November 29, 2009 (updated 11/30 and 12/2) –The only thing that we will ever know for sure about the recent news that Tiger Woods, who has strong ties to Las Vegas' golf courses, was involved in a mysterious car accident in Florida, is that the incident proves, without a doubt, that he is human. Earlier this year, his armor was chinked when he lost for the first time in 14 tries when leading a major entering the final round. That loss to Y.E. Yang showed a human side as well. Before these two separate instances, Tiger pretty much seemed super-human: perfect swing, perfect record, perfect life, perfect wife, perfect off-course lifestyle, etc. But, as we all know deep down, there is nobody who can live up to the spotlight of perfection.
11/30: "As you all know, I had a single-car accident earlier this week, and sustained some injuries," Woods said in a statement on his website hours after this post. "I have some cuts, bruising and right now I'm pretty sore. This situation is my fault, and it's obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I'm human and I'm not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn't happen again. This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way. Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible." Tiger also said in a statement on his website that he will not play in the Chevron World Challenge event this week which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation.
What we also know about this is that there will be many (too many, probably) folks circling the blood–no pun intended, as Tiger Woods was reportedly cut in the accident–in the water in an effort to take down Tiger, who has been so perfect for so long. Should we instantly forget about his long hours of dedication to charity, and to becoming arguably the greatest golfer who ever lived because he ran his vehicle into a fire hydrant in front of his house at around two in the morning? Under mysterious circumstances, or so the media wants us to believe? Here's a vote–unless something very, very bad comes of this–that we don't forget all of the great things, and give the guy a pass for whatever happened. And if there was any conflict between a young, married couple (as has been alleged), then maybe we should let that couple work things out as millions of others get to do in private.
Since this website is based in Las Vegas, we hear rumors and stories about celebrities all of the time: he or she's a good tipper, a bad tipper, parties too much, parties too little, gambles too much, spotted with this person or that person, etc. Most of the time, you have to take these stories with a grain of salt and move on in the discussion. Hopefully, this is such a case, but with the powers of TMZ and other national 'media' outlets going crazy looking for the break in the case, we're sure to hear much more about this incident, and any other negative story that can be dug up about the World's Best Golfer.
12/2: And after this writing, stories of extra-marital affairs have surfaced and Tiger has gone public via TigerWoods.com with a statement about "transgressions". "I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.
Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives. The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious. Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.
But no matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. I realize there are some who don't share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one's own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions.
Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. I have given this a lot of reflection and thought and I believe that there is a point at which I must stick to that principle even though it's difficult. I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology."
Woods has a long history in Las Vegas, going back to his junior golf days when he played in the Las Vegas Founders AJGA national junior tournament played at Las Vegas golf course Legacy Golf Club. Woods also nearly played college golf for powerhouse UNLV, but despite attending Stanford he created a meaningful relationship with Las Vegas and UNLV physical therapist Keith Kleven, who he still works with to this day. Kleven has called Woods the strongest athlete that he works with, and some of those other athletes include world class football players and boxers, among others. Woods also won his first PGA Tour event here in 1996 when he won the Las Vegas Invitational, defeating Davis Love III in a playoff in an event that was played at three Las Vegas golf courses including Las Vegas National Golf Club.
To this day, Woods also holds his annual Tiger Jam event in Las Vegas, a benefit concert and golf event that raises dollars for the Tiger Woods Foundation. And we hope this new news that a woman has been linked to Las Vegas doesn't damage the chances of Tiger Jam continuing in Las Vegas. The Tiger Jam golf events take place at Las Vegas golf courses Cascata and Rio Secco Golf Club, with the concert being at the Mandalay Bay Arena. Past performers have included Van Halen, No Doubt, Seal, Bon Jovi, Christina Aguilera, and many others. Millions of dollars have been raised for his charity which reaches out to those kids that need it via the Tiger Woods Learning Center and other outlets.
Some of the monies raised during Tiger Jam have been donated to the Andre Agassi Foundation. Agassi is a lifelong Las Vegas resident who has also been viewed as being so perfect for so long, but then he recently revealed in an autobiography that he used meth for about a year, plus lied about it at the time to tennis' governing body, the ATP. Thus revealing his own human side. For weeks, the media and public have debated how to react to this chink in the armor of a guy who has given millions to charity and presented a pretty perfect image (sound familiar?). The jury is still out on Agassi (but as you can guess, I hope he gets a pass as well), but it's hard not to think that similar discussions will take place now that Tiger Woods has revealed his human tendencies. After all, that's what he is, like all of us.–Brian Hurlburt