FanDuel - WFBC

December 26, 2009

Cheating Sportswriter: 'I Am Tiger Woods': Longtime sportswriter Mike Wise has written a highly personal response to the Tiger Woods imbroglio in today's Washington Post. "I am Tiger Woods," he writes. "The reason I have yet to write about the biggest sports story of the year in these pages is because Woods' plea to one of his many mistresses brought up old, awful feelings of shame, guilt and humiliation. ... Tiger Woods has an emotional void in his life. This void must be huge. For him to be where he is today, this deep emptiness must have consumed him, must be something he has been living with for a long time."

posted by rcade to general at 11:53 AM - 45 comments

I am Tiger Woods, and because of that, I can only hope that he realizes he's sick and takes steps to get better.

Calling him "sick" makes it sound like it isn't his fault. Sickness doesn't involve choice; the author and Tiger both chose their fates.

posted by dfleming at 01:12 PM on December 26

A lot of addictions start out as choices which evolve into sickness. Sure, it's Tiger's own fault. But I have to agree with the article in theory.

Semi-related question that I've been wondering since this whole thing came out: anyone know how Elin recognized the name on Tiger's Blackberry?

posted by MW12 at 02:01 PM on December 26

Now, I'm all for pointing out the mass amount of hypocracy that passes for coverage these days, but this goes a little too far to the other side of the coin. No need for a massive pity party here either.

If nailing any available women he desires is a sickness that leaves Tiger with a big ol' hole in his heart, then lick my keyboard, Tiger.

Personally, given his father's misdeeds, I would think that Tiger had some role model issues. But that's the extent of it. Let's not turn it into some kind of a victim card.

Also - after reading this article, I think Tiger's up for the Eagles Courage award next year.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:23 PM on December 26

Calling him "sick" makes it sound like it isn't his fault.

You can be sick and still contribute to it with your own actions or inaction. Considering the reckless behavior and the large number of mistresses that Tiger had, I can believe the writer's premise that he's got some heavy stuff going on his head.

posted by rcade at 03:23 PM on December 26

Sure, he had some issues and demons to deal with, pretty obvious. What is also just as obvious is the irresponsible way in which he dealt with those issues.

Surely, he didn't think that his behavior was acceptable, even if it was, in certain circles, condoned. He also had at his disposal numerous opportunities to ask for help. he easily could have afforded the best in counseling/therapy availible, but it doesn't appear that he ever attempted to go that route.

As to how Elin recognized a number...who knows? Maybe it just seemed like an odd number to be calling him late at night so she checked it out. Pretty easy to check a phone number out. Maybe she had caught him before and Tiger had promised to stop. Maybe Tiger had the girl's nubmer stored in his phone as "Ho number 4". Not sure it really matters at this point.

posted by dviking at 04:22 PM on December 26

I can believe the writer's premise that he's got some heavy stuff going on his head.

Do you generally think this about people who sleep with multiple people? As someone who's been through college, I really doubt that it requires some heavy state of mind to do what he's done.

posted by dfleming at 05:52 PM on December 26

There's more going on here than just a rich, famous guy hooking up with women on the road. He was juggling multiple long-term relationships with several mistresses at the same time, including one he picked up at a breakfast place near his house where he and his wife regularly dined as she was pregnant with his first child. He dated that woman for 14 months.

posted by rcade at 06:06 PM on December 26

To rcade's point, I find it amazing that he was able to juggle that many relationships for as long as he did. Now, he had the money to get around more than I could, and had enough business related items that he could use as an excuse. "honey, got to fly up to NYC to do a Nike shoot" "got to check on a course in Vegas" "sorry, dear, but the Tag folks want me at a media event in LA".

Me, I get to use poker night with the boys about once every two months. (not that I would ever use a poker night to see the waitress from the Perkins down the street)

posted by dviking at 09:24 PM on December 26

Perhaps if Tiger had thought with his brain instead of his penis...

posted by Drood at 10:00 PM on December 26

He was juggling multiple long-term relationships with several mistresses at the same time, including one he picked up at a breakfast place near his house where he and his wife regularly dined as she was pregnant with his first child.

