Daily Flogging: Judging Tiger's act

Daily Flogging: Judging Tiger’s act

Let's be honest, the Tiger Woods Show wasn't that big of a deal.
It's three days later and our society is functioning normally again. Where do I go to get my T-shirt that reads, "I survived the Tiger Woods Soliloquy"? Given the avalanche of responses, written and video, it's amazing that this whole Inter-web thingy doesn't still have its tubes in a bunch like the Garden State Parkway at rush hour.
Was Tiger saying he's sorry in a carefully crafted infomercial really this important? Apparently so, because millions of us watched. And now, the mystery of where Tiger is and what he's been doing is solved, so we can move on. Until he returns, anyway.
No one human could sift through the acres of copy written about Tiger. But here are some of the award-winning highlights, lowlights and Coors Lights that I conveniently sifted for you. Best celebrity Twitter by a guy who's not nearly as funny as he thinks he is. From Bill Maher:

Tiger Woods is
the lead story on the network nightly news? The American tv news media
shld do the honorable thing and commit hari kari.

(We're in agreement on the overblown importance angle, sir, but I'm mystified about the tie-in to hari kari.)
The Editor's Golden Nutshell for Brevity. From Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times:

Tiger Woods lives in an era of A-Rod and Mark McGwire and congressional hearings.
Athletes used to think that being one meant never having to say you're
sorry. Now, it means learning how. Woods clearly has.

Best Mailroom Line That Became a Lead and Got Past the Copy Desk. From Lauren Beckham Falcone, Boston Herald:

He went from Buddhism to Booty-ism. And now Tiger Woods is really, really sorry. Well, I'm sorry, too. Because I'm not buying it.

(Technically, isn't he going from Buddhism to Booty-ism and now back to Buddhism? But that totally ruins the lilt of the joke. Still, good outrage from Beckham Falcone, a multiple award winner.)
Best Pop Culture Reference. Lauren Beckham Falcone, Boston Herald:

Oh, there were some Tiger disciples who were left gushing. “A remarkable performance,” said Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulus. “Great theater” ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi said. “(People will ask) where were you when you were watching,” added Mike Tirico.
Huh? I kept asking why “The Price is Right” wasn't on. I've seen better performances in fifth-grade plays.

Best Conclusion Worth the Wait. Once again, Beckham Falcone, Boston Herald:

Woods isn't trying to save his marriage. You don't do that standing
in front of a podium. And he's not trying to save his sport… He's trying to save face. Specifically his–on billboards, TV ads,
razor packaging and golf gear. So much of Woods' wealth relies on us
loving him.
Tiger Woods says he's sorry. But don't be fooled. It's not his marriage or family or friendships on the line. It's his bottom line.

Best Self-Anointed Expert Tirade About Wave of Self-Anointed Experts. From John Gonzalez, Philadelphia Inquirer:

whole affair has become an excuse for people to speak out and get
some attention for themselves. What started as
tittering global voyeurism and shameless Schadenfreude quite clearly
devolved into a reason for everyone with a thought (or half of one) to
weigh in on Woods' infidelity. The news conference and the
circumstances that precipitated it were a convenient pretense for
blogs, newspapers, magazines, Web sites, radio shows, TV programs,
athletes, actors, late night comics and the Twitterati to pop off, try
out new material, moralize and, above all else, grab some of the
spotlight for themselves while it burned white-hot.
ESPN.com scribe Rick Reilly implored
Tiger to fire his support team, his caddie and repent to America's one
true and all-powerful deity: Oprah… And some
random studio commentator on Golf Channel actually
started crying when talking about Woods, his tarnished image and how
the golfer had nobly and finally stepped forward. Sniffle.
Putting the gross hypocrisy aside–Tiger is
flawed, but his many critics are pious and walk with God and know exactly how Woods should proceed… But none of the posturing, pontificating or weeping compared with the jaw-dropping hyperbole employed by Frank Nobilo of
the Golf Channel. On a day of brazen, bizarre, ridiculous statements,
Nobilo stood apart, proudly putting the Woods apology into historical
context for anyone unsure of its place among other momentous
events of the last century.
"What did they say when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon?" Nobilo asked rhetorically. "One step for mankind." Yeah, it probably was–but not in the direction Nobilo meant.

Best Old-School, Old-Testament Scolding. From Bob Unger, Standard Times, who quoted Proverbs ("Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.") in his lead:

After more than two months of waiting, the world got to see and hear Tiger Woods get his comeuppance on Friday. Sports
has become America's newest religion, so it is fitting that the fall of
one of the world's most recognizable superstars would be the 21st
century equivalent of the fall of King David — each by his own belief
that the rules governing ordinary men did not apply to them.
Greek or Shakespearean drama, our tragic hero would have had to have
been destroyed by the gods. In American sports tragedy, the heroes lose
their endorsement deals, the silly adoration of media and fans alike,
and often half their fortunes to a divorce settlement. And whenever
they attempt to take to the field, the court or the fairways again,
they must endure the whispers and the occasional taunts of the fans who
feel betrayed.
don't hear much about humility in a culture that prizes fame above all
else. Humility needs a role model. Tiger Woods should make that his
next endorsement deal.

