Inside the Ropes With Tiger

    Frankly, I’m stunned by the media’s reaction to Tiger Woods’ driving mishap. Come on, have you seen this guy’s driving accuracy stats? He hits trees all the time! 
    My bad. I couldn’t resist that one.
    But that’s what you get when you pull hook your squeaky clean celebrity image into the deep rough and then tell everyone you “deserve” privacy. For years Woods has been able to keep inquiring minds – not the mention the National Enquirer – from getting inside his life because he never gave them any juicy tidbits to gnaw on.  He was a one-dimensional figure – Tiger Woods, professional golfer. He lived his life like he played golf, with him on one side of the ropes and the gallery – the onlookers – on the other.  Distance always has been Woods’ strength.
    The gallery is now inside the ropes, and everyone in it is no longer blinded by Woods’ aura of perfection.  That’s what you get when you’re a megastar public figure – the first billion-dollar athlete we’re told — and you’ve wrecked your SUV under very bizarre circumstances.
    You can ask for privacy all you want, but you are not going to get it. In fact, because of your silence and what is perceived as an attempt to hide your injuries from scrutiny  – the decision not to play this week in a golf tournament – you’ve just opened the floodgates for rampant gossip and media muckraking.  (Dude, you won the 2008 U.S. Open in a playoff – that’s five days and 90 holes of competition under the most demanding course setup in the game – while playing in pain with a torn ACL and now you’re bagging a tournament that you host because of what? Minor cuts on your face?)
   Golfers often say that golf and life are a lot alike: Outcome is a direct result of performance and ability, with bad breaks just part of the game. Before his accident, that  was true, too, for Woods.  But after his errant drive, well, not so much.