From the honky-tonks of the Panhandle to the gated communities of Palm Beach, the early morning hours in Florida are a time of car crashes and what we like to call, delicately, “domestic disputes.” Last weekend, Tiger Woods was involved, certainly, in one and, maybe, in the other. The media immediately went to work “covering the story.”
This compels the old-fashioned sports fan to work just as diligently at tuning out the story. It is hard work, paying no attention, but when the cable channels start “reporting,” the tough start ignoring.
Tiger Woods, after all, is a golfer. I say again: Tiger Woods is a golfer. A professional golfer. Following him during any tournament where he is in contention (which is most of them) can be very exciting, even thrilling. He plays good — nay, great — golf. As a reward for this, he has become very rich. As punishment, he has become something all sane people hope their children never turn out to be: a celebrity.
Up until now, he has borne this affliction with considerable reserve and dignity. Unlike, say, those people with all the kids, or the late-night television host who liked to ravish the help and then felt obliged to share, or . . . just about any of the professional narcissists who make their livings on the talk show circuit. Tiger Woods has had the decency not to share his political views if, indeed, he has any and he has done his best to keep his private life . . . private. Perhaps the rest of us should return the favor.
So far, none of the crack investigative reporters “working the story” have turned up any injured third parties beyond a fire hydrant, a tree, and the vehicle Woods was driving. He can surely pay to repair and replace them. And if the police want to charge him with reckless driving (this being Florida, they surely must have a multiple murder or two that they could better spend their time solving), then he can probably afford to pay the fine and the increased hit on his insurance.
For old-fashioned sports fans, there are far more interesting things to think about, Alabama/Florida being at the top of the list. You can pay attention to only so many “stories,” and this is not the season for golf. If Tiger Woods decided, early in the morning, that he wanted to go down to the range and work on his short game, then had a fender-bender when he lost his concentration because he was thinking about a birdie putt he left short in last year’s Government-Bailed-Out-Car-Company Open, well, that’s not news.
Hell, it isn’t even gossip. That would be a story about Tiger feuding with his caddy.
– Geoffrey Norman is the editor of VermontTiger.com.