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Mars vs. Venus: What Does Tiger Woods Owe the Public?

December 8, 2009

Mars vs. Venus is a new, hopefully ongoing series between me and fellow blogger Lauren over at My Life, Incomplete. We’ll be discussing various topics for which the variation between the male and female perspective might create a better understanding of how our two genders think. Also noteworthy is that Jamey offers the perspective of a single male, while Lauren’s contributes the point of view of a female in a committed, long-term relationship.

Tiger Woods. Tiger, Tiger, Tiger.

I’ve visited The Huffington Post more times over the last week than I have in the last year. I’m morbidly fascinated not only by your adultery, but also by whatever the hell happened that fateful night. I’m one of the people who are making the compilation of Jamie Jungers photos rise to the top of “most popular” list. I’m part of the problem.

I’ve watched you play–nay, dominate–golf over the last decade. There’s nothing I like more than to see you crush opponents. I don’t even like Nike, but you embody victory. Huge fan, this guy.

Do I feel that you owe me anything?

Not at all.

Years ago when you realized that you were really, really good at golf, you signed up for a few things:

  1. To play professional golf.
  2. To make lots of money.

However, what I think most people forget–athletes and fans alike–is that sports are entertainment. If no one watches golf, professional golf ceases to exist. The same goes for any sport, and yet athletes take themselves so seriously. It’s awesome to see Tim Tebow play his heart out, but when you see him crying on the sidelines, I feel like tapping him on the shoulder to remind him that he plays football simply so I can be entertained on Saturdays. That’s it. Athletes are entertainers, just like the gladiators of old were entertainers.

So Tiger signed up to play golf and make lots of money, but as part of the deal, he became an entertainer. What we–the public–forget is that Tiger Woods is a golf entertainer. He’s not a tabloid entertainer. His job is to bring us joy by playing golf. That’s it.

Tiger, I respect that you and your wife have tried to live your wife quietly. I really do. You don’t seem to thrive on the glitz and attention that so many wannabe celebrities do. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that you just tried to get out of your car in front of the paparazzi, and you forgot to put on underwear.

Once you step into the public eye in any way, your entire life becomes our entertainment. We forget that you are merely a golf entertainer, and we start to think that we can get–that we deserve–more entertainment out of you. This is really sad. I mean, couldn’t we all just go away? Couldn’t we stop refreshing TMZ? Couldn’t we turn to our own lives and realize that they’re just as entertaining–if not moreso–than yours?

Unfortunately not. I already air my dirty laundry out on this blog, and only a few hundred people care. It’s simply better when you’re famous.

This debacle will pass in time. You’ll get your teeth fixed, you and your wife will patch things up, and you’ll go on to play a lot more golf and win a lot more money. We’ll all remember that you’re human and you make mistakes, and we’ll move on.

I’ll tell you what: My Christmas present to you is that I won’t seek out or open articles about your personal life until December 26. That should give you plenty of time to clean up this mess and go back to being a golf entertainer instead of the full-fledged entertainer that you’ve become. Good luck!

Click over to see Lauren’s take on this matter.

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35 Comments leave one →
  1. December 8, 2009 1:25 am

    Jamey, I like that you wrote this as a letter to Tiger. Nice touch! Great post. I’m looking forward to doing more of these together! 🙂

  2. T-Mac permalink
    December 8, 2009 8:20 am

    Mars and Venus seem pretty aligned on this one….good series idea! I’m looking forward to more, especially some where your opinions drastically differ. Does Lauren fall on the Salma or Penelope side of things?

    Also, on this post topic in general…I’m unbelievably tired of two things: (1) professional sports delving too deeply into athletes personal lives (particularly pro football). Can you imagine if your employer said, “Jamey, I heard you got a speeding ticket last week. I’m going to suspend you from work for 2 weeks without pay.” Goodell has gone way, way over the line in forcing players to be role models off the field. They may be in the spotlight, but he has no right to mandate what they do with it when they are not on employer time. (2) I know this is old news, but I’m still not over the fact that Congress spent millions (billions?) of dollars investigating steroids in professional baseball when they don’t give a rat’s ass about any other crime, period. I could go on about this one for quite some time, but it just gets me fuming.

