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Story of the Day

Tiger Woods….Villain or Victim? 

                                                                                             By John Mathison                                                                             10/12/2009

If there is anything of late that has captured the complete fascination of the world’s media and subsequently the general public, it is the melodrama and ever evolving saga surrounding the world’s first sporting billionaire and the tawdry details of his sexual indiscretions.

I doubt very much there is anyone who has not proffered an opinion or comment; and most would have ‘taken sides’ by now. Everyone, be they the man or woman in the street or supposed ’experts’, appear to have made a type of diagnosis as to how & why this could happen to the squeaky clean Eldrich Woods.

The latest of these diagnoses or ’mitigating’ circumstances is that of an ’addiction to sex’. Poor bugger! No wonder this happened; I mean, he can’t help it. There is obviously a chemical imbalance, a genetic predisposition, a bio-chemical malfunction that drove him toward the fulfillment of this uncontrollable and unconscious behaviour.

The next installment will no doubt involve counselling & therapy (both individual & relationship) & medication intervention for the correction of these chemical imbalances. There will of course be the obligatory apology, sincere & honest, self-effacing & totally remorseful. Perhaps a round of the talk shows (Oprah, Letterman, The View etc.). There is too much at risk not to do so. The brand ’Tiger’ must be sustained; not the man, the husband, the father; but the 'product'.

One might ask, how is this relevant to Rugby League or those who play or are involved with the game? The answer lies in the issues that confront sports persons whose very identity is so intrinsically linked to their sport and whose profile is such that distorted perceptions of self worth and the world around them impinges upon their capacity to behave appropriately; according to the expectations of society and the standards, morals and principles that the majority hold as somewhat ’sacrosanct’.

The only difference or uniqueness in this situation is the degree of notoriety afforded the individual concerned. In our little cricketing world, Shane Warne, was our Tiger. In the United States, they couldn’t care less about Warney; they wouldn’t even know who he is. Similarly, we have the unfortunate Wayne Carey. Even within our own country, there are those supporters of other codes that show scant interest. In ‘AFL-land’, it’s big news. Then there are those whose behaviours are no different to Mr. Woods, yet are exhibited in local communities and regions of our country where their profile might be considered ’high’, but totally insignificant to anyone outside of these tiny societal microcosms. It’s not who it is, where it is, what sport or occupation it involves; it is the behaviour.

No, the problem is not ’sexual addiction’, not ’drugs or alcohol’, not ’depression’ or ’stress’ or 'golf related pressures' that has resulted in these primal excesses. It is Narcissism, pure & simple. It is the disease of the celebrity; the mechanism by which an individual might cope with higher status and image, so often completely contrary to self esteem and the ’real self’. It might also be the constant need to feed their grandiosity and feelings of omniscience; ’the need to be ’Tiger’ 24/7.

Think for one moment about Tiger's approach to the game and his opposition. I cannot think of a more supremely confident sportsperson in any sport any where in the world. He goes out not just to win, not just believing he can win, but knowing he will win. His dominance and control over his own game, the course & the elements and the fear and awe he manages to impose on his opponents has contributed, along with unbelievable talent, to the success he has acheived. He seemingly 'gets what he wants' or achieves the goals he sets for himself. This incredible level of self belief and 'control' has become part & parcel of who he his. It's easy to see how this might therefore translate to his social existence. Tiger gets what Tiger wants, when he wants it and how he wants it. Control, power, influence, fame, fortune and so on can go a long way to perhaps explaining these extraordinary sexual encounters. 

Is Tiger a victim or villain? He is neither. Is he a Narcissist? I don’t know; but the likelihood of some narcissistic traits being displayed are certain. It would be nigh on impossible for someone such as he, not to succumb. The world of the celebrity is surreal and not conducive to any concept of reality and/or ’normality’. The degree of pervasiveness of the Narcissism varies from individual to individual; from extreme (Personality Disorder) to basic and simple Narcissistic traits or Acquired Situational Narcissism (ASN).

