11-30-09: I'm in the Wrong Line of Work

Hello again everybody...

Welcome back from your holiday weekend. I hope everyone had a festive and enjoyable Thanksgiving. Mine was pretty damned good. I got through 6 different Bond films (4 Connery, 1 Moore and 1 Brosnan). And then it turned out that Spike TV was doing it's own marathon on Friday, so I got through 2 more that day!

Between that and gorging myself (in a civilized manner, of course) on whatever food I chose, it was a winner of a weekend, no doubt.

Oh, and one other note, I got to introduce my cousin Maggie to the wonderful game of hockey on Friday. Through my considerable influence (insert heavy dose of sarcasm here), I was able to get her in to see her first Minnesota Wild game as they prevailed over the dastardly Colorado Avalanche. Well, actually the Avs aren't as “dastardly” as they used to be, and the Wild technically have more goons on their club now than Colorado, but I've digressed... The point is, the Wild won a well-played contest, 5-3, defeating a division rival. I'm not sure if Maggie will turn into a full-on puck-head now, but she seemed to have a good time, and it's always a bonus to get to do something fun for a family member.

So that about sums up my weekend. Well, there was some college football in there too, but I'll save that for Wednesday. (I wish I could save it for a year from Wednesday, but I'll take my whipping like a man.) Did I mention the Wild beat the Avs twice over the weekend? At least I've got that going for me.

Someone who didn't have such a good weekend? One Eldrick “Tiger” Woods. Details are still sketchy, but part of that is because he's not talking. And his silence is what's got me talking today...

Let's get to the rant then, shall we?

”A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.”
- Fred Allen (1894 - 1956), American comedian

Sometimes the right quote just falls into your lap, and leads directly to what you want to talk about.

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Tiger, Tiger, Tiger. (sigh)

I assume by now, most of you are familiar with the basics of Tiger's motor-vehicle mishap from the wee hours of Friday morning. If not, take a gander at this Washington Post article and you can catch up on the details.

Of course, that article just lays out the basics. There was a crash, his wife Elin used a golf club purportedly to free him from the wrecked car, Woods sustained facial injuries, and nobody's talking.

What you won't see in that article is the rampant speculation now taking place in various media over what led up to the Friday morning incident.

Last week, the National Enquirer published a story revealing an alleged romantic connection between Woods and New York Club Hostess Rachel Uchitel.

So it's only natural that some would speculate that there might be a connection between said revelation and Woods leaving his home in a hurry at 2:55am on the morning after Thanksgiving. Especially with so many unanswered questions.

How did Tiger receive his injuries if the accident was so minor that the airbags in his Cadillac didn't deploy? Why did Elin need a golf club to smash in windows to get him out of the car? There wasn't an extra remote for the locks? And why was her first reaction to hearing a commotion to grab a golf club? Supposedly she didn't have to go back into the house for it.

If you believe speculation and rumor, there was an argument about the alleged affair, Tiger tried to leave, Elin grabbed a golf club and displayed her displeasure on Tiger's Caddy. Tiger was trying to get away, and in the dark of night backed up too far and hit a fire hydrant. Then, when trying to avoid her a second time, ran into a tree.

There is no direct evidence, but people can connect dots. And when the principals involved aren't talking, then there's nothing else but to connect the dots on our own.

And this is where I believe that A) Tiger's making a mistake. And B) I'm in the wrong line of work.

For some reason, athletes and celebrities keep getting this wrong. And it's my contention that they should hire me on a consulting retainer to be their “voice of reason” when they get themselves into a mess.

Look, I don't know if Tiger had an affair with this woman or not. I don't know if what happened Friday morning had anything to do with that allegation. But there's certainly enough smoke around those particular areas to guess that there might be a flame or two of truth.

But instead of getting out in front of the story, controlling it and being as honest as is legally-sensible, Tiger's going the other way and clamming up.

So far he's canceled three separate appointments with the local gendarmes. And yesterday, he released this vague statement on his website:

”As you all know, I had a single-car accident earlier this week, and sustained some injuries. I have some cuts, bruising and right now I'm pretty sore.

This situation is my fault, and it's obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I'm human and I'm not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn't happen again.

This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way. Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.

The only person responsible for the accident is me. My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false.

This incident has been stressful and very difficult for Elin, our family and me. I appreciate all the concern and well wishes that we have received. But, I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be.”

Well I'm glad we got that all cleared up!

What?! Come on Tiger! “My family and I deserve some privacy”?! Really? That's how you're going to handle this?

I'm sorry, but that doesn't fly. When you ask us to watch your tournaments, buy products you sponsor, and help all the poor little children by donating to your foundation, you don't get to drop “my family and I deserve some privacy” when something like this happens.

