Saturday, February 20, 2010

Let loose the Tiger

Both Tiger Woods and I have something in common.

We’ve both been MIA since November – him from the world of golf, me from writing this column.

No, I am not a world-renowned champion golfer (or “celebrity”), I am not being treated for any sex or substance addiction nor did I cheat on my wife.

But guess what? Not to sound rude … it’s really none of your business why I’ve taken some much-needed time off.

By choice, I’ve kept up with my professional obligations and commitment to boards I serve on, but had I needed to step away from any – even temporarily – I owe no one an explanation, but my clients and fellow board members.

You know why? Because I have a personal life that is owned solely by me, and it is up to me whom I choose to share it with.

The same holds true for Tiger.

A little more than 24 hours following the golfer’s first public statement in months, he is still a top news story and the talk of town. On one of the newscasts I watched, I heard a woman say how he was no longer a role model to her kids and what he had done was unforgivable.

What he has done? Be human?

In recent years, thanks to the indiscretions of other sports athletes, there has been an ongoing debate as to if one falls from grace should he or she lose his or her role model status. I say only if the mistake involved the sport itself (i.e., enhancement drugs, point-shaving).

No parent should teach his or her child to idolize anyone whom he or she doesn’t know both personally and professionally. It’s great to say, “One day, you too can be the top golfer in the world if you do A, B and C.” But to hold someone as a role model, you should know who they are as a person, not what they do for a living. And unfortunately, we really don’t know who most athletes are off their playing field. We pay money to see them play, not for them to open up their lives to us.

So because Tiger has what are undeniably some serious personal issues, we should want to know ever juicy and non-juicy detail of what he does off the green? And even though he has squared things up with the PGA and his sponsors, we should still want to know his every move and follow him around as he tries to get his life back together again?

Hmmm … maybe I do owe an explanation to people.

Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig is an award-winning journalist who resides in Oakland. Contact her at or visit her blog at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HERE! HERE! Well said.