Ah... the smell of cheater napalm in the morning. Specifically, around 3 in the morning when you are running into various obstacles, like a game of automobile pin ball. It's a safe bet that Tiger Woods is not in the holiday spirit this year. Most likely because every day he wakes up to more and more scandal, kind of like a Jerry Springer advent calendar with lots of surprises behind each door, most of them from bimbos coming out of the woodwork, trying to vie for their 15 minutes and blurb in US Weekly along side stories of the White House crashers.
It seems as though everybody in America is flabbergasted by the erosion of Tigers perfect image. Baby Jesus with a great golf swing. Glowing and smiling for the masses with his blinding perfect teeth and his even more blindingly perfect image complete with two kids and a supermodel...er, Swedish nanny (actually hotter than a supermodel). I, however remain completely unfazed by it all. I was able to have a fish bowl view of the real professional athlete world by my choice (re: bad decision) to have long term relationships with several and eventually a marriage to one. Trust me, Sports Center doesn't cover the things I have been privy to.
Show me any man who has sick amounts of money and power, and I will show you a man playing musical vaginas. Add in the professional athlete career to the mixture and you have the triffecta for a perfect storm. It's the enormous and often reckless sense of entitlement, aided by the fact that they are perched on this fan pedestal that has been built up since the moment they showed any kind of athletic prowess. Worshiped and told of their greatness since they were in little league, or even just really having a Hell of a Red Rover game at 1st grade recess. The momentum just builds until they are up on that perch looking down (at all their options) and that delusion of what is "normal" is so clouded that they think Nike thoughts of "Just Do It!" and "just do" whatever they want regardless of consequences or after thought.
Consequences are for mere mortals not guys on Wheaties boxes. Consequences are the thing that will happen the next time the police want to question you, or pull you over in your car, and you roll down the window and state "I plead the Tiger. I decline your request for an interview at this time. Good day sir." And then drive away because you feel like it. Only one word comes to mindmade famous by the Saturday Night Live weekend update, "REALLY?!?"
I think Oprah's next show should be trying to locate a single example of a monogamous franchise athlete. I guess she could always interview some of the greats- Michael Jordon, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Mike Tyson, Alex Rodriguez...oh...wait, not so much. And that's just a list of guys hit by the public scandal bus. Only time and TMZ will tell who is next in line. And if you are a cheater in love are you also a cheater in life? Where is the line drawn?
Eight months after undergoing knee surgery, Tiger "miraculously" returns to the tour in February 2009, playing in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. In August, Tiger wins his 70th PGA Tour win. Wow right? A torn ACL is not like an injury sustained after taking a face plant into a windshield! How did he win a major while in such pain? How did he return so quickly after such major surgery to championship form? Dare I say I question his legitimacy? If you are capable of secretly taking on several women (that aren't your wife), I think you might just be as capable of taking performance enhancing drugs. What's stopping the unstoppable from living a life with no rules or regulations? Andre Agassi recently fessed up to his Crystal Meth Merry Go Round in his biography "Open". And that was just to sell a book. Perhaps I just missed the interviews in Sports Illustrated where he talked about it all the time while he was playing?
That tired old question of "why would a married man cheat on a beautiful woman?" has been getting a lot of air time lately. Ironically, the first answer that comes to mind is the same thing they say about dogs licking their own balls..."because they can." Believe me, when Tiger was scampering around trying to clean up his mess, leaving voice mail messages that subtly and covertly started with "Hey....this is Tiger...." His vision was still clouded by those invincibility goggles. Far removed from the beer goggles he must have wearing when he was going to 1-800-dial-a-tramp to choose his dalliances. Yes, plural.
If you take away anything from this column just know that the next time you hear about a household name falling from that aforementioned perch, your reaction shouldn't be of surprise. It should be one of "Oh. Him. He had a great game at _______(fill in the blank). I wonder how many endorsements he will lose. I wonder whose next?" That question should be the basis for any fantasy league, or Vegas odds...guess the next athlete to forget about the concept of their marriage being a hole in one.