'Tiger Gate' may not subside for a long time. As days and months go by, more and more women may reveal their private experiences with Tiger in exchange for money. Could you imagine Tiger playing in a golf event next year and women picketing outside the property with signs saying they've slept with Tiger? And there will probably be hecklers from the gallery reminding Tiger and everyone else about his indiscretions, making parents think twice about bringing children to professional golf events to watch him.
Some Public Relations experts suggest that Tiger and his wife Elin should hold a joint press conference with Tiger confessing the depth of his transgressions and apologizing more profusely and Elin saying that although it will be extremely difficult, they are going to work on their marriage and now would hope to have the privacy to do that. The debate continues as to the best way to handle it.
Wow - what a mess Tiger has created! Tiger got wrapped up in his own celebrity status, putting his values aside. Although most disturbing is whether Tiger had any values to begin with? The fact that we don't know shows the depth Tiger went to protect his privacy.
Tiger could take a few lessons from University of Florida QB, Tim Tebow. Tebow represents everything 'right' in a top athlete -- selflessness, a leader, an inspiration, a motivator, virtue, etc., while Tiger has tunnel vision on being the top golfer in history but seemingly has little regard for anything else - his fans, the media and his personal life. Known for his mental toughness on the golf course, Tiger revealed that he is a weakling when it comes to dealing with the temptations his mega life-style presents to him in his personal life.
Celebrities, powerful and wealthy individuals exist in a stratosphere most people can't relate to. The 'famous' have easy access to just about anything and anyone they want. Sleazy women throw themselves at famous, married men. It certainly is not a new phenomenon. This type of behavior - men who cheat and mistresses who are willing to be paid off in exchange for silence - has been around for a long time. Various legendary athletes, politicians and a variety of other celebrities in history have succumbed to this life-style. Back then, the media tended to protect these personalities. 'Wink Wink' - they certainly would not 'out' these guys or they would possibly be ostracized from covering that team or individual. That was back in the day when athletes and writers traveled together and hung out together and were chummy with each other. But obviously, times have changed! In today's immediate technological age of cell phones with cameras, text messaging and instant internet access and communication and with hundreds of news and celebrity channels craving sensational stories, the microscope lens are sharper and more pervasive. Just ask Michael Phelps when he thought he was getting high 'just amongst friends.'
There are a few reasons why this story has reached global headline proportions for over a week now.
Tiger is the most public private individual on the planet. He has one of the most recognizable faces yet because he is so private, few people really know him. They know the guy who works his magic on the golf course, even winning a Major Championship with one leg. They know his carefully orchestrated 'brand.' They see him selling all kinds of products and occasionally hanging out with other superstars like Roger Federer and Derek Jeter. He runs a Foundation and a school for children. He hosts a couple professional golf tournaments and charity events. But you never see him interviewed with his wife. You spot glimpses of her when he wins a tournament or at the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup but rarely do you see him interacting with his wife and kids on camera, aside from the few family photos that he releases.
This story has legs because there may be dozens more women who come forth in exchange for a pay-day. That is why perhaps holding one press conference to get it all out, may be the answer.
Perhaps his philandering would not be a big deal if he was a rock star but we are talking golf here. Golf is a very conservative sport, full of tradition. Players are held to the upmost standard when it comes to rules and adhering to them. They keep their own score and call their own penalties. The sport promotes honesty and integrity.
Tiger has never really endeared himself to the media or to his fans. He rarely grants one-on-one interviews. He speaks to a group of reporters after he plays or in a press conference or on network television after he wins, but rarely does he discuss anything but golf.
And he rarely signs autographs. Many golf fans remember his behavior at Bethpage Black during the 2009 US Open this past June. Instead of signing autographs to his legions of fans who waited for him on the 18th green during one of his practice rounds, he hit his drive off the tee and then walked off the course to avoid the crowd. And he has been demonstrating a bad temper more often this past year - swearing and throwing clubs.
And the mere fact that he is the richest athlete in history makes him a most compelling person to watch. It takes him off the sports pages and into the news, business, entertainment and gossip sections. The fact that he is not only paying off his mistresses in exchange for their silence, but upping the prenuptial dollars for his wife to stay with him, adds to the extraordinary curiosity into this kind of life style. How many of you can imagine being paid a reported 55 million for staying with your spouse for two more years? (Tiger and Elin have been married for five years and the agreement is reportedly for that huge amount if she stays with him for a total of seven years).
It is all very sad. You have to feel for his wife and family. Money, after all, does not buy peace and happiness. And I still think that somewhere deep inside, Tiger does have values and is realizing how far off he allowed himself to get from descent behavior. Like many people in his position, he fooled himself into thinking he was invincible.
The 'take home' message here, kids, is:
- Just because Tiger is the best golfer in the world, he is 'human' and makes mistakes. You should admire his golf game, not the way he handles his personal life. People are not role models just because they are famous.
- No matter how much success you have, try to stay 'grounded' and resist the temptations of 'life in the fast lane.' That kind of life-style can't be productive for yourself, your family, your livelihood and dreams. I'm not sure that even Tiger will be able to focus on the golf course when the season begins again. All these distractions may derail his golf game and focus for awhile. Or maybe he will block all of it out, as he seems to do on the course, and continue winning tournaments. The whole world will be watching - now more than ever!
Be sure to visit Ann's web site at www.annliguori.com to order your autographed, Holiday copy of 'A Passion for Golf, Celebrity Musings About the Game,' and a DVD copy of Ann's interview with your favorite sports legend. To see archives, visit: http://www.annliguori.com/innerviewarch.html.