The Not So Secret Life of Tiger Woods

05/25/2011 02:55 pm ET
  • Taylor Marsh Political writer and cultural voyeur, author and speaker.


Jenny Sandord has filed for divorce. It's the signature 21st century bolt action motion. A woman tied to a man who humiliates her so thoroughly in public that she has nothing to gain by staying. She's got the money and motive, so what's in it for her to remain, especially when love is lost? Religious faith is no longer the tie that binds, not even for people like Mrs. Jenny Sanford. It's tough when the man parades his soul mate mistress in public. Worse when so many women don't have faith to wrap around their marriage vows. Then there is the reality in modern marriage that women are no longer dependent. The longer I write on this subject the less things change. Take Mrs. Tiger Woods, pictured here, for example, ironically resembling many of the women Mr. Woods has been seeking. Can she be far behind Mrs. Sanford?

Last night, "Dateline" aired "The Secret Life of Tiger Woods," though they needed to rethink that title by the time the segment aired. The conversation went like this...

Jungers: "It wasn't just, like, regular sex... it was great. I mean, yeah, he- he was pretty wild...Like, it wasn't just, like, regular sex. It wasn't like, boring, married couple sex. Like, it was fun and exciting.

JUNGERS: "It was way more than sex"

TRACY GALLAGHER: And over how many years or months did this relationship take place?

JAIME JUNGER: Almost two years.

TRACY GALLAGHER: So after he was married.


GALLAGHER: So he's calling you. He's flying you places. Was this relationship just about sex? Or was it more for you?

JUNGERS: Not at all. It- it was way more than sex. It was very- it was very emotional. I mean, we had- I felt like we had a lot- or I had a lot of feelings towards him. And he showed me that he had a lot of feelings towards me. It wasn't just a sexual situation, it was- I believe, it- it was love. I loved him. I still love him. ...

It never is "just a sexual situation," even if the rest is built on fantasy. Nothing uncommon about a man with a beautiful wife, including children, not being content to embrace the Madonna and the whore in one woman. Separate paramours required for the wild side we hide. Shame a component of sex for some; as much as risk and thrill of hunting, along with the zing of "new" love.

But right now, Mr. Woods has bigger problems than his marriage. Lawrence O'Donnell, sitting in for Keith Olbermann on "Countdown," ran it down on Thursday. A British court has blocked any Tiger Woods photos that might exist or have been sold, while Woods' attorney is doing his best not to admit there actually are any damaging photos worth blocking. Taking this story into an arena that would permanently kill Woods' marriage, if it's not dead already, but also humiliating the man so thoroughly that it will take the rest of his golfing career offline, because he's been so publicly broken. In fact, that's exactly what has now happened.

I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I want to do my best to try.

I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What's most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.

After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.

Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period.

Set your calendar for March 2010.

Mind you, none of this will change how the world turns. The phone sex, escort, stripper lines will continue to burn, as mainstream "family values" hotels continue selling blockbuster pornography for big bucks. The Tiger Woods' series of smut soon to arrive at a golf resort near you. Not even hypocrisy shaming the righteous, with money the great human equalizer.

This week on Sean Hannity's radio show, he was making the case through an email sent to him by a friend, intimating that faith might be the way back for Tiger. That somehow God made this happen to set Tiger straight, a common notion of people who actually believe our life's path is of reward and punishment on the way to fulfillment, all of which is directed by someone beyond one's self. Explaining why religion has screwed up so many people.

There is no "secret" life of Tiger Woods or anyone else. There is only denial of our own weaknesses that we refuse to confront, because we can't crack our own ego.

As Jenny Sanford found out, this journey of transparent knowledge and embrace of self cannot be held together by faith alone. It takes another component. We often find it when our life collapses. 'Til death do us part a hallow promise, even with children, when our very self is being annihilated by another person's ego. When only our own can save us.

Ego is a voracious master. It wears halo or horns depending on our choices. Our soul the canvas on which it works.

Taylor Marsh, with podcasts available on iTunes.