“Who cares if he cheated,” my friend, an avid golfer and golf enthusiast exclaimed. While watching the Masters on TV, I passionately declared that I did not like Tiger Woods.
My friend continued, “Fine. You don’t have to like him as a person but there’s no denying the man is a phenomenal athlete.”
The outburst from my friend resonated with me. Should we be able to disconnect the man from the sport?
Woods has never cheated at his chosen profession although there was some drama that occurred over the weekend at The Masters. The usually fair and square golfer made a mishap that some claimed was intentional when he made a "bad drop" which resulted in penalty drop two yards behind his original shot.
Since I’m not a golf expert and even those that claim to know the sport inside and out can’t come to a conclusion if Woods knowingly did this, we have to assume it was accidental.
The golfer ended up finishing in the top ten.
So with that being said, his golf past has indicated that he has won fairly due to his talent, hard work and dedication.
Woods has never cheated his fans. He cheated on his wife.
In no way, shape or form did he pull a Lance Armstrong. He did not use performance enhancing drugs to achieve his victories, or dupe a charity organization nor did he lie under oath or conceal the truth to the public.
Even when his extramarital affairs came to light, Woods did not deny it unlike many other philanderers before him. He owned his mistakes even though those mistakes were within the context of his private life.
For some reason, we the public, myself included, feel that we have the right to be judge and jury of a public figure’s personal conduct.
Now, I am not a die-hard sports fan. I do not know Woods’ specific golf statistics however I am aware of the stats on his personal life: dozens of alleged mistresses, one betrayed ex wife, and two young children who one day will understand why their father went from being a beloved, commercially viable athlete to a man whose name is now synonymous with torrid infidelity.
As of late, it seems the tide may be turning for Tiger. After all, he did compete for another coveted green jacket and even more surprisingly did so with the beautiful blonde Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn cheering from the sidelines. Her support alone purifies Tiger’s muddy past; showing the world that the pro golfer could be worthy of a second chance.
Alas, it's still a very personal decision as to how you feel about his dishonorable behavior within his marriage. Woods' crime was not punishable by law. He broke a known moral code.
Is he a role model for being a good husband or partner? Hell no.
Yet, he is an inspiration to young athletes who have the eye of the Tiger. He has exhibited nothing less than an example that hard work pays off.
What he does in his bedroom should not be our business. Our business is what he does on the golf course.
There is a divide between the man and the sport.
It is your choice whether you want to buy into the Tiger Woods brand.
It your decision if you want to be a fan of his athletic prowess.
It is up to you whether to turn the television off when his face appears, or to buy what he is selling.
It is not Tiger’s moral obligation, unless dictated by a moral clause in a company contract, to live up to your standards.