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Tiger Woods Bristles as a Victim

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At his press conference prior to the Hollow Quail Championship event, Tiger Woods noted that the ongoing presence of paparazzi and helicopters around his property was an ongoing source of harassment. When he was asked if he had any trepidation about the temptations that might arise with being on the road, he replied, "No, not at all. Not after what I've been through, and my treatment."

His emphasis seems to be on what he has been through, and reflects a veiled plea for public sympathy for the stress he has endured since the eruption of the scandal. At his thirteen minute apology statement in February he also highlighted the unfairness of the media in tracking the whereabouts of his family members. His perspective is similar to Pete Rose lamenting that he is being victimized by Major League Baseball for not reinstating him, without recognizing that it is his lack of expressing genuine remorse that prompts the commissioner to continue to block him. It is reminiscent of the New Yorker cartoon in which a husband is apologizing to his wife for a serious misdeed, and she retorts, "I don't want your apology, I want you to be sorry!"

Poor Tiger doesn't seem to grasp that his moral transgressions have created the scenario in which every aspect of his life is targeted for scrutiny. It is the Faustian bargain that all star athletes are implicitly required to sign on for. In our present culture, once you are a sports hero, your private life is no longer sacred territory, and every action off-the-field will be followed and magnified by the media.

On some level Tiger trades on the assumption that he can get mileage out of playing the victim card. For many years his appeal as the King of Golf was bolstered by the story that in his first day in kindergarten, he was tied to a tree by older kids and ridiculed and taunted with racial slurs. Only recently was this account debunked by his kindergarten teacher as a fable, presumably crafted by Woods's father to create a sympathetic and admiring reaction from the public. Psychologically, the past is often prologue to the future, and Tiger may have learned at an early age, and internalized the view that misrepresentation and deceit are exploitable commodities.

In attempting to maintain a shred of dignity, Tiger relies on guardedness and obfuscation, when the media broach the subject of his treatment. At the press conference before the Master's event a reporter queried him about his rehab, and Tiger responded as follows:
"I was in there for forty-five days...and I've come out a better person for it than I was going in...and does that mean I'm ever going to stop doing that? No, I still continue my treatment, and that is going forward, and that's NOT (sic) going to continue- that's not going to stop for sure."

This was a significant slip of the tongue, which suggests that unconsciously he sees himself as finished with rehab, although on a surface level he professes to continue it. In truth the successful treatment for sex addiction involves a prolonged process, and his forty five days as an in-patient is a mere drop in the bucket.

In his zest to put the scandal behind him he may be oblivious to another subliminal factor, i.e.; the extent to which what he refers to as his "internal issues" may interfere with and compromise his performance on the golf course.

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