ladies are unwell; gentlemen vomit


The Masters was this weekend, and even for those of you who don’t like golf, there was enough emotional intrigue to keep tongues a-wag-wag-waggin’. Foremost amongst my sport-minded friends was the following interview Tiger Woods gave to Bill Macatee after his last round, with the leaders yet to finish [thanks, jon! -ed.]:

Taken by itself, this vaguely uncomfortable moment doesn’t seem like much, but for a fan base that is dying for Tiger to show some contrition after a year of some pretty grisly revelations, it just feels like he’s just a dick after all.

I feel like I knew dudes like this in my latter days in Chapel Hill. Their reputations were so impermeable (in both a good way and a bad way) that they had made the inner calculation that it no longer mattered how they behaved, because the end result would be the same. One of my housemates (no, not you) was such a well-documented [insert personal flaw here] that he started being more and more brazen about it… he figured that he might as well keep doing it on the off-chance he’d get what he wanted, since he’d be called a [insert personal flaw here] regardless.

Many of you who knew me back in the heady mid-’90s may think I’m talking about myself, but I had the terrible flaw of actually caring what people thought about me, which turned many of my nights into a cavalcade of misery. I would have been much better off not giving a shit, but I was doubly cursed; I gravitated toward reprehensible behavior and I didn’t have the balls to brazen it out. But I digress.

Tiger Woods – as an untreated borderline narcissist – must figure it really doesn’t matter anymore. The public has already seen all his texts, already knows his private predilections. He might as well behave however the fuck he wants, and in theory, I agree with him.

But what he fails to grasp is that America’s attention span is gnat-like, and he could rehabilitate his image in 18 months. Hell, so could Lindsay Lohan, who, like Tiger, possesses an undeniable talent in her chosen field. I’m always amazed when certain ex-heroes fall from grace, and continue to do something incredibly stupid every 6 weeks, as though they need to feed the dickhead meter before the rehab cops come to give them a clean bill of health.

Certainly Tiger owes us nothing, and if he wants to respond to a bunch of dumbass questions with a disdainful snort, more power to him. He can tell Nike and Electronic Arts and Titleist to suck it, and rest on well-earned laurels and millions of dollars. However, America needs heroes and comeback stories almost as much as it needs cheeseburgers and oil. With a dose of humility and a laser-like refocus, he could be Tiger Woods again. Like Benjy Stone said to Alan Swann in My Favorite Year, “don’t tell me this is you ‘life-size’. I can’t use you ‘life-size’!”


Mark Linn-Baker and Peter O’Toole in “My Favorite Year”

0 thoughts on “ladies are unwell; gentlemen vomit

  1. Anne

    Not to get all armchair-analyst on you, Ian, but I find myself wondering if Woods’s refusal to show more humility and own his bad behavior has anything to do with his complicated racial situation in a white man’s sport.
    It may be twice as hard for an African-Asian man to say Mea culpa in the context of feeling, deep down, that he is still the “other,” the fluky-talented black man whom the golf establishment *expects* to screw up because of his race. The sexual animal in the white man’s manicured garden.
    We’ve made him a symbol, and that’s a hard burden to carry even in the post Civil Rights era. Sure, he should get the chip off his shoulder and say “I was wrong, I’m so sorry” but how many times must he say it?
    Sometimes I hate the celebrity culture. Then I think of how much money our athletic and entertainment champs make, and I don’t feel quite so bad for them. :-)

