Game Time: My Five-Point Plan To Make Tiger Woods Popular Again
Ever since the sultry stories of Tiger Woods' "other life" started to leak out after Thanksgiving, the attempts to rebuild Tiger's image have gone from predictable....
...to even more predictable....
...to downright creepy....
(Can I coin the phrase "Nike-rophilia" for the act of using a dead person to convey a message of compassion in a sports-related advertisement? Has anyone put that out there yet? hang on.....googling it.....NOPE!! GOOD, it's MINE!!)
We shouldn't be surprised that Tiger has chosen (or the people who program Tiger have chosen) to put Humpty Dumpty back together again as some sort of fan-friendly, baby-kissing, contrite, nuclear-family husband. It's safe, it's cheesy, and most importantly, it sells.
Me? I'm a bit more of a risk taker, and frankly Tiger the Doting Husband bores me. So in my mind, I think it's fun to pretend that I am the one in charge of rebuilding Tiger Woods. And make no mistake, the shit coming out of my laboratory is the polar opposite of the plan Tiger's handlers have been executing.
To recap, their plan:
-- Rehab for a sex addiction
-- Staged apologies
-- Interviews with "safe haven" softball tossers
-- Press conferences with no TMZ reporters present
-- Any legal question goes through the attorneys or is referred to the police report
-- Any sexual question is a "private matter" between Tiger and his wife
-- Win majors
My plan...well, it's a little bit different, and by "a little bit" I mean 180 degrees different. You see, I am a wrestling fan; I don't know if I've mentioned that in the last 48 hours. So naturally when news of Tiger's exploits with his graphite shaft became public, I began to see the storylines develop. As my friend Jim Ross will tell you, the best wrestling characters have always been the performers whose on-screen persona has just been an extension of themselves, i.e. their "real" personality, with the volume then figuratively turned way up. Conversely, nothing offends a wrestling fan more than having a performer shoved down their throats by promoters who are essentially begging you to embrace them (when they are the farthest thing from embracable).
Right now, Tiger's handlers are shoving a version of Tiger down our throats that we (and by "we" I mean people who agree with me; you know, SMART people) don't believe, one that was dispelled the second Elin started shattering windows on his SUV with a seven iron. I have no use for the new baby-kissing, Buddhism-espousing, contrite, loyal husband that is Tiger Woods.
In short, I want a heel turn. I want Tiger Woods to become a villain.
If you're skeptical, I understand. But let me preface my blueprint by reminding you that this little leg drop by Hulk Hogan led to what, at the time, was the biggest year of business by FAR in the history of pro wrestling. Isn't it all about business with Tiger?
The goatee at his presser on Monday gave me hope that maybe this was the beginning of Evil Tiger. After all, in the wrestling world, newly grown facial hair is usually a sign of evil. But alas, it was gone by Thursday.
So if I were handling Tiger, the plan would be simple. Channel certain attributes from these five wrestlers when you tee off on Sunday, Tiger. It would be the greatest sports story of all-time. Tiger Woods, Monster Heel....
Tiger, when they introduce you on the first tee, not only have them read your hometown and your name, but have mean Gene Okerlund flown in as your personal ring announcer (nothing says ego like bringing your own ring announcer) and have him introduce you as a "FOURTEEEEEN TIME MAJOR GOLF TOURNAMENT CHAAAAMPION OF THE WORLD....", just like Okerlund did for Flair back in the day. Wear a sequined robe (underneath you will be dressed in black from head to toe, by the way), and hell, go old-school Flair and have Joslyn James on one arm and Rachel Uchitel on the other.
Tiger, remember you're a jet flyin', limousine ridin'. kiss stealin',
wheelin dealin' SON OF A GUN....cut a promo, and remind everyone of
facts before you tee off. They need to be reminded. Oh and let out a
"WOOOOOOOOOOOO" after every drive. This is a must.
"MILLION DOLLAR MAN" TED DIBIASE (w/ Bodyguard "Virgil")
Okay, Tiger, this is the part where you go from an asshole who alludes to being rich to an asshole that literally starts to show how carelessly you piss money away just because....well, because you have money and we don't. Take the Ric Flair persona one step further once you're out on the course, and start channeling Ted Dibiase's "Million Dollar Man" character. Hell, take it a step further and call yourself the "Billion Dollar Man," because of that whole "first billionaire athlete" thing.
Moreover, start proving that "everyone has a price" for you, like Dibiase paying this little kid to dribble a basketball 15 times....
...12, 13, 14...(kick)...AAWWWW!! So close!! That's one of my favorite clips ever.
You can do this, too, Tiger. Bring some little kid out of the gallery and tell him you'll give him two grand if he can make a five-foot putt, and then just as the ball is about to go in the hole, kick it into the sand trap, and browbeat him for "not getting the job done." I'm telling you this would get eight jillion hits on YouTube and lead every newscast worldwide.
Tiger, you obviously like porn stars, well how about we make you an actual a porn star? Let's go ahead and sprinkle in some Val Venis elements to the new Tiger -- show up at the post-round press conference in just a towel, eating a hot dog, and growling "HELLLLOOOO LADIES..." at Shelly Smith and Christine Brennan.
If you can somehow film a porn with Sergio Garcia's sister, like Venis did with Ken Shamrock's sister, and convince the producer on CBS to play it as you approach Amen Corner, so much the better.....
This is where the Tiger-wrestler comparisons become very obvious. People hated The Rock when he was "Rocky Maivia," third-generation babyface who smiled all the time and was given way too much way too soon. It was the ultimate backlash. Only when Rocky started telling the fans what idiots they are, and when he started calling all of his fellow wrestlers "jabronis," did he become "the most electrifying man in sports entertainment" -- he became "THE ROCK." In the end, Tiger, I really just want to see you call David Duval a "jabroni" or Angel Cabrera a "rooty poo candy ass." Please, make this happen.
STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN
Okay, here's the big secret I haven't shared with you, Tiger. Once you channel all of these supposed "heel/villain/bad guy" wrestlers and the fans hate simmers to a boil, guess what's going to happen? The fans are going to actually want to love you! I know you don't believe this, but in 2010 there is no one that people like more than performers who flip the double rods at every sanctimonious authority figure who told them what they should and shouldn't do. It's true. Yes, that's right, at the end of my Five Point/Wrestler Plan, you will be the most popular athlete in the history of sports, surpassing....well, yourself (before you crashed your SUV and before Joslyn James got internet access).
So the final step in the makeover, and this is always the trickiest part: the conversion from heel to the coolest level of wrestler, anti-hero babyface. The Flair, Dibiase, Venis, and Rock acts would get you established as a cool heel where it's fun to boo you. But after winning the Masters, when you go over and drop the Stone Cold Stunner on Billy Payne and Billy Payne's entire family and start chugging beer in the middle of the eighteenth green, the makeover would be complete.....
Tiger Woods...from nauseating babyface to chickenshit heel to cool heel
anti-hero babyface, all in a period of eighteen holes. THIS would make
watch golf every week. Somewhere, Vince McMahon concurs.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the Sean & John Show, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.