Best Idea From the Front Office. (Picture a cigar-chomping Perry White character at Associated Press headquarters in this conversation: "What, Tiger's turning back to Buddhism? Let's ask Buddha how he feels about that. Huh? Oh. Then who's in charge now? The Dalai Lama? Get him on the phone. Too bad Tiger isn't turning to Catholicism. I've got the Pope's cell number in my Rolodex.") From the Associated Press:

The Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, told The AP during a brief interview in his hotel suite in Beverly Hills that he had not heard of Woods, but when the circumstances were
explained to him he said that when it comes to adultery, "all religions
have the same idea."

"Whether you call it Buddhism or another religion, self-discipline,
that's important," he said. "Self-discipline with awareness of
The Dalai Lama made the remarks while in the Los Angeles area to support Whole Child International, an organization that advocates better care for orphans

Wait a minute–he's staying in a hotel suite in Beverly Hills? Oh, never mind.

Best Headline About Fellow Media Stooges. Bob Raissman, New York Daily News:

Stooges in media follow Tiger Rules, with one exception… Golf Writers Association of America.

Best Photo Caption About Fellow Media Stooges. New York Daily News:

Tiger Woods makes a public apology in front of only three reporters Friday.

Let's see, the media are a bunch of stooges. But, hmm, only three attended. Three. Well, there's no joke to be made here. Moving on…
Best Free Speech Rant. From Bob Raissman, New York Daily News:

On Friday, inside that clubhouse, three reporters should have been wearing muzzles adorned with Woods' logo. Woods set the ground rules. No questions…  There was a time when reporters would not genuflect, not bow down,
not adhere to rules set by some celebrity-punk looking to control them.
Nor would they listen to some shifty PR flacks or enabling agents, like
the ones who look the other way as their married clients morph into
womanizing, cheating creeps.
Now, a very large segment of the media is like the women Tiger was sleeping with. It only cares about access. There was, however, one prominent group of reporters that still has respect for itself and the profession: The Golf Writers Association of America. These  people came out of this scripted fiasco with their dignity intact. The association was offered six spots in Tiger's den but
overwhelmingly voted to boycott the event. The association, whose members cover the game, drew a line in the sandtrap. They don't tell Woods what club to use. He shouldn't tell them how to do their jobs.
What about the networks who cover PGA Tour events? The voices manning the mikes
have already made a cottage industry of genuflecting to Woods. They are
totally gutless. Their bosses would not have it any other way. Woods is
a ratings machine.
If Tiger returns to play the Masters, will CBS' Jim Nantz recount Woods' transgressions? Will anyone at CBS ask Woods one tough question? No, they will all just smile and gladly dance at Tiger Woods' Second Annual Bootlicker's Ball.

Best Opinion By Someone Who Has Vanished from ESPN. From Stephen A. Smith, Philadelphia Inquirer:

After a teary-eyed Tiger Woods sobbed,
stuttered, and cowered beneath the spotlight in ways he's never done on
the golf course, he bowed his head and walked away, looking totally
defeated and humbled.
Deservedly so! This is the price liars pay. Particularly those of
the Tiger
variety. You know: the kind who does something wrong and hides. Who
convinces himself he's the victim… Go ahead and believe Woods was
contrite. But let it be said right here: That is total and utter
Friday's farce was a Woods infomercial. Whatever he was selling, I'm not buying… The hug Woods gave his mother was made for the highlight reels. And
his walking away from the podium, head bowed, puppy-dog faced, was
straight out of the soap operas.
Sadly, after all of these months, Woods still doesn't get it. He probably never will.

Best Column By Someone Who Should Be Stopping the Slaughter in Darfur Instead of Writing Another Column That Misses the Point. From Douglas Forbes, Huffington Post:

Does the world spin on a different axis because of what
Tiger Woods does on or off the course? Apparently so. Why is it that Tiger kidnaps every major media outlet across the globe while near zero air time is afforded to… The startling number of American kids and families living below the poverty line?… high school dropouts… prescription drugs… cancer… those continuing to be slaughtered in Darfur?

Yeah, how dare we watch sports or entertainment or visit Starbucks while the rest of the world suffers. We, the people, are so selfish. Wait, I feel another award coming for Mr. Forbes…
Best Satiric Kicker to a Continuing Hilarious Column. Forbes again:

The game of golf will go on, regardless of tanking ratings sans
Tiger. There WILL be another Tiger Woods down the road. There always
is. But on this day, this version of Tiger made an apology to a
universe of people he does not know or even owe an apology to. Cut,
So while Tiger eventually returns to his $38 million dollar house or
$10 million yacht, do you think we can set up the next national media
spectacle to talk about the kids in this country who have nothing to
eat and nowhere to go?
Eh, forget it. That's freakin' boring. Let's see what those hookers and Playboy bunnies are up to.