    • December 8, 2009 10:47 am

      You know, I hadn’t thought about your first point before, but it’s a good one. I just think that we need to remember that athletes are entertainment–they sign up to play sports so we can have something to watch on the weekends. That’s all it is. Sure, it’s great when one of them steps up and uses their fame to set a good example. And it’s just as dumb when they make big, public mistakes as if they forgot that people are watching their every move. But in the end, they are sports entertainers. They play sports and make money. We watch them and pay money. That’s it.

      Good point on #2 as well. I was completely bewildered by that investigation.

    • December 8, 2009 11:38 am

      T-Mac: There is NO question. Penelope is WAAAAAYYY hotter than Salma!

      You made me think about something I hadn’t considered by saying that you’re looking forward to more of these posts, “especially when [our] opinions drastically differ,” because we don’t know if they will. We choose the topic without discussing our opinions on it. We don’t know whether our opinions will differ when we write the posts.

      Jamey: Have you considered this? What if we think too much alike? Our series could be bunk! 😉

      • December 8, 2009 11:41 am

        Good point–we don’t really know if our opinions will drastically differ. But I think that’s what’ll make it interesting. Not everything is black-and-white. Women and men aren’t opposites. And you and I aren’t even representatives of ALL men and women–we’re just one man and one women who have some thoughts to share.

        One topic we’ve talked about discussing is: “Can men and women be friends?” We’re completely open to topics, so if anyone has any ideas that could provoke interestingly distinct reactions from one man and one woman, please let us know.

  3. Eric permalink
    December 8, 2009 10:35 am

    T-Mac makes some very good points.

    With respect to Tiger, no, it’s really not our business. But the responsibility of this should ultimately fall on Tiger. He’s a married man and one of the most recognizable sports figures. He’s got to know that when he’s going around banging cocktail waitresses in ten different states, texting them, talking dirty, leaving voicemails and flying them to foreign countries, at some point, someone is going to find out! If you ask me, Stanford should revoke his degree for how stupid he has been throughout this process. The bottom line is if you’re a celebrity, you know what’s coming….and when you can’t keep it in your pants and try to have sex with every slutty VIP nightlife host in Vegas then its going to be a problem. You get what you pay for. And Tiger is paying dearly! And one more thing, you are Tiger Woods! If you are going to cheat on your model wife, this is the best you can do???!!!! A beat-down porn star? A wanna be nightlife host with implants from the Hamptons whose borderline crazy? Good lord….a story for another day.

    • December 8, 2009 10:50 am

      Good rant. Tiger’s made some stupid mistakes. But I think that the point is that it’s none of our business. Sure, we’re morbidly curious about this stuff, but that doesn’t make it our business.

      On a broader scale, it’s interesting to me to see the women that men–public figures or not–choose to cheat with. More often than not they seem to fall into the categories you describe above. Why is that?

      • December 8, 2009 11:26 am

        Jamey, that is because the women who sleep with married men are typically those things. There’s no way to dance around this: Good women don’t sleep with married men. End of story.

        About the morbid curiousity – I feel like I’m one big walking contradiction regarding this Tiger Woods debacle. Here I am saying that it is none of our business, yet when I see the Huffington Post tweet this morning regarding the woman removed from Tiger’s home on a stretcher, I am absolutely morbidly curious! It’s a shame when our instinct doesn’t match our values, isn’t it? (Sounds like something Tiger would say…)

        • December 8, 2009 11:42 am

          Good women don’t sleep with married men. Are you sure? I’m thinking there might be a lot of conflicted women who are good at heart that sleep with married men. But I don’t really know.

          • December 8, 2009 12:02 pm

            I am by no means on a pedestal here. I am a sinner, no doubt. But the line has to be drawn somewhere. That’s where I draw mine. You could say the same about a murderer, but I wouldn’t.

