Tiger Woods is taking an indefinite “break” from golf, and has apologized for his “infidelity” in the latest statement he posted last night on his website.
It took the apparently clean-cut, family-man Woods decades to propel his career into the stratosphere and become the first $1 billion sports superstar, but it took only two weeks for his entire life to burn up in reentry and crash unceremoniously to the ground – perhaps permanently.
International attention was thrust on Woods appropriately on Black Friday following a bizarre single-vehicle crash that sent the 33-year-old Woods to the hospital. The crash occurred about 2:30 a.m., outside Woods’ home in Windermere, Fla. Woods, who had been driving at a slow speed, hit a mail box then careened into a tree. Woods has said that his wife heard the crash, rushed out and used a golf club to knock out the back windows of the vehicle and dragged him out of the wreckage. A neighbor who called 911, told police that Woods was unconscious for a short time.
There has been continued speculation that his wife, the model Elin Nordegren, had actually struck Woods in the face with a nine-club while they were inside their home in a heated argument about allegations he had been unfaithful.
Woods, who suffered facial lacerations, cuts and bruises said later that his wife “acted courageously,” by helping him.
The crash fueled a barrage of media speculation that the crash was linked to tabloid reports Woods' had allegedly been cheating on his wife with New York nightclub hostess Rachel Utichel.
Despite Florida authorities saying they considered the case closed, scrutiny only grew – and another woman emerged, claiming she and the pro golfer had been involved in a 31-month romance, complete with torrid text messages and some voice mails. Since then, a total of 16! alleged mistresses have been romantically linked to Woods. There have also been a slew of ugly allegations that Woods misused sleeping medications to propel himself into a “sex haze,” and that one of the women even slept overnight in his marriage bed while his wife was away.
One mistress has even reportedly been peddling nude photos she claims is of Woods, depicting him from the waist down, to Playgirl Magazine and other publications asking for a half-million dollars. A spokesman for Playgirl said they were offered documentation that the man depicted was Woods, but they still decided to decline to purchase the photos. While not acknowledging those photographs directly, Woods’ attorney obtained an injunction in England to prohibit publication of any “purported” nude photos of his client in any magazine or online anywhere, anytime.
Woods has been a money making machine not only personally, but for his sponsors and the entire PGA Tour. Golf officials even coined the phrase the "Tiger Effect" related to tournaments televised. In tournaments in which Woods plays, TV viewership increases a staggering 65 percent! The loss of Woods in the golfing world is thus incalcuable.
Since the scandal, Gatorade has dropped Woods and has stopped producing its "Tiger" beverage named after him. After last night's posting by Woods, Gillette announced it would be supporting his request for privacy by "limiting his role" as their spokesman; Chevron and AT&T have both announced that they are "re-evaluating" their professional relationship with the super star; Stanford (Wood's alma mater) has removed the public service announcements he taped to promote the university; and Accenture has removed Woods' name from its website.
I believe that the extreme negative reaction virtually worldwide against Woods has occurred for two basic reasons. The first is that Woods had promoted himself as a straight-arrow, clean-cut, family man truly above reproach. He had appeared to have gladly stepped into the part of role-model to youngsters, especially to kids of color. The statistics are undeniable and staggering – the bulk of all youngsters of color world-wide who began to play golf in the last few years did so because of him. Thus, he was expected to live up to those weighty expectations, a.k.a., with great power comes great responsibility.
The second, is the nature of the sport of golf itself. It is a time-honored sport that applauds excellence and integrity. It is not lost in this discussion that golf cheaters are shunned. It is, afterall, the ONLY sport that expects players to call penalties on themselves, and they do!
It is therefore conceivable that had a top National Football League player been involved, the scandal would not have escalated to a tsunami that lays waste to everything in its wake.
I had promised myself I would not report on this unpleasant incident again. I feel very, very sad for his wife, and I am actually quite worried for Woods’ emotional and physical well-being. He needs professional help – and lots of it – not vilification, and she needs to do whatever it takes ensure her protection, and the protection of their two young children.
The horrendous scandal seems unending, and since Woods has finally posted a more realistic statement, I decided to write about it once again, and to include that statement in its entirety.
While you’re digesting the statement, please consider this: Why didn’t he just use an escort service? I strongly believe in legalized, licenced prostitution, using adults only! Generally, women who voluntarily enter the sex industry have either the emotional makeup, or have obtained the necessary training to be able to have casual sex without emotional harm. Most women, studies have found, lack this ability. So, not only has Woods’ wife been devastated, many of his mistresses have been in distress because they had developed deep feelings for him, especially since some of them had long-term relationships with the golfer, and each believed that they were his only mistress.
Going to the same escort service would have ensured his privacy, as well as ensuring that safe sex practices were maintained. It has been reported that Woods had unprotected sex with several of his mistresses, so the possibility that they could have become pregnant, or that he could have infected his wife with an STD existed.
One must also ponder why a shrewd man like Woods would assume that his sexual transgressions (.e. a vast number of mistresses) would remain forever secret. Was he that arrogant, or could he have subconsciously wanted to be found out and come clean?
Whatever is the real truth of Woods’ inner life, here is his statement, complete and unedited with the headline that was also posted on his website:
Tiger Woods Taking Hiatus from Golf
By Tiger Woods
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. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I want to do my best to try.
I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What's most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.
After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.
Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period.
Woods’ wife is reportedly considering returning to her native Sweden with their children, while he is said to be living on his docked yacht, which ironically had been Christened, "Privacy." That name has now been covered up, leading to speculation that he has renamed the vessel, and will soon take to the high seas destination unknown -- hoping not to be run aground by the media.
Whatever happens, I hope that this scandal leads to substantive public discussions about sex, commitment, marriage, cheating, prostitution, safe sex, and sex addition. If that happens, then at least something positive will have resulted from this nightmare.
— The Curator