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Kneale: The Real Truth of Tiger's Trysts

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Can the betrayal and humiliation in the Tiger Woods scandal possibly get any worse? So the world’s best athlete and highest-paid celebrity endorser—fit, gorgeous, well-spoken and worth half a billion dollars—turns out to be a randy cheater.

Sorry guys, but, is this really all that shocking?

The bigger question is why we care, beyond a rubbernecking obsession with the salacious. Not since the Monica Lewinsky scandal has the public witnessed such a cataclysmic collision of power and sex, of image vs. reality. Several important truths emerge from the whole sordid, um, affair:

--Tiger Woods and his handlers erred from the start by covering up and shutting up, instead of telling all. All of it comes out anyway, eventually, especially in an era of a crillion cell-phone cameras, ubiquitous blogs and infinite storage of digital “sext” messages.

--Marketers must decide what they’re really selling when they use Tiger Woods: Is it his singular focus on excellence, or his character and lifestyle?

Will we really boycott Nike duds because Tiger strayed? Probably not. But selling Accenture’s savvy consulting services is more about hawking integrity, reliability, trustworthiness. That could be a problem.

--Tiger erred by trading on his wholesome family image, referring to his wife as his “best friend” in TV interviews and paying lip service to marriage and hearth-and-home.

The Yankees’ Derek Jeter has dallied with an abundance of babes, but it is less newsworthy because he never pretended to be John Boy Walton. And, oh yeah, Jeter isn’t married.

--Americans, now addicted to the artifice of reality television, won’t let Tiger re-polish his platinum-plated image until he offers a tearful mea culpa . . . delivered live on national television. A stint in rehab for sex addicts might help (new reality show!). Downside: It also might be catnip for Tiger.

--Married folks, in the meantime, mull Tiger’s takeaways: Have they managed to stay faithful because they’re happily wedded and so self-disciplined—or is it simply because they didn’t get lucky?

Men and women, married or not, have new evidence of the one fundamental difference that rivens the sexes: Women offer sex in search of love. . . and men offer love in search of sex.

How else to explain why so many women violated Tiger’s trust and went public with lurid details? Women scorned, as one media observer points out to me: It may be that each one thought she was the “only” illicit lover of this married man.

Forbes pegs Tiger Woods’s net worth at $500 million and says he may become, one day, the first athlete ever to attain billionaire status. But he may never make it now.

That is, unless his entourage wakes up and does a better job of healing this near-mortal wound to the once-flawless visage of Tiger Woods, world’s best golfer and product pitchman—and now the world’s most infamous hound dog.

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