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Tiger Woods Syndrome: How the Golf Star's Affair Will Help Him Win Our Hearts and Minds

The new Tiger Woods -- flawed philanderer, sex addict, bad boy -- is far more interesting than the scrubbed-down endorsement machine we're used to seeing.

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Casanova Woods

Whether he goes to sex therapy, a Swedish island or Buddhist retreat, everyone agrees Tiger’s got to lay low for a year or two (or maybe less in this short term memory world) before he makes his great comeback. Sponsors come and sponsors go, but the world loves a Casanova. Tiger may not be the monolithic machine he once was, but he’ll still be in the game. It’s not like he raped any of these women, or even used the power of his position to coerce them. He didn’t even pay most of them, and is reputed to be as good between the sheets as he is on the greenways. Like Giacomo Casanova, who would probably have been labeled a “sex addict” if there had been sexperts in 18th century Italy, Tiger seduced with charm, not force. And since that is the Bonobo Way of peace through pleasure, you gotta love the big, lying lunk for it.

Of course, now he must say he’s sorry, big-time, to Elin and to all of us, and then maybe, just maybe we’ll forgive him, maybe love him even more. Most of us adore big, strong, club-swinging men who get down on their knees and apologize “profoundly,” with penitent looks on their naughty, naughty faces (even if we know they’ll just do it again when we’re not looking).

The Real Tiger

Tiger’s travails have even touched that other tall, dark, handsome, very successful, mixed-race American with a hot wife, President Barack Obama. The two are featured together on the bizarre current cover of Golf Digest (personally, I’ll take the philanderer over the war escalator but that’s another bloggamy). "10 Tips Obama Can Take From Tiger" is the headline, one of the tips being "Tiger never does anything that would make him ridiculous."

Well, the joke’s on Golf Digest, because we all do things that make us ridiculous, especially in the sexual arena, especially in a society that demands eternal monogamy and moral perfection of a guy who reached the top of the social heap by hitting balls into holes. Anyway, all humans who are treated like gods ought to be taken down a notch, lest their heads swell up so much that they float away from us entirely. Thus, Tiger shall now “retire” from golf to work on being a "better husband, father and person." Presumably, he’s also retiring from engaging in multiple extramarital affairs, the implication being that the golf swing leads to sexual swinging, or something like that.

If the Woodsman shows the world he can eat humble pie, then plays well when he makes his comeback, the endorsements will also come back, just like Subway came back to bong-sucking Michael Phelps and Nike topped Adidas for accused sex offender Kobe Bryant. And if he doesn’t play so well, if he continues the sloppy philandering and/or if Elin leaves his sorry ass, well, the endorsements won’t be so lucrative. Pepsi and Cadillac won’t be very forgiving if he comes back with a losing streak, sexting his hotties while Elin starts a new life as Sweden’s richest divorcee.

But that’s okay. I would hope that a billionaire would have put something away. And there will be new offers (Tiger Woods for Viagra!) for the new, slightly more real, wounded Tiger, who will be a lot more interesting (to me anyway) than the old, artificial, made-for-endorsements ideal who was never real in the first place.

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