So, here's the bottom line. It's sad. The dude duped a lot of people
who thought he was a saint. And his sponsors and charity took a big
blow to the gut. But at the end of the day, idol worship is devilish
stuff to begin with.
Best Headline Example of Why Tabloid Journalism is Despicable. From the New York Daily News:

Let the Elin begin–with shopping: Tiger's wife surfaces at mall as golfer heads to sex rehab.

There's more in a story where writers Henrick Karoliszyn and Larry McShane report on Elin Nordegren's whereabouts in detail. Clearly, their upstanding job is to follow her around. They reported what Elin was wearing, that she toted 2-year-old daughter Sam around an unnamed shopping mall in Windemere, Fla. (thoughtfully not naming the mall so as to invade the family's privacy?), that Sam wore red Nike sneakers and that they later met friends for lunch. In addition, information from RadarOnline was added that Tiger and Elin met at their home, played tennis for a few hours and boarded a private jet under heavy security and flew out of Orlando.
Plus there was this high point of hypocrisy:

The photos of Nordegren out shopping came one day after Woods blasted the paparazzi in the midst of his 13-minute mea culpa. "Whatever my wrongdoings, for the sake of my family, please leave my wife and kids alone," Woods said in a plea that fell on deaf ears.

Best Writing on Parenting. From Tom English, The Scotsman:

You're going to change, Tiger? OK, prove it.
Redemption is possible. Ted Kennedy drove a car off a bridge and killed
a woman and yet ended up an American hero. There are few scandals that
are terminal for a man's reputation. This doesn't have to be either,
unless Woods makes it so.There are some troubling
signs, though. We have to say that. His mother, Kultida… is supportive of her son, as ought to be the
case. But she's also an apologist. Yes, yes, she said her boy was
wrong, but then she attacked the media's intrusion in his life,
something Woods had done earlier… She
went on:
"He never claimed he was God." No, Mrs Woods, he didn't, but
you and your late husband came pretty close to doing so. Kultida was
calling Tiger the "Universal Child" before he was out of nappies. Earl
Woods said he had been "selected by God" to nurture the "Chosen One".
Their son has been listening to this bull—- all his life and came to
believe it. He had to hug his mother in the wake of his
statement on Friday, but he shouldn't be listening to her. By dripping
poison about the press into his ear she's merely increasing the
likelihood that he is going to return to his bubble life where he does
what he wants and believes that he is right and everybody who disagrees
with him is wrong.Woods' moral compass is so far off track none
of us can know whether he can get it back on line.

Best Dead Solid Perfect, Semi-Tough Summation. From Dan Jenkins, Golf Digest:

Now excuse me a moment while I try to envision Ben Hogan, Arnold
Palmer and Jack Nicklaus… while they try to deal with a career problem.

Of course, Hogan, Palmer and Nicklaus never set themselves up to
become future statues in Central Park. They never sold themselves as the greatest Family Values brand ever, and conquered the marketplace with it, shamelessly scooping up hundreds of millions of dollars while saying, "My family will always come first."
They were never what Tiger allowed himself to become from the
start: spoiled, pampered, hidden, guarded, orchestrated and entitled.

I'll tell you what Hogan, Palmer and Nicklaus were at their peak. They were accessible, likable, knowable, conversant, as gracious in loss as they were in victory, and, above all, amazingly helpful to those of us in the print lodge who covered them. That was their brand. All the things Tiger never was.

Best Viewer Mail. From DevilBallGolf.com:
A piece on Yahoo! Sports examined the odd episode on Golf Channel where in-studio analyst Charlie Rymer got choked up and appeared to cry on the air while discussing Tiger's mea culpa statement.
Under comments on the Devil Ball Golf blog was this gem:

Charlie Rymer had better cry because if this idiot Woods doesn't get
his act together soon there will be NO Golf Channel so that is reason
to be crying after this moronic performance by Woods…

Next Best Thing to a Religious Experience. From Lisa Miller, Newsweek:

In what will certainly be one of the new decade's most dissected
mea culpas, Tiger Woods did the expected things. He apologized to his
wife, his fans, his sponsors, his friends, and his mother. He begged
for privacy and time to work things out at home. And he found religion. What was unexpected is the religion he found: Buddhism.
Woods was following the boilerplate-celebrity addict script: Check into rehab, find God, make amends.
Now one might legitimately question the depth of Woods's Buddhist commitment, since a renunciation of the self and selfish desires includes, of course,  lust and physical pleasure primary among them and lies at the heart of Buddhist
teachings… But as any convicted believer will tell you, it's no sin to be lapsed – as long as you rededicate yourself to your redemption in earnest.  And, with its emphasis on disciplining thought and action to overcome base human desire, you could argue that no religion does redemption better than Buddhism.
The lingering question then is this: Is Woods embracing religion because in the
vernacular of rehab, it's the expected thing, a mandatory stop in the
narrative arc of celebrity flameouts? Or is he earnestly struggling to
get back to some core of his self that was lost along the way?