He seemed so casual and open (now that we know) about everything that I think he either felt invincible (I can do anything. I'm Tiger Woods), or he secretly wanted to get caught. /freud

posted by justgary at 11:20 PM on December 26

Calling his infidelity a sickness is nothing more than an attempt to get people to feel sorry for him. You know, if someone is sick they obviously can't be held responsible for their actions. I'm just curious if anyone considered Wilt Chamberlain sick for the 20k notches on his bedpost.

posted by irunfromclones at 02:45 AM on December 27

If Tiger had remained unmarried and never created or used the image of himself as a family man with strong moral values, would anyone care all that much that he'd been having numerous relationships at the same time? I'm fairly sure I wouldn't. The only thing that I have found in any way objectionable about his behaviour as the story has unfolded is the fact that he ever got married in the first instance, and that having made that mistake went ahead and had kids too. He couldn't have not known his nature, and he couldn't have not known it didn't mix with marriage and children. He wasn't sick, he was arrogant. I think justgary hit it dead centre - he felt invincible.

The interesting thing (for me as a golf fan) is what happens to his golf from here? So much of his dominance on the course was predicated on that sense of his own invincibility, which must surely now have been shaken somewhat. What's more, it has been shaken publicly, so it is likely to not only diminish him as a player, but also to encourage those who for years have repeatedly succumbed to him. Phil could be world number one this time next year.

OR...

Tiger uses the animosity, the embattled position, as a new fuel to his fire and comes out in 2010 and wins everything. That could work - maybe - but in my experience, playing angry or with a point to prove rarely works in golf, and certainly never works as well as playing with a cool head and the background of a calm, settled personal life. Furthermore, anger is not a long term strategy.

In response to the author of the piece: was he sick? No, and neither were you. Perhaps you both failed to grow up and started treating women with the same avarice generally reserved for candy by children, but it is still possible to just do things wrong without it being a medical issue. You both fucked up; set aside the medical crutches, make your apologies and whatever reparation you can, pick up the guilt that is now your burden, and get moving again.

/Dr Phil (not Mickelson)

posted by JJ at 07:48 AM on December 27

Calling his infidelity a sickness is nothing more than an attempt to get people to feel sorry for him.

That's true to a degree, but it's possible to understand why someone did something without feeling sorry for them. Haven't most of us questioned why Tiger Woods would do this when he had so much to lose? As somebody who engaged in the same kind of behavior and is willing to talk about it, Wise has an interesting perspective on the issue.

If Tiger had remained unmarried and never created or used the image of himself as a family man with strong moral values, would anyone care all that much that he'd been having numerous relationships at the same time? I'm fairly sure I wouldn't.

Nope. I do think it's interesting to see how the best golfer to ever play the game lives his life. For years I wondered how he could be so good on the course and so squeaky clean and controlled off of it. So much for that notion. If he wasn't leaving a wife and children to suffer the consequences of his behavior, he'd just be another celebrity catting around.

posted by rcade at 09:11 AM on December 27

Weird quote in today's New York Times: "I've told Tiger that marriage is unnecessary in a mobile society like ours." -- Earl Woods

posted by rcade at 11:05 AM on December 27

You can be "sick" and still be "guilty"...either way you are responsible for your own actions. Having said that, I think it's time we let this story fade away now.

posted by Tigginator at 11:13 AM on December 27

I've resisted the urge to say this for weeks because I don't want to sound unsympathetic to the victims here, but this whole situation reminds me of the President Clinton / Monica Lewinsky affair. Reason being, athletes and politicians having carried on like this since the beginning of time, and the notion that the wives were oblivious is a characteristic we assume and project onto them, but isn't necessarily the case.

Also, I think the comparison to Wilt is a good one - difference being, Tiger slept with 20+ women several times each, whereas Wilt slept with 20,000 women once or twice. Yet we say Tiger is the one w the problem, and Wilt is a stud? That doesn't make sense to me. I think a sex addiciton can be a legitimate sickness, but who's to say that is the case w either of these guys. Have they? Even if they did, are they saying it because they believe it or because that's the image they portray?

The concept that Tiger is a happy family man is one we created for him, just as much as he did for himself. In a world where Agassi once famously said "Image is everything" I ask who creates that image? Does the celebrity? The media? Do we, the people who talk about them, as if we know anything about their world?

