Is Tiger Woods Back? Is Tiger Woods Happy?

by Timothy R. Sunday
File under: Fake Culture11 Mar 2013 15:18 EDT

Is Tiger Woods back? With his success early this season, the question returns to the forefront. It has been so much in the zeitgeist since the 'incidents' in 2009 that Google has indexed over 80,000 instances of the question.  

But is Tiger Woods happy?People don't really care about this question. In fact, Google only has 6 results when presented with this query, one of them a sermon that offers an opinion on the matter.

So clearly, we don't really care if Tiger Woods is happy or not. In fact, it is popular to run articles casting him as a totally depersonalized corporate symbol the tour needs to grow. The PGA does so directly:

He had barely gotten his ball out of the hole on the final green at Bay Hill when the first person said, “Having Tiger Woods winning or in contention is good for the game.” In the days since his comeback win, that well-worn generality has been repeated scores of times in my presence and, no doubt, thousands if not millions of times around the country.

But what does it mean? Sure, having Tiger in contention is good for television. NBC ratings for Arnie’s event were up a whopping 120 percent over last year. And, sure, he raises attendance at events as well as awareness and conversation about the game (an elderly lady who wouldn’t know a Rocketballz driver from a Saturn 5 rocket asked me about Tiger at church). But will one more person play golf this week because Tiger won on Sunday? Will one more sleeve of golf balls be sold? One more driver? Will one more minority athlete be inspired to take up the game because Tiger is winning again? And, if so, how long will that new player remain a golfer?

Empirically, the answer is, yes, sure, Tiger has a big impact. 

But is he happy? For all the events surrounding his fall from grace, the question isn't asked. Was he happy playing the role of impeccable multicultural booster for the game of golf in the 21st century? What kind of life did it offer him?  It came out that his marriage was basically a publicity stunt in his eyes. Here's how he described being in it to one of his mistresses:

I know it's brutal on you that you can't be with me all the time. I get it. It f---ing kills me, too. I finally found someone I connect with, someone I have never found like this. Not even at home. You want someone to witness your life. I want you to lay next to me, lay on me or wherever you want to lay. F--k. Why didn't we find each other year's ago. We wouldn't be having this conversation. Never thought I would care and be as emotional as I am with you. You bring a side of me I never thought existed both good and bad. I don't like feeling so vulnerable. It bothers me a lot. I'm much tougher than this. 

So, it was a lonely world in which he pined for the company of dubious romantic interests over his wife, with whom he didn't really connect.  But what about the agents?  They probably had his best interests in mind to arrange photographs like this for public consumption:

Here's how he described his relationship with these handlers to another of his women: 

Tiger:Sent: 06:02 PM 10/01/2009:
Baby im not going anywhere or doing anything. You please me like no other has or ever will. I'm not losing that. You have to understand people love to tal

Tiger:Sent: 06:02 PM 10/01/2009:
k about me. sometimes its good and sometimes its bad. I have learned to just roll with it no matter how much it upsets me when its not true. My life is a

Tiger:Sent: 06:02 PM 10/01/2009:
fish bowl

Tiger:Sent: 10:40 AM 10/04/2009:
Guys from dubai. Investors. So my agent being suggested that we go back to my room at the mansion for lunch. He doesnt know about us, obviously

Tiger:Sent: 11:31 AM 10/04/2009:
This has been a total shit trip. Im sorry i fucked up last night. And this shit. We will get it right next time so we can spend more time together.

Tiger:Sent: 12:06 PM 10/04/2009:
Oh my god. If they were with me. You would have ruined everything

Tiger:Sent: 12:07 PM 10/04/2009:
I told you. Oh my god. I cant believe what just happened

Tiger:Sent: 12:08 PM 10/04/2009:
Don't Fucking talk to me. You almost just ruined my whole life. If my agent and these guys would have seen you there, Fuck

So this is the level of the farce: a man with the universal approval of his society, endowed with athletic talent that may appear once in a generation, and wealthy enough to live with leisure for several lifetimes sneaks around to escape his fantasy life so as to maintain the illusions of those very people who created and leveraged his image. The greatest athlete of our times, a man worshipped for his fierce competitive intensity, cowers around those HE pays to represent him like a schoolboy that stole the last cookie out of the cookie jar.  

Forget if Tiger Woods will ever be 'back'. He will first arrive when he fires his handlers forever, releases himself from his endorsement contracts, and exposes how his talent and personality were flattened into an impersonal brand. If he goes out and wins a golf tournament after doing so, and can live through the media smear campaign that is sure to follow, then he will be happy, for his will be a life reclaimed, and the public's admiration an admiration of his whole person. 


Follow us on Twitter
Friend's email:    Your email:  


Anonymous says:01 Jun 2013 1:27 EDT
DJ, I quite literally can't understand why 'we' need a 'golfing machine' that applies the ethic of 'never say die' to the so-called sport of golf. A flawed man who we ignore in willfully suspended disbelief so we can engage in a ritual worship of some kind of explicitly fictional polo-wearing sports Christ? I cannot see the relationship between your claims or build a coherent picture from them.

My picture here is of a talented man who pursued fame and fortune, yet found himself trapped in a miserable human existence. This is typical of many high profile media figures. People in the lower tiers of the casino pretend they can't see past the happy facade because doing so will devalue the 'carrot' of status and success they chase in their daily endeavors and psychology of previous investment and peer pressure make that a very unattractive option..
DJ Johnson says:11 Mar 2013 17:05 EDT
Eldrick T. Woods is a man with problems but we dont cheer for him. We cheer for Tiger.Tiger is a golfing machine, nothing more nothing less. Tiger is an archetype of never say die. If you can't understand why we need that then I don't know what to say.
Name: (optional)