I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.
(http://web.tigerwoods.com/news/article/200912027740572/news/) - Tiger Wood's Website
I suspect you knew something didn't quite make sense in Tiger's world after hearing about a driveway car accident at 2:25am, scratches on the face and his wife holding a golf club. It seems many gave Tiger the benefit of the doubt as they believed that he was a squeaky clean family man. Upon hearing the news, a marital problem was my first thought mainly because Tiger has had (until now) a superior image and maintained a super secretive private life. This bizarre accident seemed out of character for a man who loves his privacy. I'm glad he finally came clean earlier this week with his "transgressions" as it should serve him well in the future with his family, the public and his sponsors.
What is quite scary for his fellow PGA golfers is that his ordeal might make him a better golfer.
The worst kept secret is finally out and now the greatest golfer ever has a few blemishes. It's fascinating how HUGE this story has become and I wanted to address some of the issues that my inner circle has discussed as well as commentary I have read.
Tiger Woods never claimed to be a "family man" or "man of values". All he ever talked about was golf and nothing about his private life. He did mention that he was a boring guy although we now know that nothing could be further from the truth. Previously, the perception of Tiger was a good guy who had it all - golfing perfection, beautiful Swedish wife, two kids, money to burn...so most people assumed that because of the perception, the integrity of the man was solid.
We should never forget these wise words - "Never judge a book by its cover".
Tiger cheated on his wife, let down his family and his integrity has taken a severe blow. I have written about him (one link is below) on more than one occasion yet purposely never talked about his family life as I didn't want to give the impression that he was a loyal family guy as how could I or anyone else know. I had hoped that Tiger's integrity was rock solid but having worked in sports and with famous athletes, his admission didn't shock or even surprise me as I have seen the mighty temptations that exist in their world. In no way do I condone his actions although it's important to remember that he never claimed to be anything other than a guy who wanted to be the best golfer that he could be.
Jesper Parnevik is the Swedish professional golfer who introduced Elin Woods to Tiger. Before Elin met Tiger, she was the nanny for the Parnevik family. Most of Tiger's PGA peers have steered clear of talking about this story - not Jesper.
I really feel sorry for Elin — since me and my wife were at fault for hooking her up with him," Parnevik said Wednesday on the Golf Channel. "We probably thought he was a better guy than he is. I would probably need to apologize to her and hope she uses a driver next time instead of the 3-iron. "It's a private thing, of course. But when you are the guy he is, the world's best athlete, you should think more before you do stuff. And maybe not 'just do it,' like Nike says."
Jesper's anger is justified although his words could have been more tasteful. My immediate reaction to his comments were twofold:
a) Why didn't Jesper give Elin an education about what she was getting into? He had to know about the secret lives that numerous men in sports (including golf) have. Did he share the potential pitfalls with her? If not, someone should have as going from unknown 21 year old to the wife of the most famous athlete in the world is an extremely tough transition.
b) It's not Jesper's fault (as he claims above) for hooking Elin up with Tiger as all adults are responsible for their behavior and choices in life.
Why Tiger Made the "transgressions" Admission
In my opinion, there is one main reason why Tiger wrote so candidly on his website about his inappropriate behavior - his sponsors. Nike, Gatorade and numerous others pay Tiger approximately 90 million dollars a year and he obviously didn't want them going away. In addition, the sponsors didn't want to lose the worldwide appeal of Brand Tiger and the money he generates for them. They knew what a public relations nightmare it would be if Tiger stayed silent so they probably encouraged him to make a statement.
It's not surprising that all of his major sponsors strongly supported him during this chaotic period. The marketing of Tiger Woods will go on.
On Being a Role Model
Whether they like it or not, Tiger and all other athletes who our youth look up to and admire are role models. In my opinion, the former NBA player Charles Barkley had it wrong when he mentioned that he was not a role model.
The millions of youth who admire Tiger may be confused and/or disappointed about his situation. They will be watching to see if he cleans up his act and becomes the genuine family man that he now seems to want to be.
Even though I am no Tiger Woods (especially my golf game), I consider myself to be a role model to those I mentor or look to me for support/guidance. I take the role of "family man" and "responsible behavior" seriously as do some of my close friends. Temptations are plentiful for everyone from the common man to the rich athlete but it takes a real man to resist those temptations and do the right thing.
Yes, Tiger has lost a few stripes. That is the bad news.
The good news is that he has a new motivation (improving his family life and repairing his image) and that is troubling for the golfers who will soon be competing against him. Tiger always comes to play but when he is motivated, there is something special in his game and he tends to excel at the highest level.
Let's give him a break now as I am tired of the endless media attention and articles.
Here's a quote from the LA Times about Tiger:
Because Woods couldn't be more right. He's not a public official nor a high-minded preacher or cable TV public scold. What he does with his private life should be his own (pardon the pun) affair. Sure, he has zillion-dollar endorsement deals from the likes of Nike, but he earned those deals because he's the greatest golfer of his generation, not because he's a paragon of personal virtue. But in today's wildly intrusive media universe, being a winner isn't enough to protect your privacy.
Everyone will be watching when Tiger plays his first golf tournament early next year. I know I will as he is one of the few athletes I make time to view when he appears on television.
The media attention will be enormous, the public interest will be high and Tiger's motivation will be enormously high. His fellow PGA golfers better be prepared!
I hope he gets his private life back on track especially for the youth who idolize and hold him in high regard. In the interim, I plan to enjoy his golf game and quest to win a record 19 Major Championships.
Happy Gswede Sunday!
3 Swedes enjoying the winter wonderland of a beautiful 2007 snowfall in Stockholm.