Monday, December 14, 2009 at 12:07 AM

Tiger escapes to a “safe haven”

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

[Author’s note: The saga of Tiger as cheetah has become such a cultural phenomenon that even the most inane and innocuous tidbits about it are still leading the evening news.   But after refraining for the past two weeks from participating in this gloating, prurient frenzy, I decided that his seminal statement on Friday about taking an indefinite break from professional golf was worthy of comment.

More to the point, since this commentary was published originally on Saturday when, I’m reliably informed, traffic is relatively low, I’ve decided to republish it below … in case you missed it.]

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With a menagerie of 15 women, including porn stars and prostitutes, coming out of the woodwork to share salacious kiss-and-tell details about their assignations with him, Tiger Woods clearly felt compelled to issue another statement yesterday which read, in part, as follows:

I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children… What’s most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing,” the statement says. “After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.

Of course, anyone who has read anything about the sexcapades of professional athletes (yes, even golfers) knows that, if 15 women are talking, there are at least 150 who aren’t.  But frankly, instead of running away, I think he should come out of hiding, admit, in an Oprah-style confessional interview, that much of what is being reported about his dalliances is true (noting parenthetically that some of the women have creative memories and others he has never even met), and explain that he’s now in therapy to deal with his psycho-sexual issues and would appreciate some privacy and space to do so.

This would’ve done a great deal to satiate the public’s prurient interest in his private life, allowing him to deal with his issues without having to run off to some undisclosed location.  Moreover, he could’ve resumed doing what truly made him the most fascinating and well-paid professional athlete in the world without having to take this contrived time-out.

Now, I’m afraid, this statement will only increase the public’s appetite for more answers about his whereabouts and, above all, about how long is “indefinite” (until the next Major, The Masters in April, for all of 2010, or later?).  Even worse, he will still have to deal with all of these questions whenever he decides to come out of hiding….

I just hope he takes time out from his counseling (marriage and psychological) to practice so that, whenever he returns, there’ll be more public interest in his victories on the tour than in his conquests in the bedroom.

Fans will readily forgive him of course. But winning tournaments in his inimitable fashion is the only way to eradicate bacchanalian images of his private life from public consciousness – even if not from the tabloids.  And only this will give his understandably spooked corporate sponsors the cover they need to feature him as their spokesman once again.

In any event, I am convinced that Tiger will return (sooner rather than later) as an even better player and, more importantly, as a better husband, father and person.

Indeed, I urge his fellow competitors on the PGA Tour to take full advantage of his absence.  Because, relieved of the distractions of being such a fiendish playa, a more focused Tiger is bound to be an even more formidable player.

Meanwhile, corporate sponsors and media executives alike must be salivating with anticipation over the boon this scandal will deliver in television ratings once he returns. And trust me, there’ll be no shortage of corporations not only eager to replace any that dumps Tiger but also willing to pay even more for the privilege of having him as their spokesman.

Good luck and get well Tiger!

Related commentaries:
Tiger issues indignant … statement

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