The news that Tiger Woods is actually a flawed human should not come as a great shock to anyone who has seen so many of our celebrity heroes show their unseemly side. Doesn't make him a particularly bad fellow -- just a guy with the same weaknesses as a lot of other guys and a lot more opportunity to surrender to them -- but it does require everyone who had put him on a pedestal to re-evaluate him as a role model.
The thing that stands out for me is fairly simple: We want our sports heroes to be the same people in private that they are in public, which is a pretty high bar for a guy whose image has been crafted so carefully to simulate personal perfection.
Don't get me wrong. That doesn't let him off the hook for embarrassing his wife and family and disappointing his public. He can talk about his right to privacy all he wants, but he's the one who -- quite literally -- put this tawdry business on the street and he's the one who has to clean up this mess, though he'll certainly have a lot of high-priced help with that.
I'll give him this, his latest statement -- which you can read right here -- is the first thing he's done right since the one-car crash early Friday morning that set off the media chain reaction which led to his apologia today.
His refusal to be interviewed by police for several days and his decision to hire a high-powered lawyer to handle a relatively minor traffic offense just ramped up suspicion that there were deep, dark secrets behind that nasty fender bender. That suspicion apparently was warranted, but Tiger's generic admission that he had committed personal transgressions that let down his family would have rang truer a few days ago, before he created the impression that he viewed himself as being above the normal legal processes the rest of us have to go through in that kind of situation.
Really, do you honestly think you could have turned the police away from your door three days in a row under the same circumstances? And, for that matter, since when is driving your car into a tree on your neighbor's lawn at 2 in the morning not "probable cause" for a blood-alcohol test?
There is a part of me that actually feels sorry for Tiger, though I feel a lot sorrier for his wife and family. He willingly made the devil's bargain to live in a gold-plated cocoon his whole life, so he got what he's being paid all those millions for. He can fly anywhere in the world on a private jet any time he wants and he can afford to buy or do anything his heart desires, but there isn't enough money in the world to buy him a little anonymity when he can't live up to the outsized expectations he has created for himself.
I know you won't believe this, but I wouldn't trade places with him for all the tee boxes at Turnberry.