I know a handful of celebrities, some of whom like to indulge when women throw themselves at their feet. I also know some of the women, who know full well they are not the only ones. And the wives - let's be clear here: some of them know too, and are grateful that they got the prize. They aren't just the only one in that particular city - they get to share in the money and the lifestyle as well. Not saying that's the case w Elin, but who knows?

Who is to say what the underlying circumstances are in this whole saga?

The only problem here that we know factually is that Tiger's car crashed. For all we know, Elin wasn't mad that she caught Tiger having an(other) affair, but that she discovered he was still seeing a particular someone he had promised to stay away from, because she feared that person would expose him some day and turn their sham of a marriage into tabloid fodder.

I second the motion to let this story fade away.

posted by MW12 at 11:46 AM on December 27

The concept that Tiger is a happy family man is one we created for him, just as much as he did for himself.

How did we create his image as a family man? Tiger Woods has been one of the most tightly controlled athletes on the planet in terms of his media presence. He chose to get married and have kids, and the stories and pictures of his family life were released on his terms to friendly media, at his choosing.

posted by rcade at 12:04 PM on December 27

We contribute to the evolution of this image by buying in and assigning meaning to the pictures we see. Guy gets married, we say he's settling down. Wife has kids, we says he's a family man now. Handlers manipulate the perception of athletes and celebrities by selling us the image that we want to believe (until it blows up in their face, that is...).

posted by MW12 at 01:03 PM on December 27

We contribute to the evolution of this image by buying in and assigning meaning to the pictures we see.

If we got the Tiger Woods we wanted to see, why was he boring as hell prior to this scandal? He's famous and important enough to be another Muhammad Ali, one of the most charismatic athletes of all time. But he was a consistently dull interview. I don't buy the idea that we had any part in Woods' family-man image. That was all Woods, the media and his massive marketing empire.

posted by rcade at 02:21 PM on December 27

Can't say why Woods has always been such a dull interview. Ironic, eh? Would only say that you can't spin a recorded conversation - especially on video - the way you can spin a picture. Less room for interpretation perhaps.

posted by MW12 at 04:27 PM on December 27

Does the fact that Woods is no longer "boring as hell" lend itself to the possibility that he is more of a cultural icon now than when we thought he was just a machine?

posted by MW12 at 04:36 PM on December 27

No, he's not more of a cultural icon now, any more than Michael Vick or Bernie Madoff are cultural icons now. They're just exposed for the flawed humans they are.

I most certainly had no input in the creation of Woods' image as a family man, and suggest otherwise is odd indeed. How would I even go about that? Now, If I held him out to be some modern day Messiah, that would be on me, but I don't think people took it that far. His handlers could have portrayed any image they wanted, or none at all. Tiger made an astounding fortune milking the wholesome, family-man image, and thus he pays the price when it's uncovered that the image was a shame.

As to this story fading away, obviously, it will fade with time. Ironically, Tiger holds the key to just how fast it goes away. How he handles himself, and how well he does when (if) he returns to the curcuit will detemine the outcome.

posted by dviking at 05:23 PM on December 27

Comparing an adulterer to a criminal is not fair. Dismissing the possibility that Tiger not being so boring after all may work to his benefit down the line is also wrong IMO. It certainly worked to Kobe's benefit.

And yes of course the handlers and celebrities themselves are the driving forces behind an image making campaign. But they create the images that people want to believe, and do so only after extensive market research. Which means the public has to buy in, and is therefore a part of the equation.

posted by MW12 at 06:37 PM on December 27

Kobe wasn't doing every girl that came within 20 feet of him, including the Perkins waitress, so that's apples and oranges as well. (was Kobe making a $100mil off of his family man image???? I must have missed that)

The point is, being a flawed human being doesn't necesarily make one a social icon. (BTW, adultery is a crime, just isn't often prosecuted, but that's a whole nother discussion)

Lastly, don't try to change your argument in mid-sentence...you stated...The concept that Tiger is a happy family man is one we created for him. That's what I was rebutting. If you're only saying that the public has to buy in to it in order to make it complete, that's not saying a whole lot, but I'm give you that.

posted by dviking at 10:46 PM on December 27

btw...I realize that nother ain't proper grammer and all, just saying.

