I'll say it right off the git-go: I've never been a Tiger Woods fan. He always seemed like too much of robot--so perfect, so bland, so much the corporate shill. Image Is Everything-- and Tiger's image is that of the totally-in-control, unflappable golfer. Over in NASCAR, Jimmie Johnson elicits the same response from me: You want the guy to have a personality, cut loose. Johnson grew a beard for a while. How cutting-edge. Tiger wouldn't do that--it might upset his Gillette sponsor.
But Tiger's in-control life. . . it just got more and more out of control through the weekend. First were the National Enquirer reports of an affair with a New York "party girl." Which the party girl denied. Right after that, the accident in the driveway. Sounded a little fishy. Coincidental. Like, what a shitty weekend he's having. Where was Tiger going at two in the morning? To get in line at Best Buy for the Black Friday sales? Hardly. And then we get the police report where Tiger's Blonde Norwegian Super-model wife heroically came to her husband's aid, smashing out a back window of their Escalade and pulling him to safety with a GOLF CLUB! At that point, the whole story lost credibility.
"Hero my-ass, " I thought. "She must've opened up some king-hell can of Norwegian whoop-ass on Tiger," I thought.
And, apparently, she did, scratching up his face and, one imagines, chasing him out of the house and into the Cadillac, coming after him with the nine-iron, breaking out the window, and distracting the World's Greatest Golfer--always calm, even under pressure--so much that he careened off the driveway, drove into a fire hydrant, and caromed into the rough. The Escalade came to rest against a tree. Game over. Tiger was subsequently ticketed for a bit more than $150, but this will someday prove to be one of the most expensive traffic citations of all time.
I'm guessing Tiger attempted to smooth things over using the Kobe Bryant method: a trip to Jared. But the Blonde Norwegian Super-Model wife isn't so easily bought-off.
Now, a few days later, Woods faces Bimbo Explosion after Bimbo Explosion. Not only was there the New York Party Girl, there was the Tool Academy Girl and the Vegas Nightclub Promoter as well. And who knows how many more will be coming forward? Their Sugar Daddy has been exposed; there will be no more luxury suites, fancy weekends away, and spectacular gifts--not to mention sex with the World's Greatest Golfer--so, really, what do these girls have to lose by selling their stories to the Tabloid Press? Fame is fleeting--grab for the golden ring while you can. New York Party girl, who originally denied, denied, denied, sees that the other hoochies are in line for their part of the golden ring--and suddenly, she's ready to spill the beans, too.
What the fuck was Tiger thinking? Did he REALLY think that, down the road, these women would remain discrete? That voice mails wouldn't be shared with friends? That e-mails wouldn't be saved to very hard drives? That he could keep these liasons secret? Maybe Tiger DOES lead too sheltered a life--did he really think his bubble of privacy would never be breeched? Or that his wife wouldn't get suspicious and look through her idiot husband's phone for evidence? (You would think he'd have been smart enough to have assistants to take care of the Girls on the Side, wouldn't you?)
So far, the advertisers who had backed Woods are standing pat. And why not? Consider the audience they're trying to reach by hiring Tiger? The almost-middle-aged businessman! The kind of guy who is likely married to a bored trophy wife who stays at home with the kids while he's out of town a lot on business, drinking on a company budget, taking corporate golf junkets (maybe joined by these golf partner/whores?), maybe having an affair, maybe just wishing he could get away with an affair. You can't say that their Hero Tiger, World's Best Golfer with the Blonde Norwegian Super-model Wife, didn't just gain a couple of notches of admiration in their book for his extracirricular activities. If anything, one analyist said, the incident may increase his appeal to advertisers: Tiger is only human! Just like us!
So, Kobe Bryant can bang a manic-depressive concierge at a Colorado Resort and lose his advertising contract with McDonald's--basketball's primary marketing appeal is to the young. Michael Phelps is caught smokin' a little weed--that was drugs, afterall, so he has to do the mea culpa, and loses Kellogg's Cereal as a benefactor. But Tiger's target audience are EXACTLY the men who dream of having the Buick and the blonde Norwegian Super-model wife. . .and a bunch of 20-something chickies on the side.
That's the country we live in. Tiger will pay the price, hire the lawyer, either divorce or not, but essentially, his marketing empire won't suffer a bit. Middle-aged American males admire a guy like Tiger--and the message is they admire him even more now that he cheats on his wife. If you don't believe me, check out some of the messages left on the golf.com website. I'm no prude, but I do believe in honoring vows, something that apparently isn't very important anymore in this country.