            • December 8, 2009 12:09 pm

              Oh okay–I guess what I’m saying is that “good” people make mistakes, and in doing so, they become less good. And of course this goes both ways. I’m sure there are plenty of good men who cheat or let someone else cheat on them, and in doing so, they become less good. It doesn’t mean those same men won’t help an old lady cross the street, but I think we can all agree that sleeping with a married person–or being a married person who sleeps with someone else–is not a good thing to do.

              • jack campbell permalink
                December 8, 2009 2:24 pm

                Jamey and Lauren,

                I wonder if your opinions would be different if your lives were different. What if Jamey was married and had a daughter who was 12, and Laurens song, Braden was also 12. What if these children loved golf and looked up to Tiger Woods as the role model he has portrayed himself to be? If YOU had to answer the questions that your children would ask in this situation, would you still feel it is none of our business? Or would you think, “thanks ALOT Tiger!”?
                Yes, sports IS entertainment. But along with it comes the image people portray. Tiger has taken that role as the squeeky clean guy and run with it. He opens schools, he does charity work, and has people in the dozens who have worked hard to polish that image. It is SOOO hypocritical to set yourself up to be this good guy, role model and then have DOZENS of mistresses. If he wanted to be the bad boy, play THAT role and don’t set yourself above others. Remember, he was doing this for 3 yrs, while his wife was giving him 2 lovely children.
                Also, Tiger used to LOVE to hang out and play golf with Michael Jordan. But when Michael started getting rumors about him in the papers about gambling and longtime affairs,, Tiger distanced himself from it..Hypocritical.

                How does one explain the downfall of a role model to their child? What do I say now after pointing to Tiger as an example of what happens when you work hard and apply yourself to something you love? All I know is that if his father was alive, the bruises he got from his wife wouldnt be the ONLY ones we would be seeing on him. He let himself, his family, the world of Golf, and alot of adoring children down. He deserves every bit of the embarrassment that is coming his way. If he wanted to play the field, GREAT! There are plenty who do and dont aspire to be the role model. But he played the role, sold the pictures of his perfect little family to the papers. Hypocritical now to turn around and say,”It’s a private matter”.

  4. Dionne permalink
    December 8, 2009 11:57 am

    As interesting as your opinion is on the matter, I am of the opinion that I don’t care about Tiger Woods and have never googled anyone’s name in relation to that story line. In fact, this is the only piece I’ve read on his personal life. I say WTFC…lol (figure that one out). My life is not affected by what this man did or did not do. I will not wake up in the middle of the night thinking, “What will happen next?” In fact, I just waisted a minute of my life by replying…lol.

    • December 8, 2009 11:58 am

      Yes! Well done, Dionne. I wish I could say the same about the time I’ve spent on Tiger over the last week.

      WTFC? What is the C?

      • T-Mac permalink
        December 8, 2009 12:17 pm

        I believe it may be “cares”

      • Dionne permalink
        December 8, 2009 4:42 pm

        Jamey it stands for Who The F*&$ Cares. Lol!

    • December 8, 2009 3:13 pm

      Jack–Thank you for your comment. It sounds like you know more about the precedent that Tiger Woods has set for himself as a role model than I do.

      It’s interesting to me how public and political figures can be truly hypocritical when it comes to the stances they take versus the lives they actually leave. I think this is something we all do to some extent, but for public figures, you have so many stances you could take! Choose one that isn’t the exact same as your personal shortcomings.

      Jack, I’m still not quite sold on your opinion that it’s too late for Tiger to say “it’s a private matter.” I mean, it’s not like he has flaunted these affairs. He hasn’t lived the lifestyle of a partier or swinger. That says to me that this other side of his life is actually private.

      This gives me the idea of a reality show that could help us all realize how difficult it is to maintain a private life when you’re in the public eye. Each show starts with a normal, unfamous person volunteering to be treated like a famous person. That means they get special treatment and all the perks of being famous, but they also get followed around by the paparazzi and have all the dirt dug up on them. Imagine this being done to you. It would absolutely suck, and most of us would look just as bad as Tiger (albeit perhaps in other areas of our lives).