posted by dviking at 12:17 AM on December 28

Kobe wasn't doing every girl that came within 20 feet of him

Two months ago you could have used Tiger in place of Kobe and no one would have batted an eye. Point being, we really don't know.

posted by justgary at 12:35 AM on December 28

I have a hard time believing Elin knew any of this and might have been Ok if it had not become public. She seems to be the strong family person (obviously) and Jasper Parnavik getting pissed off because he introduced them sheds some light on what a "good person" she is. It seems she found out, beat him for it and split, no second chances. That's not Hillary, Elin is one strong woman IMHO. I have the utmost respect for her and yes she will be paid but she deserves it for being what seems to be a faithful wife and mother. I wish her luck back in her country with the kids and much happiness.

posted by gfinsf at 05:12 AM on December 28

No change of argument mid-sentence. Handlers merely showed us pictures of Tiger with his wife and kids. We bought the image and decided that made him a "family man," with all that it implies.

Kobe - we have no idea. But he went from "nice guy with great talent" to bad ass with the hottest selling jersey in the league, and that was before the media started calling him the best player in the game, and years before he won another title. Also, I don't recall any stories about his wife being angry or surprised by his indiscretion (which doesn't mean she wasn't - but there was no speculation of her leaving, having their prenup revised, or buying any new homes overseas). As I recall he bought her a giant rock, did that press conference where he held her hand, and that was the end of that.

Hilary - she stood silently by her man, then parlayed it into a successful political career of her own. I'd say that makes her stronger than most. Elin - jury is still out. We can only speculate.

And no gold stars for pointing out that adultery is in fact a criminal act. To compare an extramarital affair to killing animals and deceiving thousands of people out of billions of dollars is still a ridiculous claim.

posted by MW12 at 07:51 AM on December 28

Adultery is a criminal act in the US?

Or is it one of those "$5 fine in New York, or get your cock cut off in Ohio" laws?

posted by JJ at 08:10 AM on December 28

Hilary - she stood silently by her man, then parlayed it into a successful political career of her own. I'd say that makes her stronger than most

I don't understand how this makes Hilary stronger than most. Is it because she's successful? Because she was silent? I don't associate those with strength in the face of adversity.

posted by dfleming at 08:41 AM on December 28

Semantics. Hilary was poised and showed a strength of character that helped catapult her public approval ratings through the roof, leading to a highly successful political career and an extremely powerful position on the world stage. But this is a sports blog. Let's leave it alone.

posted by MW12 at 09:11 AM on December 28

1) adultery is a crime in most states...I clearly stated that it's not prosecuted, not even the $5 fine in NY. It's not the main argument here

2) I guess I was asleep when Kobe was built up to be a family man the way Tiger was. Nice guy perhaps, but anything like Tiger. Sure, any public figure that is found to be less than upstanding takes a hit, but Kobe wasn't anywhere near the level that Tiger was, not in his image or his misdeeds. ( I admit that it might just be that we know more about Tiger's misdeeds)

3) MW12...quite a difference between "we bought his image" and "we created his image", so yes that's changing your argument in mid-stream. I never compared adultery to other crimes, just stated that not everyone that is shown to be a flawed human turns into a cultural icon. Both vick and Madoff enjoyed a fairly high level of social standing prior to their downfalls...Madoff will never rebuild his, and Vick is going to take years to do so, I wouldn't expect Tiger to have to take as long if he handles it correctly. I, personally, don't think he's handled it very well so far.

posted by dviking at 10:18 AM on December 28

No, he's not more of a cultural icon now, any more than Michael Vick or Bernie Madoff are cultural icons now..

I never compared adultery to other crimes..

In a sense, you did. Comparing Tiger with Mike Vick and Bernie Madoff is putting them all in the same boat IMO. Tiger cheated on his wife, he didn't kill dogs or deceive people out of billions of dollars. I understand that you were speaking of them as being cultural icons but those were the wrong two people to compare Tiger with.

posted by BornIcon at 10:37 AM on December 28

In a sense, you did.

I disagree. Comparing Woods to Madoff and Vick as cultural icons is not the same thing as calling them all criminals. People can be infamous with or without a criminal record. Woods is now infamous. In 100 years people will remember the great golf and the prodigious womanizing.

posted by rcade at 11:50 AM on December 28

Thanks rcade.

