Ticking Down To Tiger’s Talk…

As I sit here counting down the minutes to the first, and with any luck last, episode of The Tiger Woods Talk Show—also known as “Surreal World”—a few last-minute thoughts are swirling around in my addled brain, giving me both a headache and a certain amount of heartache.

First, I’m jumping on the bandwagon of being angry at Tiger and his handlers for how this week’s carnival has been orchestrated. I still don’t understand why, because his therapy includes speaking out, the timing had to be such as to take the spotlight off the Accenture event not once but twice. With the revelations that Tiger’s people asked the Tour for help last week and all the other details, an announcement easily could have been made well before Accenture began and the “talk” held well after, say next Monday.

Selfish, gutless, spineless. What other words have been thrown around? I agree.

Second. From the moment l’affaire Tigre began the day after Thanksgiving until this past Wednesday, it had nothing to do with golf. It was celebrity scandal and nothing more, about as much to do with golf as the escapades of Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, or Hugh Grant had to do with making movies.

However, with the PGA Tour’s involvement—what some are calling “enabling”—in giving Tiger a forum and acceding to his team’s demands for a no-questions-asked, limited-press-invited, closed-door, scripted confession, the sport of golf is now being besmirched in ways it doesn’t deserve. I don’t believe Commissioner Finchem when he says the Tour would do the same for any player, and wonder if Jim Thorpe, John Daly, and Doug Barron would agree. Tiger’s troubles were, until the other day, a personal matter that almost everyone with a lick of sense agreed should be left to Tiger and his family, with whatever professional help they needed, to solve. Now the Tour has stuck its nose in the middle of things and become an all-too-willing co-conspirator.

And do I really think Finchem slipped when he mentioned to a reporter that Tiger would be returning to rehab after the talk? (And if so, which means Tiger isn’t playing at Phoenix next week, is yet another reason the talk should have been held until after this week’s tournament was done.) Tim Finchem doesn’t slip all that often. And how about that letter the Tour sent to its players explaining Tiger’s actions being leaked to the Associated Press last night? It all seems either too well managed or too badly managed. Take your pick.

And third. In all the hoopla about Tiger and his women I suddenly realized while looking at the sports pages today that the women we should be caring about—the LPGA—are beginning their season this weekend half a world away in Thailand. There may be some odd irony that Thailand is the birthplace of Tiger’s mother, but I won’t try to explain that, not in this the Year of the Tiger. (Oooh, another coincidence?)

I’ve written elsewhere on my website about the Old Course at Siam Country Club, the very fine course where the LPGA is kicking off their 2010 campaign. All things considered, I’d much rather be there and writing about that than here and thinking about Tiger and his full disclosure.

Because no matter what he says, how he says it, who is by his side, where he goes next, and when he finally returns to the game, this whole thing stinks and I’d like to see everyone within six degrees of separation of Tiger—including his enabling friends, the Tour, the tabloids, his mistresses, and on and on and on—go in for therapy themselves and give some thought to this: Was it really all worth it?

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