Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How GQ Nailed What We've Been Thinking All Along

if the Tiger Woods scandal had happened even ten years ago, the world would have approached it a different way. Sure, people would have been in an uproar, but the only real news outlets at that time were newspapers and television, and it would have been our headline for a week and we would have moved on.

Now, however, journalists, bloggers, and writers alike have endless opportunity to write, and must, to keep up with this technological age. If Journey had been born a few decades later, the song might have gone something like, "Don't Stop Bloggin'," and it's true. You can't, because if you do, you'll be passed up fast.

That's why we keep speculating on Tiger. For golf writers, it is the only thing to do. It's what gets readers and stirs the pot and has people on one side or the other.

The bottom line is quite the opposite though ... everyone will forgive this guy the moment he starts winning again. Don't believe me? Look at this great point in the recent profile of Kobe Bryant by GQ.

In the same vein, it's hard not to think of Bryant when people talk about Tiger Woods, whose public fall also came after knee surgery and a sex scandal. It's hard not to think of Bryant when people wonder if Woods is done, if he'll forever wander in the wilderness, hemorrhaging sponsors and fans. Once upon a time, they were asking the same thing about Bryant. Now Bryant's back, all the way back, the wilderness like a bad dream. When he dives for a ball at Staples Center, landing in the front row, the fans cheer and yell: "We love you, Kobe!" And they're all wearing his jersey. Life is good. Life is great. So he doesn't want to talk about the past. He can't, he won't, and if a few fans or writers can't stop talking about it, so be it.

This is, more or less, the exact same thing that happened to the world's best basketball player years ago. A cheat, a home-wrecker, a selfish asshole that everyone loved to hate even more. Now? We see Kobe for what he is ... an incredible basketball player that comes through in the clutch countless times over and nothing more. He isn't changing my life outside of my basketball viewing, and we have comes to terms with this.

Before Thanksgiving 2009, Tiger was expected to be more than that. He was expected to be a saint; an athlete that defies perfection and makes every parent aspire to birth a kid this wonderful.

Now, when Tiger returns, he will be just another golfer, but with a different pedigree. This is going to be the golfer that we've always wanted ... a dark character that still shields his life from us, but we all know more than we used to. He will win tournaments. He will win majors. Sponsors will return and we will all applaud when on the 18th at Augusta in 20-whatever, he is standing over a birdie putt for another green jacket, and when the putt drops dead center, like it always does, the group of people you're around will all look at each other, wide-eyed, mouths agape, with that expression like someone just jumped 30 cars riding a tricycle. "How can we always do this," we will wonder aloud, and high fives will be had.

For now, he is still the punk that cheated on his wife with any female loose enough to spread her legs for the 15 minutes it takes to possibly ruin a career. In the coming months, when he returns, he will just be a golfer ... a damn fine golfer, but a golfer.

Maybe that's what we've always wanted from this guy to begin with.


Mel said...

This theory works fine for the mistress scandal which you can argue had nothing to do with golf anyway, but I doubt it will hold for the upcoming steroid scandal. That will probably sink Tiger for good.

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