Arguably the most recognizable athlete in the world today is Tiger Woods. Woods has won 14 professional major golf championships, the second highest of any male player, and 71 PGA Tour events, which is third all time. He has more career major wins and more PGA Tour wins than any other active golfer. He is the youngest player to achieve the career Grand Slam, and the youngest and fastest to win 50 tournaments on tour. You have seen Tiger’s face promote numerous products on T.V., including Nike, General Motors, American Express, Accenture, and Gillette. The man has his own video game and was once considered the most marketable athlete in the world. These illustrious achievements and multimillion dollar contracts have all led to the moment in 2009 when Tiger Woods became the first billion dollar athlete.
Tiger’s immensely private world and immaculate record came crashing down around him late Thanksgiving Night 2009. According to police reports, Florida Highway Patrol responded to a single car accident in a posh Florida closed-gate community. Woods hit a hydrant and a tree around 2:25 a.m., the Friday after Thanksgiving. Police found Tiger Woods unresponsive, lying on the road covered in a blanket and resting his head on a pillow. Tiger’s 2009 Cadillac Escalade was found hugging a tree in his neighbor’s yard, just out of reach of his own driveway. His wife, Elin, told police she used a golf club to smash the back windows of the SUV to help him out. The suspicious accident and Woods’ refusal to answer questions about it fueled speculation about a possible dispute between the golfer and his wife.
These speculations ultimately proved to be true, as Tiger’s world of privacy ended the moment the crash became public. Rumors were flung around the Web, as multiple sources claimed that Tiger was having extra-marital affairs, while his wife cared for their two children at home. The first woman brought into the public eye was Rachel Uchitel, a perennial force on the New York club scene according to most reports. Uchitel quickly denied any involvement with Woods, but within days, new women were coming forward to acknowledge their own affairs with El Tigre.
Today, the number of alleged women who have claimed affairs with Tiger Woods has reached double-digits. The professions of these women have included models, adult entertainers, reality T.V. show contestants, 20 year old waitresses and a 40 year old mother. Tiger has released statements via his website. On December 2, 2009, Woods acknowledged transgressions and requested privacy for himself and his family. On December 11, after more women came forward claiming to have graced Tiger’s bed, a statement was released informing the public that Tiger would be taking an indefinite leave from golf. Tiger finally admitted to ordering from the menu, instead of only looking when in the statement he professed, “I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children.”
And so the world wonders when Tiger Woods will return to the game of golf. As of January 2010, numerous reports indicate Tiger is at a sex rehab facility. These reports are unconfirmed, but one most consider this highly probable considering Tiger had mistresses littered across the United States and Europe for that matter. And so what is the effect of Tiger’s downfall here on the Hill? Can his image possibly survive such a black eye? Junior Sam Cox believes, “The whole situation is ridiculous. Tiger is a golfer, what does his personal life have to do with golf?” Meanwhile, Junior Matt Pace points out, “This was the worst thing that could have happened to Tiger obviously in his personal life but also financially. Tiger’s value as an advertising giant was centered around his apparent spotless public image, now that is gone.” Regardless of one’s position concerning Tiger Woods, it has to be known that Woods made a terrible mistake. A man has a responsibility to his wife and family, and let’s be honest, Tiger failed miserably.
Woods now has to deal with the consequences of his actions. Over time, Americans have been found to be very forgiving. Athletes such as Mark McGwire, Andy Pettite, and even Michael Vick have been forgiven to some degree. Tiger Woods will no doubt be forgiven the moment he steps out onto a golf course. This is a travesty, as the immoral, irreprehensible actions of Tiger Woods will be forgotten. Adolescents in this country need to know what Tiger did was wrong and learn from those mistakes. Tiger Woods is no role model at this point. He needs to make public appearances detailing his mistakes and illustrating his plans to seek forgiveness. He needs to advise the young and raise awareness of the problems he encountered. Forget the days of Gillette and Nike commercials; Tiger needs a new commercial where he becomes a man who owns up to his faults and expresses extreme guilt and remorse. Tiger cannot run and hide; he needs to fix his marriage and teach the younger generations the dangers of fame, money, and sex.