My point was that I doubt Tiger will become more of a social icon due to the extreme level of his transgressions. I used Vick and Madoff due to the extreme nature of their downfalls as well. My apoligies if anyone took my comments to mean that I felt that Tiger Woods was on the same level as Bernie Madoff, though I bet Elin thinks he's close.

posted by dviking at 01:13 PM on December 28

In 100 years people will remember the great golf and the prodigious womanizing.

So in your opinion, what is Wilt Chamberlain remembered for? Is he a Hall of Famer who is the only NBA player to break 100 points in a single game or a womanizer who claimed to have slept with over 20,000 women?

posted by BornIcon at 01:19 PM on December 28

I remember Wilt only for the farcical claim of 20,000 sex partners1 and the 100-point game. I was 7 when his NBA career ended in 1974 and hadn't discovered hoops yet.

In order to sleep with that many women, Chamberlain would've had 1.14 sex partners per day from the age of 15 to his death at 63.

posted by rcade at 01:25 PM on December 28

Is he a Hall of Famer who is the only NBA player to break 100 points in a single game or a womanizer who claimed to have slept with over 20,000 women?

Yes.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:36 PM on December 28

Never called Kobe a family man. I clarified that comparison above. As for Tiger...

In 100 years people will remember the great golf and the prodigious womanizing.

My point exactly. Tiger won't be remembered as a machine like golfer void of all substance and personality off the golf course, nor will he be remembered for cheating on his wife. Instead, he'll be remembered for being the greatest golfer of all time and a stud to boot. Thus, enhancing his status as a cultural icon.

And I accept my inability to explain the celebrity imaging making process. But that makes it no less accurate. Without the public buying in, interpreting, and perpetuating an image it doesn't work. The handlers show us the picture, we give it meaning, then all parties run with it (or work to reshape it, if the handlers don't like our interpretation). No changing arguments - just not explaining myself well. My bad.

posted by MW12 at 01:41 PM on December 28

In order to sleep with that many women, Chamberlain would've had 1.14 sex partners per day from the age of 15 to his death at 63.

Are you suggesting that Wilt over embellished the number of women that he slept with? I guess it's like his 100 point game, you had to be there to believe that it actually happened.

posted by BornIcon at 01:54 PM on December 28

Are you suggesting you were there for any of those events?

posted by yerfatma at 03:20 PM on December 28

Hey man, what happens in Vegas...

posted by BornIcon at 03:45 PM on December 28

And, given that Wilt made that claim many years before his death, the number really is much greater than 1.14...pretty impressive stat if it were true, though I doubt it is.

Instead, he'll be remembered for being the greatest golfer of all time and a stud to boot

Not so sure that stud is the right word. Anyone with his money/power can sleep with a ton of ho's. I've not heard stud mentioned in the coversations, other than jokingly. The words I have heard are not ones that lend to making Tiger a cultural icon. At this point even his golfing reputation is at stake. If he doesn't come back and take over the career lead in Majors and tour victories, he drops down from greatest golfer of all time, to one of the greatest. Slight distinction there, but worth noting.

posted by dviking at 06:36 PM on December 28

The depressing thing is that a life from 15 to 63 years is less than 20,000 days. That doesn't feel like enough time. How did the stats work for threesomes and orgies? How about the times when a girl was in the room and part of an orgy but didn't necessarily specifically fuck Wilt, did he count that anyway? If a tree fell in the woods while no one was around to hear it fall, did he count that?

I think it's pretty cool that adultery is illegal in the US - and I'm surprised, given the tension it tends to create in the wronged party, that it isn't prosecuted more often. It had always struck me as an odd law (in the UK) that if you were in the unusual position of being married to two women, both of whom you loved, both of whom loved you, and both of whom were happy with the arrangement, you could be prosecuted as a bigamist, but if you shagged around behind your wife's back with a dozen people, the law had nothing to say about it.

posted by JJ at 04:45 AM on December 29

Wilt's "20000" quote is in a book he wrote in 1991, so you have to take out 8 years when doing the math, which gets you to 1.37 per day. Pretty impressive stuff.

posted by dviking at 12:07 PM on December 29

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