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Gotham Chopra

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Threesome: Tiger Woods, Deepak and Me

Posted: 12/10/09 02:03 PM ET

Remember the first Tiger Woods commercial Nike ever did? The refrain by various kids everywhere was "I am Tiger Woods..." Don't expect to see that one back anytime soon.

But rest assured, there'll still be plenty of Tiger nevertheless. In fact, it's all Tiger, all the time. More outlets than you can shake a golf club at breathlessly staked out watching for Elin's next move. At last check, the word combo of "Tiger Woods + Sex" on Google News turned up 6,885 "News" Articles.

8...9...10...ad infinitem. Pornstars...Cougars...Playboys...maybe even Playgirl! A veritable treasure chest of scandal and stigma, an extravaganza of mind-boggling recklessness. Will it ever end?

Mercifully, at some point -- not just for Tiger and his family -- but for all of us (myself included) addicted to the latest shocking detail, we will eventually wean off the endless revelations of debauchery and disgrace. Then, perhaps in the aftermath of another tattered celebrity's catastrophic fall from grace, while we move onto the next open target, a deeper question should be asked.

Who's going to help pick Tiger up?

Not as a golfer -- anyone who's watched the man play can probably assume that he'll at some point be back on the fairways of Augusta or St. Andrews kicking all the white boys' asses. No -- Tiger can and has always taken care of that all by himself. What I want to know is who's going to help pick up Tiger the man.

Not the agents, publicists, managers, lawyers and so-called friends who clearly have been complicit in this mythic, Icarus-like collapse. That entourage of enablers has got to go just as fast and indiscriminately as all the various ladies cashing in on their 15 minutes. By many estimates, in just over a decade since turning pro, Tiger has earned close to a billion dollars in endorsements. Trust me, there are many people drawing commissions on that heap of cash, not to mention the countless more making hundreds of millions -- if not more -- off of Tiger and the virtual industry he's fortified around his game. It would appear that none of these bloodsuckers bothered to contemplate that their gravy train may be headed for deep trouble. By all accounts, there is no denying that while this may be one of the greatest athletes we've ever seen, Tiger Woods has some dark emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual dilemmas that he needs help in solving. The behavior described in the press has been chronic, wrapped crudely around some of what most of us -- and presumably Tiger himself -- regard as some of life's most iconic and poignant moments including his marriage, the birth of his children, and the death of his father. The fact that Tiger was entangled in such illicit behavior side by side with these events suggests something far more than indulgent and decadent, but rather destructive and depressing. Didn't anyone close to him care enough to do something? To help the man? Apparently not.

To that extent, it's safe to assume that none of those inner circle fools should be counted on in the resurrection. No doubt they will try -- nothing pays better than a rise to fame... other than a storied comeback.

It's also probably too much to expect Tiger's wife -- a seeming victim in all of this -- to play much of a healing role with her husband considering the recovery she most likely will have to go through. One thing I know I don't know is how to help anyone else's marriage when I often can't make sense of my own. Good luck with your own journey Mrs. Woods -- may you too find friends you can count on.

That leaves us -- the public, the consumers, the fans. Oh yes, we too have been complicit in this mess. Don't get me wrong -- Tiger's to blame here. He cashed those checks from the endorsers and willingly played along with the image and brand they built around him -- clearly one that was very distant from the real man underneath. But when there is this much carnage, there's generally a lot of blame to go around.

We bought the products, believed the hype, consumed the myth and lore. Most people who helped "build the Tiger brand," have never swung a golf club nor even watched a golf tournament. So what -- we (enough of us, anyway) still played the game, worshiped at the altar of celebrity and went along with the lore. In other words, Tiger may have cashes those checks, but we wrote them. We helped finance the pedestal, place the icon atop it, and then shook our head and surveyed the devastation when it fell over and broke apart. Next victim please.

Someone asked me yesterday what my father -- Deepak Chopra -- would say or do about all this Tiger Woods madness. So I called him up and asked him. "I'd say, worry about yourself before you worry too much about Tiger. Repair yourself and you repair the world and everyone else in it."

New Age aphorisms or real wisdom? Hey -- maybe both!

We are all flawed. It's part of what defines us as a species. Some of us are only as flawed as the opportunities we are handed in which to screw-up. As for me, in Tiger Woods I see every mistake I may or may not have made in my life, every temptation taken or spurned pumped on steroids, laid beneath the glare of the spotlight for the world to stare and snicker at it. Is it fair? Maybe. Live (well) by the sword, die (brutally) by the sword, I suppose.

But this time, I promise to be a part not just of the rise to fame, but also the comeback. Because maybe it's not really about Tiger, maybe it's about me. Maybe I am Tiger Woods after all.

Gotham Chopra regularly blogs at www.intent.com

 

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