  2. Mom

    Anne; “he should get the chip off his shoulder and say “I was wrong, I’m so sorry” but how many times must he say it?”
    Yeah… I’m sorry, but I failed to see anything in the interview that you seem to have read into it. He did that humiliating press conference (as if his private life were ANY OF OUR BUSINESS). How long does he have to grovel? All I heard was a hungry man tired of interviews trying to get to lunch. What was I missing?
    I’m really tired of every sports star, movie star, and politician who does something stupid having to ask for our forgiveness, having to wear sackcloth forEVER. I spend a lot of sleepless hours myself feeling bad about the people I have hurt, the mistakes I have made, the dumb things I have done during my many decades of human existence. But I am spared having to ask the entire world to forgive me. For those in the limelight, they are forced into uncomfortable (even to watch) admissions in front of microphones.
    The worst are the politicians who, with their brave, forgiving spouse at their side, are forced to lie or admit to lies… oh, please… spare us. I’m really tired of all this stuff. People are flawed, they struggle with their worst impulses, they screw up. But in matters of personal behavior, even Linsey Lohan should be left to either shape up or self-destruct, and we should just go on with OUR lives, trying to do our best without, thank god, the public scrutiny/
    But if that were to happen, what would Access Hollywood and National Enquirer and… hell, even the NY times… do to get people to pay attention. I choose to ignore this stuff and work on my own failings. My heroes are not my heroes based on their sex lives, but because of their books, their symphonies, their performances, and even occasionally on their good works. Their bad behavior, assuming none of the public is injured or killed in the process, are their own, their family’s own to wrestle with, and none of my business.
    I apologize for the rant, Ian…

  3. jon

    Yeah, to add a little more context, this interview was actually *after* his final round on Sunday. Like, literally, 30 seconds after he walked off the 18th green. And though he was technically tied for the lead at the time, it was pretty obvious he wasn’t going to end up winning. That’s why there was actual relevance to McAtee asking him if he was gonna go back to the practice area or get something to eat… the tacit implication was: “Are you going to prepare for a playoff or concede defeat and call it a day.” So Tiger wasn’t (solely) being an ass when he said he was gonna go eat, the subtext was “I know I’ve lost, and I’m pissed about it, so I’m gonna go have a sandwich.”
    And he had reason to be pissed, because he came out ON FIRE on the front nine on Sunday and looked for all the world like “the old Tiger,” and it was really exciting stuff as he charged toward the lead, making up SEVEN strokes in just 9 or 10 holes. But then he missed a few critical and makable putts on the back nine that cost him the title, the thrill of victory and a couple million bucks. So, yeah, he was mad, and not very gracious about it. But in that context, how many of us would be? Besides, what people love about Tiger is not that he’s a great guy — he’s not — it’s that he’s Michael Jordan-level competitive and always wants to be the best. And if you think Jordan or any of the other all-time great competitors would have been any more chipper in an exactly comparable interview situation (like, say, 30 seconds after having missed a couple easy baskets to win his team the world title), you’re nuts.

  4. jersey

    I’m with jon 100% … the Michael Jordans, Derek Jeters and Charlie Sheens of the world would never put up with Macatee at that point. Nor should Tiger.

  5. GFWD

    Jon, I thrice typed out a response like yours and kept getting interrupted by phone calls. My points exactly. The only other thing I would add is WHY in the hell do people expect superlative athletes to be things that we don’t ever expect out of other people? I don’t expect my priest to be able to dunk, my son’s teacher to be a scratch golfer or my co-workers to be able to hit a 95 mph baseball. So why do I care if Tiger is someone who tells jokes a minute after losing the Masters?

  6. Neva

    I read the blog and then the comments and expected him to cuss the guy out or something. I thought he was perfectly reasonable. He just lost. Come on.
    He is human after all.
    OMG – I am defending Tiger Woods.
    Oh, and Ian, I think I must have known your roommate – or one of the 1,000 other Carolina frat boys I found so intriguing at that time.

  7. Chris

    You know what – I LOVE IT! We’re such a bunch of dumb asses for buying into more than what’s really there. Love him because he’s a great golfer and forget the fairy tale packaging. Unless you’re Jesus Christ on the links – any athlete who needs to believe he’s the best in the world to become the best in the world is also going to be a douche. Super ego nice guys don’t show up until they’re on their death bed – and at that point who cares. RIP you big Tiger douche!


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