Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Protecting Tiger Woods
I was having a conversation last week about fame, and how it must be so strange to get past the honeymoon phase of being famous and eventually realize that, "Yes, this is now my life, like it or not." You can't shake fame. No matter if you're Brad Pitt or Lisa Turtle, you will forever be recognizable if you were in the spotlight for an extended period of time.
No golfer is more famous than Tiger Woods. He is the pinnacle of celebrity in sports, right down to the personal drama and nasty divorce. He can't spit while he's running without Getty Images snapping a picture of him, and he will be judged on just about everything he does, on and off the golf course (example A).
But what's strange about celebrity is how life slowly becomes a fantasyland. Everyone laughs at your jokes, even if they aren't funny. People are always telling you how great you are or trying to give you free stuff, even if you're richer than most CEOs. Your life is twisted and turned until you can barely recognize it anymore, and that's when the squeezing really begins (I'll never forget the scene in Air Force One when Harrison Ford can't figure out how to use a phone. I always think about this, and how it might not be that far fetched because when is the last time a president (besides Barack and his Blackberry) actually made a phone call himself?).
So when Bubba Watson, the new face of the PGA Tour, called out friend Tiger Woods, the old face, on the way he's dealing with his golf swing, you knew the floods would come, and come they did.
Sean Foley was the first to the podium. He spoke to Off the Ball in Ireland and was pretty harsh about his thoughts on what Bubba said.
"He has the right to his own opinion but you probably shouldn't make comments about a guy who has won 69 more times than you and you are virtually the same age. You know what I mean?"
When I first read those comments I rolled my eyes and thought, "Typical Foley." The guy complains about Bubba hogging the spotlight, but it sure seems he enjoys it just as much, if not more. But it didn't take long until I realized that Foley is just a part of the Tiger puzzle. He must defend this topic, because the swing is his domain. He must speak up, because Tiger isn't going to.
It's the part of being a super-duper-star. You have people that can speak up for you when you don't want to. Tiger mentioned, after getting prodded by journalists, that he'd speak to Bubba about the comments, but didn't say anything more, and who knows what that even means. It's just, when Tiger gets attacked, even if the "attack" is as soft and honest as what Bubba said, the Secret Service bursts out and takes care of the situation.
That's protecting Tiger.