      Also, you address the idea of professional athletes as role models. I don’t have kids, so I can’t say this for sure, but I can’t see myself ever conveying to my kids that an athlete is a role model. Maybe some aspects of athletes like discipline and hard work, but beyond that, is a professional athlete really someone to aspire to be? I don’t even know who I’d like my kids to use as role models. I’m not even sure that I have role models.

      • December 8, 2009 3:24 pm

        Jack – Great stuff here. I can’t wait to respond. Is the work day over yet?

      • Red permalink
        December 9, 2009 1:34 pm

        Jamey, I like the reality show concept. The problem is that it will get people to hate the TMZ, Papparazzi, nonsense, and those are the people who make the show.

        The Role model thing is hard to theorize about. I think you have to be there. What I do know is that kids have heroes. Whether Charles Barkley or Tiger asked for it, or wants it, that’s what they are.

        • December 9, 2009 1:37 pm

          That’s a good point…although, don’t most people already hate the paparazzi? I bet you could pay cameramen to act as paparazzi.

  5. Eric permalink
    December 8, 2009 1:10 pm

    I’m also going to throw this out there – consider it Eric’s Confession #1 (Jamey, don’t you love how commenters are now confessing?). I am absolutely, unequivocally, 100% entraced by this Tiger Woods story. I have no problems admitting it. I was in the airport on Saturday and Sunday and I picked up US and People and ravished the articles on Tiger and Elin. I even read the NY Post when I was up in NYC and went through the four page spread on Tiger and his mistresses. This if fascinating stuff! Double lives sell magazine artilces. That’s right media, you got me. Give me more, b/c I hate to say it but I love celebrity gossip. I eat it up more than Ben & Jerry’s after a bad day. So whoever the next cheater is, bring me some more “news” so I can refresh TMZ constantly throughout the day.

    • December 8, 2009 1:19 pm

      Don’t get me wrong–I’m just as entranced by this stuff. But I feel dirty about it. The Tiger story is particularly interesting because he comes across as such a stand-up guy…maybe we all secretly wanted him to mess up and have a crazy double life.

  6. Bryce permalink
    December 8, 2009 1:38 pm

    So this isn’t really directly related to your post, but I’ve been wondering about this a lot in relation to this story.

    Would this be a big story if he wasn’t married? If he was just a swinging single who slept around with a different girl in every city? I think, if that was the case, there would be a lot of people who wouldn’t respect him, but I don’t think it would be nearly as a big a deal or the media circus that it is now.

    So my question is, why would Tiger get married? He obviously likes to sleep around and he obviously doesn’t respect his wife or family, so what’s his incentive for getting married in the first place? He isn’t a politician who’s trying to portray a “family image.” He’s just an athlete. Wouldn’t he be just as successful if he was single? Surely he lived this same lifestyle before he got married, right? So why would he even bother with marriage?

    I’m sort of ashamed to be as interested in the story as I am, but I will admit that I’ve read a lot more about it than I would have liked.

    • December 8, 2009 1:56 pm

      To your first question, no, I don’t think this would be a big story at all if Tiger weren’t married.

      To your second question–this is really interesting. Why did Tiger get married? Do promiscuous men get married thinking (or wanting) that they’ll no longer be promiscuous? If some men or women like being promiscuous, why do they bother getting married at all? Or why not at least find someone equally promiscuous and just have an open agreement?

      Perhaps the answer is that it’s human nature to want to have our cake and eat it too, but we don’t want the same for others.

    • December 16, 2009 4:45 pm

      I am soooo late getting here…. I just had this “why did he get married” conversation with some friends. My take on it is that he had been successful and single for long enough. As the “role model” that he was supposed to be, there was likely pressure on him to “grow up”….. It was time for him to put a wife and baby in his Buick SUV. Isn’t that what we Americans are SUPPOSED to do?

