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.


seak said...

What if Tiger had come out and said this/defended himself, whatever?

Forget ESPN it would have made Good Morning America as well. Tiger cannot open his mouth and say something without it making the crawl ticker in Times sq. That's true of most big time celebs, and why their camps have to do the sniping.

I think this was something Haney never totally got btw. He kept wanting Tiger to defend him, Foley defends himself.

Anonymous said...

So true regarding Woods defending himself.That is really true about Hank. I never understood his penchant for wanting Woods to defend him. He coached and was a friend of Woods for 6 years and never saw that the guy was non- confrontational and did not want to be part of the Media brouhaha. He should have known what Woods thought of him as a coach and be comfortable regardless of the outside naysayers.

Andy said...

Tiger's whole "responding without responding" schtick was intimidating when he was dominant. When he was called out by Ames, Poulter, Sabbo etc. it was commical because you knew Tiger would crush them. Tiger didn't need to defend himself in the media, because he was the best.

Now his repsonse of "We'll talk" is laughable for a different reason. Tiger might have a better career than Bubba, but no one in their right mind would say that Tiger has been better than Bubba in the last 12 months.

Bubba may be right or wrong about Tiger/Foley but he certainly isn't out of line in making his comments.

Anonymous said...

Andy -what is this comment that "Tiger might have a better career than Bubba". You dont know this, because you have not seen the career numbers on both players. Bubba's comment is foolish and ignorant at best since the percentage of players with golf coaches far out number all others.
Just because something could be true, does not necessarily mean you should spout it in the Media. If Bubba is so concerned about Woods , make his comments in private. Also in Pro sports ,there is a unwritten rule that dont offer opinion until you are asked

Andy said...

I think it's pretty fair to say that when we add it all up Tiger's career numbers will be better than Bubba's. I'm not sure why you think we need to see their full careers to assess that.

As for the rest of your comment, Bubba isn't advocating that everyone should dump their swing coach, I think his point was Tiger used to play golf and hit shots with ease. Now he's so bogged down in the mechanics of the game he can't play so effortlessly.

That may be an unwritten rule, but it only seems to be made into a story when it is about Tiger.

Anonymous said...

@Andy - you are blaming Tiger for the story. How so. See the Presser yesterday, it appears that Tiger was trying to defuse the story, but the Media was persistent since they wanted a brouhaha.
Reminds me of 1997 when Fuzzy "put foot in mouth" after Tiger won the masters. Tiger was blamed for Fuzzy foot in mouth disease because he waited a month to comment. Never mind that the whole world heard the comment and made their deductions.

Benny D said...

In relation to your Air Force One mention... Last year, some legislation came before congress regarding the elimination of ATM withdrawl fees and a large portion of Senators were totally baffled by the suggestions...none of them knew what ATM fees were! The guys were so out of touch that they'd never used an ATM to take out cash.

Andy said...

I'm blaming Tiger because he never ever answers anything completely.

"What did you think of Bubba's comment?"

"That was interesting, wasn't it?"

That isn't difusing the story it's making it seem like there is tension between them. If he wanted to kill the story he would have said something like "I believe I'm headed in the right direction but everyone has an opinion" etc.

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