With apologies to William Blake:
Tiger! Tiger! Feeling low
In the forests of Orlando
What errant hydrant (or 5-wood)
Put that dent in your Caddy's hood?
That silliness out of the way, here are some thoughts on the whole Eldrick Woods...thing.
1. The instantaneous news cycle really is something to behold. Early reports on Friday -- at least the random CNN scrawl I caught glimpses of between watching Up and thrashing my immediate family at Beatles: Rock Band -- at first said that Woods had been "seriously injured" in a car crash. Then that he had merely suffered "facial lacerations." This gave way to speculation that his wife Elin hadn't heroically broken out the back windshield of his Escalade to free him but had, in fact, caused the lacerations after learning he'd been having an affair, then beat on his SUV with a golf club(!) while he was driving away.
[Having submitted this Monday afternoon, I wouldn't be surprised if it came out late yesterday that Chi-Chi Rodriguez, Greg Norman, and the ghost of Sam Snead were also in the house, with a naked John Daly hiding somewhere in the bushes nearby.]
2. Cops don't like being humiliated, especially on international TV. Woods changed his story repeatedly and canceled three meetings with law enforcement to discuss the incident (or as the paper put it, he "made himself unavailable to police"), which is absolutely within his (or your) Constitutional rights. Now it's being reported that the Florida Highway Patrol is attempting to obtain Woods' medical records from that night, as well as video from the surveillance cameras at his house.
Still, it could be worse. As a friend of mine put it, "I knew a guy who tried to 'make himself unavailable' to police, only he ended up getting tasered."
3. Tiger can't win for losing. By clamming up, he furthers speculation about his relationship with the other woman. But then he releases a press statement that answers no questions and, in fact, gives rise to a dozen or so more. Even crack CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin speculates that Woods might have something to hide. I don't know what a CNN legal analyst makes in a month, but -- to quote John McClane -- if it's more than a dollar ninety-eight I'd be surprised.
And now he's pulled out of his own golf tournament this coming weekend. I'm not sure if he needs to fire his publicist or start paying attention to him.
4. What of the endorsements? Right now, Gatorade and Gillette are among those standing by their man, but others are conspicuously silent. Did Titleist or American Express think to include a morals clause as they were falling all over themselves to sign "the world's most marketable athlete?" How can General Motors spin the fact that he was driving a GM vehicle in their favor (and are they annoyed it wasn't a Buick)? Will Nike expect him to wear Swoosh-emblazoned attire in court?
5. Enquiring minds want to know. The story about Woods' alleged affair broke in the National Enquirer last week. I've seen plenty of folks pooh-pooh the source material, and while the Enquirer is usually full of shit, when it comes to celebrity infidelity they have a pretty good track record (Sen. John Edwards, Billy Joel, Mel Gibson).
The good news for Woods is that if he did actually goad his wife into assaulting him, he might have finally discovered a workable solution for celebrities who want to divorce their wives without giving up half their money, even if they have been (allegedly) "putting the wood" to another woman.
I may have an update on all this later. Or I may simply sit back and be thankful I live in a world where even a beloved billionaire athlete can still make his wife so mad she wants to kill him. Finally, I have something in common with Tiger Woods.
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