tiger has faced media pressure before when he went 10 majors without a victory between 2002 and 2005; and then he won the Masters in thrilling fashion and won again at the Open Championships.

Tiger has faced personal pressure before in the wake of the passing of his beloved father; and then he put on a truly masterful performance at the 2006 Open Championship.

And of course, Tiger has faced physical pressure; and then he won the U.S. Open in 19 extra holes at Torrey Pines…basically on one leg.

What people admire about Tiger, more so than the incredible golf shots he seems to pull out of thin air, is that he can’t be fazed. Every Tiger fan has a story. For some, it’s the way his father would knock over his clubs in the middle of his backswing during practice rounds as a boy. For others, it’s the iconic “Tiger stare” as he reads putts. I personally enjoy marveling at the way he can stop his downswing.

In any case, when he steps onto the first tee, he enters a zone where he is invincible. Phil Mickelson would likely have a couple more major titles to his record if he were as untouchable as Tiger. But he doesn’t, and it’s exactly that ability to step into his own world which sets Tiger apart.

My case is two-fold. First, if there is anybody on Earth who won’t allow attention from a scandal to bother him, it’s Tiger Woods, which is good news for golf fans.

Second, because he doesn’t care, why should you? I’m not endorsing infidelity; I’m simply making an additional point that celebrities’ private lives are often thrown into the public spotlight by the press. We enjoy it because we like watching them crumble. (I mean, who didn’t enjoy watching Britney Spears shave her head?) and so the media keeps feeding it to us.

Tiger won’t crumble. On the golf course, where we know him best, he won’t even change. He’s just going to keep going about his business. So leave it alone, because there really is nothing to see here.

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