One has to remember the sheer commercial power of this man; the image that has been developed, propagated & nurtured by those ’wise’, ’caring’ businessmen, companies, promoters, managers etc..who care for Tiger's welfare. That's sarcasm, if you're confused. Without his father’s strong guidance and companionship, Tiger would have found these ’yes men’ around him a little less than satisfactory in meeting the paternal needs and the void left through Earl's death. Many might disagree, though the relevance of Mr. Woods Snr. in Tiger’s development as a golfer and as a person ...every step of the way, cannot be underestimated. This is by his own admission and well documented and reported by many others who have followed his career.

This type of behaviour, as highlighted by 'Tiger-gate',  has occurred with many others including Politicians, Businessmen, Television & Film celebrities and other sporting identities, and will continue; have no doubt. The reasons offered need to be taken with a degree of skepticism at times and balanced with full cognisance as to the Narcissistic plague that exists in our consumer driven 21st century western civilization. It is a fascinating point that the man who ignited the ‘Global Warming’ issue, Al Gore, also made the insightful comment that ‘It is a combination of Narcissism & Nihilism that defines Post Modernism’.

If anything, Tiger has indeed fallen foul of the 'female narcissist'. This is not to imply the 'victim' tag for him, but does indicate what a dangerous individual those Narcissists of the fairer sex can be; and this does relate to Rugby League!

Consider for a moment; these 'ladies' have supposedly been involved in Tiger's infidelity for some time, yet none have spoken out.....until now. Please tell me that they are not so deluded as to think 'they're the one', the only one'; 'that their tryst with a married man such as Tiger is more than purely physical'; 'they're relationship is sooooo significant that Tiger will suddenly throw his whole life into complete disarray and chaos and run off with them'. Tiger is arguably the highest profile sportsperson in the world; certainly the richest. What a trophy for they're collection! It's just a shame that they can't display it.....or can they? It seems to me that is indeed what they are now doing. "Come & see my 14 time Major winner trophy". Suddenly it's OK. In fact, it's fashionable, marketable, financially viable. Tiger, the product, the commodity has a whole new market. What a complete shame that this chap is now being used for others' profile & financial gain, media ratings, and opportunists world wide; not for his impeccable golfing abilities, his demeanour, his altruistic endeavours, but for sordid, salacious and nefarious activities. Intercourse not golf course! Let us hope that this is not his legacy.

At last count, and at the time of this article, we're up to twelve (12). I'm banking on two more to equal his majors; maybe he'll break Jack's record....not Nickalus, you know...the other one....Nicholson.

For what little it matters, I am actually a fan of Tiger's. I admire him as a prodigious golfing talent and have always respected his attitude and the manner in which he conducts himself both on the course and in the public arena. This has not changed. I am not deriding, condemning or castigating him; it is not my place or anybody elses. 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone'. Imagine yourself in his shoes (spikes & all); what would you do; how would you behave; what effect do you think that level of fame, profile and financial status would have on you? (I am speaking to the men out there by the way).

I am similarly not endorsing his behaviour by condoning his indiscretions or offering plausible explanations. I don't pity him, but I empathise with his plight. Despite his stature and enviable accomplishments and financial success, he remains a human being. He has the same emotions as everyone else. He will feel guilty, ashamed, anxious and 'lost', no matter the stoicism, pragmatisim or bravrado portrayed. As with all things in life there is the positive and the negative. With every positive, comes a possible or probable negative. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The higher you rise, the greater or more profound the fall can be. The normal emotions he would be experiencing are only intensified and complicated by his profile and the 'Tiger' brand image. One can only imagine the 'back-slappers' and obseqious 'yes-men' offering little more than ways out of the mess and the limiting of collateral corporate damage. I only hope that there are some who actually care about this couple's situation; who care about them and their children and who are able to discern with the appropriate wisdom as to what is helpful and needed and what is not; and certainly not based on who they are or what they are.  

Let's hope that some good comes from this tragedy. I'm sure a successful resolution will enable Tiger to acknowledge he is no different than any other person. He too has his caddy help him put his trousers on ...'one leg at a time'.  


It is hoped that these articles, commentaries, opinions and 'stories' might give rise to a different angle or perspective in relation to a variety of issues and cause for thought & consideration. Should anyone wish to make comment or offer their own opinions, please refer to the Bulletin Board. Should you have an article or peice of literature you feel might be suitable for this section, contact us directly via phone, post or email us with your 'story' or 'article' at articles@kickoff.net.au . Copies of past articles can be found in the archive section.



©2008 Waldel Pty Ltd

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