In Defence of Tiger Woods

An attempt of a spirited defence of Eldrick Tont Woods’ recent indiscretion.

There has been much urgent malicious in the media about and against Eldrick Tont Woods, ‘Tiger Woods’ sexual infidelities. None of it is justified. Let us review what he is actually being vilified for.

Firstly, the intensity of the schadenfreude is most likely a reaction to the Tiger Woods media machine that used to rule the media waves and has annoyingly squeaky clean image that he tries to portray. In a word, they are getting their back on him for being a hypocrite.

But what is a hypocrite? It is someone who gives an untrue impression of what they really are or believe. And who amongst us is not a hypocrite or has been one? Our social environment demands that hypocrisy of us. Our social relations insist upon it. Have you said something you didn’t really mean in a social setting (i.e. call me? yeah, let’s meet up? nice to meet you!)? Have you smiled when you didn’t want to? Have you shook hands when you didn’t want to? Have you acted blameless or innocent when you have done wrong? We have all done these things. We are all hypocrites at one point or another. We flatter ourselves by using the word manners. So if we want to accuse him of hypocrisy, let’s put the cuff on ourselves first.

And why are we hypocrites? Usually it is to avoid offence and upsetting people. We do it sometimes to encourage those we like to like us back. We do it sometimes to achieve a greater purpose. Hypocrisy is ugliest when it is only for one’s self interest and nobody else’s. Tiger has used this hypocritical image to energize and attract interest in golf amongst the youth and turned it into one of the biggest richest sports events on earth. He sets up the Tiger Woods Foundation to further his ambitions to create a benign and encouraging environment for children. His false image must be weighed up against all the good work he has done using that false image. Just as literature tells a ‘lie’ to tell a truth, humans commit smaller indiscretions to achieve what they feel are higher purposes.

This brings us to the question of why we cannot help but commit these indiscretions in the first place. But to ask such a question betrays a lack of understanding of human nature which is fallible, inconsistent and prone to failure. All religions remind us of our imperfection, our error prone nature, our distracted nature. All religions encourage us to struggle with our darker impulses and overcome them. Constantly. For some its sex. For others its power. For many its money. Most of humanity struggles with all these impulses. Tiger is no different. In fact, because of his immense privilege and talent and management team, it just may be that he has to struggle greater with controlling these impulses. Let us not forget that he is only 34 (just, his birthday was on 30 December 1975), which though is old in sporting terms these days, is still a young human being. The worse thing a human being could do with their youth is to live a perfect life without error, struggle or dilemmas. So it is good and in keeping with Tiger’s growth of his maturity. Hopefully he makes the right decision and ends up wiser. He will hopefully see that his biggest mistake in all this was not his sexual intensity or even his discretion but his insistence on perfection outside his life of golf and to believe in it. But these are the usual sins of youth committed during our reverie of immortality.

The other thing they are vilifying him for is that he was unfaithful to his wife. Part of this was a result of his media machine which played up what a great romance it was. The above arguments have similar application on this aspect. The other aspect is the betrayal in itself. I concede that it is generally wrong for either party to cheat on each other in a marriage, but we must be alive to the possibility that his sexual intensity notwithstanding, both parties may be to blame for the present predicament. And as he stands generally accused of being unfaithful to his wife, he is naturally deserving of any benefit of the doubt.

But let’s get to the crux of it: is adultery really newsworthy? On crude, intrusive level yes it is. On a civilized level, it is not. Why do I say this? Because Tiger Woods when you come down to it is a golfer. But not any golfer. He is hands down the greatest golfer ever on earth for all time. I, like others I’m sure, call him ‘the God of Golf’ but just ‘Golf’ for short. He truly is. Nicklaus’ record of 18 grand slams now looks like a literary device to merely mark off when exactly Tiger Woods crossed over to immortality (if he has not achieved it already) in the world’s great narrative. He tries to portray that he is a good human being, great father and husband, etc. but really all that is irrelevant to him as a golfer. It’s the distracting annoying unhealthy icing on the cake. Golf is the cake. Tiger doth baketh a cake. And lo’ and behold it was very good cake. So we ignore the icing.

And more importantly, adultery is as old as the notion of marriage, and a wholly private matter between two people.

So the whole media storm was simply about a hypocrite who cheated on his wife.

What an utter waste of time.

Now let’s also face facts. Forbes has estimated that by 2010, Tiger will be sports first billionaire. He is young. 34. The greatest golfer ever. He picks up millions like spare change. He is (or used to be) adored by millions. He is in his physical prime. He is good looking. For every good virgin woman who can adore him by a picture there are double the amount of women who would like to bang him simply because he is Tiger Woods. And these are very good looking women who are probably prepared to do just about whatever he wants, conversation even.

Oscar Wilde once said the best way to be rid of temptation is to yield to it.

Tiger should have gotten Wilde before getting married.

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Fahri Azzat practices the dark arts of the law. Although he enjoys writing and reading, he doesn't enjoy writing his own little biographies of himself. Like this one. He wished somebody else would do it for him. He has little taste in writing about himself in third person. He feels weird doing it. But the part he finds most tedious is having to pad up the lack of his accomplishments, or share some interesting facts about his rather uneventful life, as if there were some who found that oh-so-interesting; as if he were some famous person, like Michael Jackson. When he writes these biographies, the thought, 'Wei, Jangan Perasaan- ah!' lights up in his head. So he usually just lists what he got involved with, positions he held and blah, blah. But this time. Right here. Right this very moment. Uhuh. This one. This one right here. He's finally telling it like it is.

Posted on 31 December 2009. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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