Tiger's in the rough, for sure -- the question is: What's his next shot?
This is going to sound very, very wrong... because, well, it is very, very wrong. But I'm sorry. I'll admit this straight out: I am fascinated by this
And still... I'll read every word. I cannot help myself. I'm dying to know. But I suppose I should clarify -- I'm not dying to know what really happened that night. I have a pretty good guess at that. No, I'm dying to know how Tiger Woods and his people are going to handle all this.
See, here's the thing: Someday, mankind will invent a robot that can make birdies on every hole. I have no doubt in my mind about this. I don't believe it will ever be fun to watch robots play football or baseball or basketball -- there's something physical about those sports that craves humanity. But golf is different. Because in golf, reaching a robotic level of perfection is the ultimate goal (see
I believe that golf robot will be built sometime in the next 20 years, I really do. And, beyond the initial curiosity, I know that won't care about it. I won't have any interest in watching that robot stripe drive after drive, hit perfect shot after perfect shot, make putt after putt -- it seems to me that's not the interesting part of watching golf. The interesting part is the human part. The interesting part is watching
That 10-year-old became Tiger Woods... and he has made his life mission -- at least his public life mission -- to (1) Win those 19 professional major championships; (2) Make a billion dollars; (3) Make sure people know as little about him as possible.
These are all perfectly reasonable goals, though they can conflict. Golf, we are told, is the most illuminating of sports. Corporate types talk all the time about how they want to play golf with clients or business partners or employees or adversaries in order to measure them -- golf (they say) can tell you about a person's composure, a person's decision-making skills, a person's level of daring and so on. Billions of people have watched Tiger Woods play golf under the most extreme pressures, so you would think we have learned some things. And we have. He's damned good at golf. Also, he swears a lot.
Then, for an athlete like Tiger Woods to make billions of dollars he needs to be in the public eye, as a spokesman for a company, as a star of commercials, as a person whom people can believe in and even love. You would think the person would need to show a little bit of himself -- even if it's fake and just a persona. People who knew
But Woods -- well, remarkably, he really has not even created a public character for himself. He is, instead, a blank slate. People talk about how
Tiger is different. I don't think anyone beyond his close circle really feels like they know Tiger Woods. And maybe even those people don't know. Is he funny? Some say yes, but I've never really heard him say anything especially funny. Does he like talking about politics? Movies? Sports? Can he tell a story? Is he a good listener? Does he have interesting thoughts about faith? Does he get on the floor and play with his kids? Which
We don't know. We know he was raised to play golf. We know he plays it better than anyone in the world. We know that he does not like cameras clicking during his backswing, and he has a remarkable ability to get himself out of golf danger, and he does not miss many important putts. We know he married a Swedish model, and they have two cute kids and a couple of dogs. We know that he is friends with
Beyond these few tidbits, you can go to
• Tiger's alarm clock is set at 5:00 a.m. sharp.*
• Tiger's inspirations are his parents and
• His perfect day would be a day in which he surfed, skied, played golf and went spear fishing. All in one day. So in other words, Tiger Woods' perfect day is... pretty much any day he wants.
• His biggest challenge is to become a better person tomorrow.
• His favorite soundtrack -- and this is by far my favorite answer -- is "anything from '80s and early '90s." I mean, you're not even trying now. Really? ANYTHING from the '80s or early '90s would be his favorite soundtrack. "Hey, what's your favorite soundtrack?" "Oh, I don't know, it's like 'Purple Rain' or 'Weird Science" or 'Amadeus' or 'Electric Bugaloo' or 'Chariots of Fire' or 'Eddie and the Cruisers' or 'Schindler's List,' or, you know, the music from that one with the guy from that thing, you remember?"... Plus, what kind of question is that in the first place. Your favorite soundtrack?
Point is: Tiger's life is not any of your business or my business or anyone else's business. And that's cool. That's his right. But, here's the thing: He plays golf. He does commercials. And people still want to know. We want to know because we are invested in him. We won't spend hours and hours on weekends watching the birdie-making computer play golf. We won't buy Cadillacs because the robot drives them. We won't care if he uses the American Express card. We won't point the robot out to our children. We won't put little furry robots on our drivers.
I suppose that Tiger Woods is as good at playing golf as anyone in the world is at doing what they do. He is as good at golf as
All of which brings us back to the beginning: Earlier this week, word spread that Tiger Woods was in a car accident. At first, I guess, there were all these rumors about it being serious and so on. Soon, though, it became apparent that it was not too serious. And then a few details leaked out. Nobody could be too sure about the details -- but the reports said that Woods was out at 2:30 a.m., the one-car accident was near his house, there was no alcohol involved. Weird. Then, more details, apparently his wife
And then, police were asked to come back to talk to Tiger later because he was sleeping. When they came back the next day, they were told to wait another day. When the came back the next day, they were told Tiger was not talking.
Oh yeah -- this should probably be mentioned too: There was a report in the
To be honest, I don't find much of this too interesting. I can probably piece together in my mind a version of what happened that night. Maybe it's right, maybe it's wrong, but I just tend to make presumptions about 2:30 a.m. car accidents with windows broken by wives swinging golf clubs shortly after the
What I do find interesting -- endlessly interesting -- is how Tiger Woods handles this. He has always been able to so carefully control his image. And now, well, this is out of his control. And he knows it. Sure, he can ask for privacy -- as he did in a
That's the weird part of the media world today. There are voices attacking us from all sides. There is more coverage of sports and politics and entertainment and business and everything else than ever before. But so little of it is real. So little of it has any substance, any meaning. "What's your favorite soundtrack?" "Oh, anything from the '80s or early '90s." Just like that.
Well, here was this moment in Tiger Woods' life, a painful moment, an intensely private moment that ran naked into the public square. Something real. So now what? How will he handle this? What will we learn about him in the process? Will he stick with the wife-saved-him-with-golf-club story? Will he pretend it never happened? Will he sue the
I know I shouldn't -- but I'll be following along.