Friday, December 11, 2009

The Whole Tiger Thing

I’ll admit that I wasn’t Tiger’s biggest fan.  Although I concede that he is the best golfer ever, at a tougher time to stand out than there has ever been.  He transcended the sport and made every other player better.  He is not only the best scorer, he is the best putter, has the best short game, the best distance control, and he can hit it as far as anyone on tour when he wants.  There seems to be very little that he can’t do. 

I wasn’t his biggest fan because I do prefer Phil.  I am a Sun Devil who had a couple of really cool interactions with Phil and he will always be my favorite player to watch.  I wasn’t his biggest fan because when I saw him as a young star at the Phoenix Open more than a decade ago, I saw him curse out a comeraman that really didn’t do anything. 

I’ve also never been a fan of the fire that he shows when he plays golf.  Not because he is passionate, but because he beats himself up as well as others when he plays poorly.  He can be very crass and unsportsmanlike in a sport that is known for sportsmanship. 

Even though I don’t cheer for him when Phil is in the mix, I have loved to watch his amazing feats.  I’ve seen him demolish the field, come from behind, and hit miraculous shots and putts at the exactly right time.  I have never seen another athlete in any sport who can summon a perfect performance exactly when he needs it.

This whole thing about his marriage is sad.  I don’t pretend to know what happened.  Over a dozen women have come forward to say that they were romantically involved with him in the week after his mysterious car accident.  I will assume that some of those women are dishonestly looking for publicity.  You can be an instant celebrity right now if you add your name to the Tiger list, so I’m sure that several of these women are just opportunists.  But it has now become clear that Tiger has cheated on his wife for a long period of time.  It is also becoming somewhat clear that she is finding out about these infidelities at about the same time that we are. 

I was shocked to see another golfer on TV today talking about how Tiger has valued his family above so many other things and will be a better family man for this.  I am shocked to hear how many people are offering compassion to him at this time, when he is the one who really does deserve blame here.  I just read an article on where the writer said how sorry he feels for Tiger to have to try and salvage things while the media is going crazy and the helicopters are buzzing over his house all day long.  I’m not saying that there won’t be a time for people to be there for Tiger, but the people offering the condolence are people who are jockeying to get into position for the new order of Tiger. 

I was sickened to hear Oprah say that she was going to reach out to Tiger.  It just reeks of self-promotion to think that having him on your show, or having a phone conversation will help anything besides her own ratings. 

Right now, what Tiger needs are people to tell him the truth.  I’m hoping that Elin, her family and Tiger’s mom are all making sure that TIger knows that he has victimized her, and his family.  Right now, someone needs to address the fact that Tiger has more money than any athlete ever, a bigger foundation, a bigger corporation, bigger endorsements, more fame, more accomplishments, a beautiful wife and healthy kids, every material object that you could ever want; but with all of this stuff, it hasn’t been enough for Tiger.  I don’t know if anyone is in a mentoring position over Tiger, or if there is anyone that Tiger looks up to, but isn’t this what happens to athletes and celebs that reach the top.  Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson, so many politicians who have tasted the power, Madonna, so many others; they all have gone to the same crazy place, a place where there is no where to look up to and so you deify yourself.  You convince yourself that your decisions are right because after all, it is you who made them, and you are the best. 

In my mind there is only one thing that can happen here that will change things.  Tiger needs to find a relationship with Christ.  I don’t care if it is corny or cliché, but Tiger needs to know that he can still look up to something or someone.  Crying on Oprah’s couch might help his new media problem.  Going to counseling might help his impulse control, but it doesn’t seem that impulse control is the problem when it is a serial behavior. 

Tiger will probably never ready my words or hear my voice, but if I could talk to him, I would love to talk about not only that God can and will forgive him, but how God has given Tiger all that he has, all the talent, all the privilege, all of the blessing.  And God wants Tiger to choose Him, not for the sake of obedience, not for the sake of justice, but for the reason that God created Tiger to love Him.  In my mind, Tiger will never overcome this problem and its consequences by will power, will power doesn’t keep you from doing things that you seem to be so willing to do.  Tiger needs a new will, and it needs to be submitted not to Tiger, Earl, or anyone else but to God.  That is going to be where the will power is. 

I don’t want Tiger to be a lifelong tabloid mess like Britney, or all of the other freak shows that are highlighted in those pages.  I want to see Tiger be the person who sees the need for change and actually makes it happen, by giving up the leadership of his own life to a higher and better power.  If anyone can do it, shouldn’t it be Tiger?  He only seems to do things 100%, and I hope that the advice he gets is not from Oprah who tells him that he has the strength to deal with this, or the Dalai Lama who tells him that other people can give him the strength of the universe.  I hope that someone who can authentically represent Jesus will be there to be a guide to him.

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