It takes a lot to render me dumbstruck, because I typically reside well below that level anyway and I hate any journey that’s even vaguely uphill. By the time this issue is in your sweaty mitts, three months will have passed since this sordid news broke about Tiger, and I have said nothing. Initially, everyone from Larry King to Larry the Cable Guy tried to contact me in the mistaken belief that I might have had the ability to shine some new light on the circus that was, and probably still is, playing out. Some of this may have been my own fault, as over the last few years I might have given the impression I was in some way closer to Tiger’s personal self than other journalists. If this is the case, I apologize. The truth is, I was as blindsided by this fiasco as the next guy.
That being said, I’ve been trying to think of an equivalent example of the grim, ghastly, gleeful, and positively gloat-ridden coverage of a prominent public figure’s fall from grace. So far, I’ve come up empty. By comparison, Bill Clinton got off with a slap on the trouser-trout, and he was in charge of the free world! I guarantee you, the only thing Tiger Woods is in charge of right now is a border collie named Taz. Kobe Bryant blinged his way to the land of forgive-and-forgetfulness, Michael Vick is playing football, yet Tiger’s crucifixion continues, hoisted up and stabbed daily by the TMZ-US and People magazine culture that needs to know every detail about every transgression committed by every person who has a public side to their life. I hate it, and I’m glad the bastards haven’t found out about me.
Now, I’m not a total nimrod, and I know there won’t be many opportunities like this for these bottom-feeders to gorge themselves on, so I understand the initial frenzy, but come on, people, can we move on a little bit? Would it be this bad if they found out the Pope had been having his crosier cleaned by Barbara Walters? I think not. Okay, so maybe that would only be one incident, and as Keith Richards (god bless his sacred spleen) once famously said, “There’s a difference between scratching your arse, and tearing yourself a new one,” but where should the line be drawn when it comes to making entertainment out of other people’s misery? We now have crime dramas that take real stories from newspaper headlines from which they make episodes. Somewhere, there are people still agonizing over these events, but even if it were only one person, then morally this can’t be right.
Hmm…morality. That’s a tough one for sure, but as it happens, I am an unrenowned international expert on this very subject, or at least I’m a keen amateur on some of those who first thought deeply about it. That’s right — psychologists. I’m pretty good on psychiatrists too, at least to the point at which I can tell the difference (which is about $200 an hour and the ability to prescribe really good drugs). But I digress. One of my favorite psychologists is Friedrich Nietzsche, and not because he had a handlebar mustache that was eight times the size of McCord’s. No, old Freddie did not believe in absolute right or wrong, and suggested that individuals develop their morality based upon their dominance over others. In his master work, Beyond Good and Evil, he portrayed two types of morality: master morality (as demonstrated by the ancient Greeks) and slave morality, an idea adopted by most Christians, and Dr. Phil.
Nietzsche’s theory gives us a perfect explanation for Tiger’s predicament — I mean, who could possibly be more dominant? As the master of all around him, he was as free as the notoriously libidinous Greek God, King Zeus, who employed the nymph Echo to keep his missus Hera chatting while he was off stabbing the rabbit elsewhere. When she found out, Hera chose to punish not the old man but Echo, by cursing her so she could only speak the last words of other people’s sentences. This didn’t help Echo, who was deeply in love with the douchebag Narcissus, who promptly dumped her after their first conversation. Echo ran away heartbroken and wasted away in a cave, leaving only echoes behind her, while Narcissus managed to get himself cursed by Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance. Ha! While on a hunting trip, he caught sight of his reflection in a pool as he knelt to drink, and, not unlike John Madden, fell in love with his own reflection. But every time he tried to caress his own mysterious beauty, the water splashed it away. Transfixed, he eventually died of starvation by the pool, where a narcissus flower grew in his memory.
I know, I lost most of you after “Zeus.” But the point is, Zeus was the king. Flawed he may have been, but he came through unscathed. I hope our king does too, because there is nothing mythic about him. He too is flawed, but thankfully for golf, he is real.