      • December 16, 2009 5:34 pm

        An interesting take on this…most of us don’t experience what it’s like to be expected to be a role model. For those of you who have kids, you probably try to be role models for them, but you know exactly who your audience is. For Tiger Woods, that’s a lot of pressure for a lot of people he’ll never even meet (and who aren’t really his responsibility).

        Of course, that doesn’t mean he should cheat. But we all find ways to escape our lives in little ways, and he chose a really immature, unethical, immoral way. And with such women!

  7. December 8, 2009 3:25 pm

    P.S. I’m jealous of all your comments! Can I borrow some of your readers, please??

  8. jack campbell permalink
    December 8, 2009 6:14 pm

    Jamey and Lauren,

    I wonder if your opinions would be different if your lives were different. What if Jamey was married and had a daughter who was 12, and Laurens song, Braden was also 12. What if these children loved golf and looked up to Tiger Woods as the role model he has portrayed himself to be? If YOU had to answer the questions that your children would ask in this situation, would you still feel it is none of our business? Or would you think, “thanks ALOT Tiger!”?
    Yes, sports IS entertainment. But along with it comes the image people portray. Tiger has taken that role as the squeeky clean guy and run with it. He opens schools, he does charity work, and has people in the dozens who have worked hard to polish that image. It is SOOO hypocritical to set yourself up to be this good guy, role model and then have DOZENS of mistresses. If he wanted to be the bad boy, play THAT role and don’t set yourself above others. Remember, he was doing this for 3 yrs, while his wife was giving him 2 lovely children.
    Also, Tiger used to LOVE to hang out and play golf with Michael Jordan. But when Michael started getting rumors about him in the papers about gambling and longtime affairs,, Tiger distanced himself from it..Hypocritical.

    How does one explain the downfall of a role model to their child? What do I say now after pointing to Tiger as an example of what happens when you work hard and apply yourself to something you love? All I know is that if his father was alive, the bruises he got from his wife wouldnt be the ONLY ones we would be seeing on him. He let himself, his family, the world of Golf, and alot of adoring children down. He deserves every bit of the embarrassment that is coming his way. If he wanted to play the field, GREAT! There are plenty who do and dont aspire to be the role model. But he played the role, sold the pictures of his perfect little family to the papers. Hypocritical now to turn around and say,”It’s a private matter”.

  9. T-Mac permalink
    December 9, 2009 7:52 am

    A question for your lawyer friends/readers:

    Is adultery a legally documented (state/national) crime? If so, why aren’t people like Tiger Woods charged with it and penalized under the legal system?

    Also, if it is a crime, I wonder if the PGA is going to suspend Tiger similarly to how other sports have been suspending their players lately for crimes unrelated to their sports.

  10. Red permalink
    December 9, 2009 1:47 pm

    Sorry all, I’m going to bring the business aspect into this, so bear with me.

    The public absolutely has every right for as much info as they want (though the topic of whether what the publuic wants is good for it or not is another topic). Tiger has made himself a brand. Slap his name on something golf-related and it sells, because of the charicature and abilities of Tiger the person are transferred to Tiger the brand. I like the charicature, so every time I buy something endorsed by the Tiger Woods Brand, I pay Tiger Woods. So he has my money, and now I have a continuing expectation that he at least maintains the chariacture that he has established.

    What if Prince Albert Pujols was a DBag (or Gretzkey, or Montana, or Jordan)? All the skill in the world, but disrespected his teammates, his fans, his family, was constantly seen durnk around town hitting on women in clubs, doing druggs etc. What would his Brand represent? Would you buy an Albert Pujols Jersey? Or a life-sized “Big Head,” and stick it up on the wall? Like a true Anti-hero he would champion excellence in his field, but otherwise be a failure. So while people woudl still buy tickets to watch him play (excellence in his field), (unless he endorsed Miller Light) his endorsements wouldn’t be worth the paper on whic it was printed.

  11. January 2, 2010 5:36 pm

    Many of folks blog about this topic but you wrote down really true words!!

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