Tiger Woods Can’t Win This Game

Tiger Woods is in the deep rough today. He’s avoiding talking to the police. They’re seeking search warrants for his medical records. This is a disaster of monumental proportions for the golf star. No matter what he loses.

He was either under the influence of some controlled and crashed his vehicle. Or, he was beat by his jealous wife and trying to escape. If it’s the former, his squeaky image is tarnished (though less so if it’s by pain medication). If it’s the latter, he’ll have the ignominious reputation for being an abused husband.

Women initiate physical contact in relationships but rarely do the damage a man does..unless the woman is wielding a golf club, say. Glenn Reynolds writes late yesterday about the implications of the abuse:

Rosin also writes: “It is impossible to imagine Tiger occupying the same cultural brain space as Rihanna, with Nordegren playing Chris Brown. If Tiger had been chasing down his wife with a golf club and she had shown up with bruises, even if she had cheated with, say, K-fed, we would be a lot less ambivalent and complacent.” That’s probably correct, for certain values of the word “we,” but why is that, exactly? Cheating men deserve to be beaten, even with weapons, while cheating women do not?

Or could it be, you know, sexism? But that’s not possible, because Hanna Rosin can’t be sexist, and neither can those who agree with her. If you’re Hanna Rosin, “sexist” is a name you call other people. You know, bad people who believe in stereotypes and stuff.

Here’s the thing: While it’s just as bad for the woman to beat the man as vice versa, the consequences for this story coming out will not benefit the victim. In fact, the victim will be re-victimized. Tiger Woods will be the butt of jokes; he is already. Again, this is wrong. And maybe his case will help change the culture around husband abuse, but I doubt it. The more likely outcome will be further humiliation.

In this case, Tiger Wood’s fame works against him. As others have pointed out, a regular guy would have answered the police questions. The wife would be arrested. It would be her first offense. Very likely the charges would be dropped. And this would go away.

But Tiger Woods didn’t talk to the police after promising he would and now, irritated at his elite star status, they’re going after him….ostensibly to come to justice, but just as likely because they don’t like being put off by the star.

Howard Kurtz blames the media for the circus and asks this:

Is all this, well, news? Edwards’s romance with Rielle Hunter, which he initially denied, took place during a presidential campaign. Is there a compelling public interest in the private life of the world’s top-ranked golfer?

The public is interested because Tiger Woods has everything: fame and fortune. Does he have the same sort of messy life as average Americans? Inquiring minds want to know.

Can Woods hit a miracle shot and save his reputation? That remains to be seen, but I’m doubtful.

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