You Don’t Know Tiger Woods – Will Leitch | New York Times

You Don’t Know Tiger Woods

Will Leitch | New York Times Opinion Pages

Tiger Woods

I can’t remember the name of my high school biology teacher or that kind woman I had a pleasant lone date with at Corner Bistro in 2003. But I can recite the entire lineup for the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals.

I’m more familiar with details of the lives of my sports heroes than I am with most people I have actually met. After all, we see them more often than we see most of our families.

This false intimacy leads to the illusion that we somehow know them.    

Have we done this more with anyone other than Tiger Woods? He has been on our television screens nearly his entire life, from “The Mike Douglas Show” at 2 to“That’s Incredible!” at 5 to his first Masters at 19 to his first Masters win at 21.   

We have seen corporate logos splashed across his caps and clothes; at his peak, he was a prime American export, a global conglomerate to himself.

But this has told us nothing about Tiger Woods the person, which is why we have continually found ourselves “surprised” by the revelations about his personal life that began to cascade after his infamous 2009 Escalade accident on Thanksgiving weekend.

This has not stopped us from continuing to pretend. When recent news broke that Tiger — and he’s always “Tiger” — had been arrested for driving under the influence, and then we saw the dashcam video of Tiger slurring his words, we all collectively fired up our narrative machines.

What has happened to Tiger? Have we ever seen such a downfall in American sports? To contrast the vibrant, indestructible Tiger we knew throughout the 2000s with the puffy, slack gentleman we saw in that mug shot was inevitable. What has happened to our Tiger?

This is the same false narrative we’ve been attaching to Tiger his whole life. He was never our Tiger, and we don’t even know that much about this arrest. We reflexively made our proclamations about how sad we were for Tiger, how concerned we were for him (usually right after giddily sharing that mug shot across all our social media platforms), but that sentiment said more about ourselves than any understanding of Tiger’s circumstances.

Tiger immediately said he hadn’t been drinking and had a bad reaction to pain medication after a recent back surgery.

The police report backed up his story about not drinking. Yes, he probably shouldn’t have been driving under that medication. But he was hardly a wild man on a bender. And he did look awful in the mug shot. But hey, how would you look in your mug shot photo?

Because we’ve known Tiger for so long, we immediately ascribe a tragic narrative to him, whether it’s real or not. He was Tiger Woods, greatest golfer of all time.

But after the Thanksgiving 2009 incident, we realized there was a real, live human being under the Nike swoosh, and he hasn’t won a major since, and now there’s this and Tiger’s life is out of control. We’ve turned him into Mike Tyson or Pete Rose, an otherworldly talent torn down by personal demons.

The facts do not support this story. Tiger might not have won any more majors after the 2009 incident, but he did win the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award in 2013, the second oldest man ever to receive the honor. Tiger did not collapse once his life became tabloid fodder, and in fact he returned to near his previous greatness. Eventually, his back issues flared up and truly sidelined his career, but you don’t get back issues from living an out of control, partying lifestyle. You get them from playing golf every day for 30 years.

It’s a familiar athletic career arc: Phenomenal talent explodes onto the scene, dominates his sport during his prime, reaches a level of fame and wealth that causes some personal relationships — including a marriage — to fray, suffers from sport-related injuries as he ages, eventually is too banged up and middle-aged to be a superstar anymore.

Tiger Woods isn’t winning golf tournaments anymore, but it’s not because he has lived some wild life. It’s because he got old. It happens to everyone. Even him.

We all want to find a reason that Tiger was once that and is now this. But that’s trying to convince ourselves that we know Tiger Woods.

We don’t know Tiger Woods. We never did. That’s O.K. He has provided decades of entertainment for fans, inspired legions of athletes to push themselves to be their best and, oh, yes, made millions of dollars for many people. We don’t own him or his story, and we don’t get to ascribe a tragic narrative to him that might not even be true.

He doesn’t need our faux concern. He is his own human being, not yours and not ours. His story line belongs to him and no one else. He’s not your friend. He’s not your family. You don’t know him at all. Please just let the man get old like the rest of us in peace.

Will Leitch is a senior writer for Sports on Earth, a contributing editor for New York magazine and the founder of Deadspin. This is an essay from the series Sporting

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  • Clyde Duncan  On June 12, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Tiger is Headed Back to Rehab

    Kate Sheehy | New York Post

    Tiger Woods — faced with possibly losing joint custody of his two young children after his DUI bust — is going back into rehab, a new report says.

    The addled golf great recently reserved the entire male inpatient unit of the Jupiter Medical Center near his Florida home for his stint for an addiction to prescription pills, according to Radar Online.

    “Tiger visited the hospital with his children on June 2, then went alone two days later to complete paperwork and his assessment,” a source told the gossip site.

    The tee ace, 41, was arrested in Jupiter on May 29 after being found dozing behind the wheel of his banged-up Mercedes-Benz.

    He later admitted to cops that he had taken Xanax earlier in the night and also was on Vicodin.

    Humiliating cop-car dashcam video showed the fallen star barely able to speak or walk. At one point, he told cops he thought he was in California.

    Woods has undergone several surgeries on his back, the most recent in April.

    He previously underwent rehab in 2010 for an addiction to Vicodin and Ambien.

    He also has been treated for a sex addiction after being exposed as a serial extramarital cheater in 2009, prompting his goody-goody image — as well as his marriage to former Swedish model Elin Nordegren — to implode.

    A source told Radar that his relationship with his children is at stake.

    “If Tiger gets caught up in a scandal, he could face losing the 20 percent custody he currently has’’ of daughter Sam, 9, and son Charlie, 8, the source said.

    Woods’ rep, Mark Steinberg, did not immediately respond to an email from The Post on Monday, and a woman answering the phone at Steinberg’s office said he would not have any comment.

  • Clyde Duncan  On June 12, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Amy Whitehouse – REHAB – 158-million Views

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