By John Mathison
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
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
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.
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'.
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
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.
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’
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
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'.