I'm not saying people have a right to every last intimate detail of Tiger's life. But when there's drama like this, he's got to give more of an explanation than, “my family and I deserve some privacy”.

And what are we to make of the “I'm human and I'm not perfect” paragraph? Is he talking about the car crash? Or is he talking about the purported mistress?

Here's the problem. When he leaves it open to interpretation like that, it's going to be interpreted. And not necessarily in the manner he'd like.

This is where public figures get it wrong all the time. After making their living by craving the spotlight and public attention, they think that when they screw up, they can hide behind vague statements, obfuscate as long as possible and it will all eventually go away.

But it never does. Once people start asking questions about situations like this, they rarely stop until some form of an answer is found.

What Tiger doesn't seem to grasp is that he's far better off having that “answer” come from him, rather than from Ms. Uchitel or one of her friends who saw the pair together, or anyone else.

We've seen it time and time again. In our society, if you stand up in front of cameras and microphones and admit what you did, admit that it was wrong, tell people you're sorry and that you're going to work as hard as you can to repair the damage you've wrought, the public will forgive you.

Have you seen David Letterman's numbers since he admitted having affairs with women on his staff? They haven't dropped an iota. Granted, he was benefited by being the victim of an alleged extortion attempt. But that doesn't change the problematic nature of his actions.

Or let's go back to sports. Andy Pettite gets named in the Mitchell Report as someone who used steroids. He holds a press conference and says yes, he used them. Here's why he used them. He's sorry that he let his fans and teammates down. He doesn't want kids to follow his example. Et cetera, et cetera. And the whole thing blew over in a week.

Where as Roger Clemens gets named in the same report, denies absolutely that he ever used them and there followed months and months of further hints and allegations which have tarnished his reputation far further than the initial allegations ever would have.

And of course, there's the ultimate example. A President of the United States went from, “I did not have sex with that woman” to “Indeed I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate” and "I must put it right, and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to do so". And in so doing has been forgiven to the point of becoming a revered elder amongst Democratic Party circles, and enough of a world figure to be sent off to North Korea to free jailed journalists.

Do you see the pattern here?

I know Tigers got a phalanx of attorneys, publicists and agents, all trying to get in his ear, all sure that they alone know the best way to handle this situation.

Enter: Dan Cook, Tiger's hired “voice of common sense”.

Get out in front of this thing, Tiger.

Go talk to the Orlando police. Tell them what happened. Tell them you'll make restitution for any damage to the city's fire hydrant and your neighbor's tree. Tell them you don't want there to be any charges for any domestic issue that might have occurred between you and your wife.

Then hold a press conference and be honest about whatever relationship there may have been between you and Ms. Uchitel. If it was sexual in nature, say so. Admit that you made a mistake. Admit that you screwed up. Tell people you feel awful for what you've done to your family. Tell your fans that you let them down. Tell them that there's no one to blame but yourself. And that while you can't ever change what you've done, you'll learn from it, grow from it, and do your absolute best to never repeat those same mistakes.

You don't have to reveal the exact details of what happened Friday morning. You've already embarrassed your wife, there's no need to tell tales of a woman crazed with anger and embarrassment wielding a 9-iron in your general direction. Tell the press that you'd like to get everything out there, but because the authorities are involved, your counsel has advised you not to get into specific details of that incident.

If you own up to whatever you're alleged to have done outside the bonds of your marriage, nobody's going to care about specifics of the Friday morning scene anyway.

But the longer you delay, the longer you try to hide whatever happened, the more you drop lines like “my family and I deserve some privacy”, the longer this cloud is going to hang over you and your family. It'll impact your image, your earning power and your reputation with your fans. And not in a positive way.

Get out in front of this thing, Tiger. Or it'll be in front of you every time you tee it up.

That's just my two cents anyway.

Thoughts? Comments? Your feelings? Attach a comment below, or you can always drop me an email at

That's going to do it for today. I'm back on Wednesday with the usual college football tomfoolery.

Until then, thanks for reading!


  1. Yeah, that's about how it should work. other news, regarding football picks, oof. 44.5 is a LOT of points.

  2. Save it for Wednesday! I told you. I'll take my ass-whipping like a man! ;)

  3. I'm not sure that it should work that way, but it certainly does for athletes/celebrities. The public tends to forgive a penitent person quickly. But you're right, the longer he keeps the story hidden, the more digging the journalists will do. And he better be careful about what they dig up.

    On a side note, apparently Elin should be training up for the LPGA. She appears to be pretty handy with a 9 iron. :-)

  4. Careful now Cat... let's not jump to conclusions!

    It could've been a sand wedge! :)

  5. Whatever it was, it must have been a "rescue" club!