Reflections on Tiger Woods.
Tiger Woods is 33 years old. It seems a time when many have their most painful year in life. It certainly was for me. At 33. So he's right on time. I want to share my thoughts about Tiger and Elin in three areas. I’ll visit him as a golfer, the public vs. private issue, and the personal lives of Tiger and Elin.
Tiger is the greatest player to ever play the game. Whether he has the greatest career or not is yet to be determined but no doubt he has the most complete game. If his body and his putting hold up he’ll bypass Nicklaus in most important categories over the next decade. I am in complete awe of Tiger’s power, finesse and nerves when he is at his best on the golf course.
That said I don’t root much for Tiger in tournaments anymore. I’ve never been a dynasty type of guy other than liking the Staubach led Cowboys when I was little. I don’t root for the Patriots, don’t like the Lakers, and the house that Ruth built may as well be an outhouse. Tiger’s record is better than any of those teams.
In golf I am more for the first time major winners. I thought the British Open finish was great this year. Tom Watson at 59 almost won but didn’t. Stewart Cink who’d never won a major did. Watson got some time to relive past glory and Cink joins the select list of golfers who are major champions. It was a tremendously meaningful victory to Cink and I find that more appealing than Watson adding another notch in his belt even if his age made it a compelling narrative.
In that tournament Tiger missed the cut. I was ok with that. Tiger shows incredible class and honor to the other golfers on the course in most cases. At other times his behavior is childish and to call it classless would be too kind. He might want to take in the Bobby Jones movie. Being a fierce competitor doesn’t equate to inviting the person of The Trinity du jour to damn the club or ball or swing that went askew at that moment. And those are some of his milder moments. After the Jones movie Tiger would be advised to hang out with Mr. Gary Player for a while.
Player knows that being a great golfer does not make one a great man. Player is a great man who happened to play great golf. While Tiger benefited in many ways from his relationship with Michael Jordan, it’s clear that Jordan is no Gary Player in many important facets of life.
Tiger Woods is a public figure who has done well in maintaining a private life. He’s fine with all the cameras on him when he is playing golf but doesn’t want them around when he is not. Good for him.
Yet in this instance he took his private life to the street. A nice, expensive street to live on to be sure but still a public street. So here is a private man in turmoil who made a public mistake. He then didn’t deal with the public matter publicly.
As he’s said in statements there is much embarrassment over this. For a man who is meticulous over his public image to be out of control in this manner is going to flush his face.
I do believe he could have saved face by being more direct in the beginning, and telling what happened in a general manner without going into too much detail, but much more than he did share.
The first two sections of this are shattered car glass compared to the rest. Here is where my heart really is.
I hurt for Tiger. I hurt for Elin. I hurt for them as a married man and woman. I remember back to the first week of the revelation of Ann’s affair. My heart exploded. Dynamited. An old stadium being imploded. Mount Saint Helens. A midair plane crash. My chest ached so much it hurt to breathe.
Ann was crushed as well. I remember looking at her. She seemed to have aged 40 years overnight as she faced her duplicity, her lying and the pain she had caused those she loved including me and the children of her womb.
I remember an image of her standing in the kitchen. She was half alive half dead. Her matted hair hadn’t been combed in two days. Her shoulders seemed to have shrunk two sizes in her wrinkled t-shirt. Her neck was bent forward yearning for someone to chop off her head so she wouldn’t have to decide whether to take her own life or not. The truth of her betrayal crashed in like an escalade smashing into a tree.
We both fantasized about a car accident. We thought about taking our own lives and making it look like an accident. We thought about doing that and taking the life of the other. We thought about doing that and taking our own life. We thought about doing that and taking both our lives. Those things do go through ones mind when dealing with pain this intense.
In those first few days I could easily see myself or Ann heading out at two in the morning after a heated fight in full F-it mode and smashing into stuff like fire hydrants or trees. Maybe we would have opened the garage door or maybe not.
I never took a golf club to a car window but I did take a 3 iron to an antique mirror I had given to Ann as a Christmas present. I used a Spalding not a Nike. That mirror was shattered, splattered all over the floor. I cleaned up the jagged shards that may as well been dripping with the blood I felt seeping from my wounded heart. It really didn’t help much. I was just out an 80 year old mirror.
So somewhere near this place is where this 33 year old man and his beautiful bride are right now. Both their souls are in shock and traumatized. And they had to deal with the media?!
They have a long road ahead and I want them to make it. I want them to deal with truth and hurt and heal and grow and have a great marriage. I want them to be together, with their kids and share the fun of life again and not give in and end their marriages like Watson and Norman did.
My hope for them in this season of hope is that they find the baby whose birth we will soon celebrate. This baby also had an extremely difficult 33rd year of life. May he bring meaning to the suffering they are currently experiencing. May he guide them through the darkness of this black cave to a place of rest and redemption and resurrection.