Tiger Vs. the Media: Who is to Blame?

It seems that the obvious popular topic in the golf blogosphere and national sports media nowadays is the first ever Tiger Woods Saga, which involves a superstar, a wife, an accident, and a possible mistress. However, perhaps the most influential player in this whole situation is the massive amount of attention that the media has given this story.

Numerous opinions and rumors have been created/speculated over the past couple of weeks regarding the world's number 1 golfer, many of which have been hearsay and completely unfounded (to this point, at least). Tiger and his family refuse to speak to pretty much anyone, which is only making matters worse in the public eye. However, what does Tiger owe to the public at this point, if anything at all?

The writers at Niceballz.com seem to have covered the "situation" pretty thoroughly from the standpoint of basically any opinion one could have, including the following:

“It’s none of your business!” – Technically true. We have no ‘right’ to
know what happened. Apparently neither does the FHP. This of
course only raises more questions and doubt on Tiger’s claims that this was
no big deal and extends the story vs. closes it out. But even Woods
relented and realized he had to say something to appease the media, his fans,
his detractors et al. Hence the carefully worded statement put out via his
website. So yes, in the end he did ultimately make it our business
too.

Interesting point-of-view, and I must admit that this is the stance I have chosen to take. In reality, none of what happened that night is anyone else's business other than Tiger and his family's. However, as Erik Kuselias stated on ESPN's First Take yesterday, "Tiger Woods is a corporation, and therefore must do what is in the best interest of his brand". In this case, one can almost make the argument that Tiger is the CEO of perhaps the most profitable sports likeness ever and owes some type of explanation to the consumer of his products.

Next, consider what ESPN golf blogger Jason Sobel has to say about the way Tiger has handled himself up to this point:

On this occasion, however, playing it close to the vest should prove only to be a disadvantage. He will not own an intimidation factor over his peers by clouding the facts; he will not garner any more lucrative sponsorship deals by remaining surreptitiously coy.

Fair enough, and in a way I believe this could be the case as well. If thousands of people know something to be true and then the person in question simply becomes cryptic and "close to the vest", more questions will be raised and the "situation" cannot be swept under the rug. The public is inherently curious about the accident, the injuries, and the affair accusation. And, as Sobel states, numerous sponsors would also like a little more clarity regarding their investment (when looking at the "Tiger, Inc." angle once again).

However, what are we as the consumer/fans/media really searching for in this story? Are we really concerned about Tiger as a businessman, or are we trying to find a chink in the armor of a generational icon that many people have risen to godlike status? Tiger cannot possibly be so perfect and flawless that he would allow something like an affair or domestic violence to creep into his palace in Orlando, right?

Perhaps the desire to find something "human" about Tiger Woods is the very issue here. What, in the whole grand scheme of things, leads anyone to believe that there must be something imperfect about this man? Why is the public and media so concerned about shining a spotlight on something that any one of us would want to also keep quiet (assuming the rumors are true)? Is this the price that he must pay for being more talented in a particular game than any other weekend hacker ever could dream to be?

Perhaps the real reason that we are all becoming impatient with Tiger's silence is because we need to make our lives seem a little less insignificant.