Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tiger Woods gets the literary treatment from Esquire in its April issue, as four of the magazine's top scribes examine the World No. 1. The issue has
been out for a couple weeks, but the essays are just appearing online, and they
offer a refreshingly contrary take on Woods. Tom Chiarella loves Woods, Scott Raab loves him but doesn't like him, Chris
Jones hates him
, and Charles P. Pierce liked his dad.
Yes, that Pierce. The one responsible for the infamous GQ profile in 1997 that quoted Woods
telling off-color jokes. Some claim that article is the reason Woods still mistrusts the media today.
Esquire has posted Pierce's original
online as part of its Woods-a-palooza coverage, and reading it you
realize that 1997 was a long time ago. The
article is built around the offhand jokes, which were PG-13
at worst and were told during a photo
shoot. It's not fair to Woods, and Pierce comes off as a politically correct scold. (There were a lot of those in 1997.)
But the real reason
this article belongs in a time capsule is that Pierce actually takes on
the Nike-IMG creation of Woods the icon. Look, Pierce is saying, here is a
great athlete, but he's also a cocky young kid who's got a lot to
learn. A journalist taking aim at the expensively marketed celebrity
product of a major corporation? Pretty much unthinkable today. Ten
years later GQ would kill a negative story about Hillary Clinton's presidential
so that Bill Clinton would appear on the cover.
So thanks to Esquire for this blast from the past, and don't blame Pierce for Woods's public evasiveness and non-answer answers. He was never going to let us in anyway.

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