The predictable and obvious

"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles, CEO Sports Network

Duh!!! What segments of expectation and calculation did the pundits miss? Did they think that Tiger Woods was going to entertain self-exile to a Buddhist Monastery in the Himalayan Mountains practicing his mastery of golf between valleys, instead of the art of kung-fu?

Who were all those people that picked up the first stone and, in a significant number of cases, opted to throw it in his direction, a sure sign of their own purity and perfection, their stainlessness and antiseptic existence? The chastity, virginity and morality of all who commented regarding Tiger Woods and his ill-conceived dalliances of recent months is open to question.

Tiger Woods will make his 2010 debut at the Masters.
Now that he has opted to return to that which placed him on a pinnacle from which he has stumbled of late, it just might be time to let go of the slings and arrows that have come his way. What he did cannot be condoned nor approved publicly or privately. It was stupid, but it was private. He owed nothing to anyone save his wife and children - and, a distant second, third, fourth and so on, to the sponsors that took that smile, intelligence, ability that has made him the best golfer on the planet - now and possibly ever at the moment - to a level fraught with danger should there be any sort of misstep, any at all.

His was not a misstep, a stumble, gaffe or simple faux pas. It was a blunder and indiscretion of Titanic proportions. It was the Hindenburg going down again and again. It was not a stupid lapse in judgment, a mere peccadillo. It was, as with anything he did and of which he should have been aware, the failure of a living legend, the bad judgment of a young god on earth, the public embarrassment that others of lesser fame and fortune keep to themselves and their family.

Tiger Woods was the National Enquirer hitting the voyeuristic lottery. This eclipsed the woman whose husband spoke to her through their waterbed from the great beyond, the aliens making love in the farmer's bathtub on the second floor, the fables about Hollywood stardom having orgies between sets and takes of the latest epic being filmed. Woods was the media jackpot of recent vintage.

The stones were flying but they were not preceded by "Rolling" on the cover of a magazine. They were embellished with the aplomb and indifference of Emeril creating a new epicurean feast to titillate and satisfy the masses.

We create idols and then relish the thought of chipping away at bringing them down, or watching them descend a bit to walk among mere mortals. The feeding frenzy borders on the insane and speaks volumes for who we really can be, and are.

What Tiger Woods did is a problem for him and Elin, his wife. For us to look at the dirty and stained linens, no pun intended, and then to snicker at them is ridiculous. He had, and has, the talent, brain and good looks to be where he is, to live the lifestyle that is a fantasy for the rest. That makes him fair game for the have-nots. Ridiculous.

He and Elin are conversation points at the office, at home, at dinner with friends, on the golf course among the foursome, in the tabloids, on talk shows, morning and evening TV - you name it. Deserved because of where he is on the world stage? I guess so. A time to stop? Assuredly, like now.

Who are these people called upon to provide commentary? The PhD's, journalistic hacks, TV commentators without a clue, morning show guests that know little or nothing about life, no common sense, devoid of a true existence of their own, a total absence of experience, and not without huge failings of their own?

The Today Show, usually insightful and objective, exposes us to a reporter from The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News "fame" to seek his opinion. The same person who gained some notoriety as a sports writer, a failure as an ESPN show host and overflowing with "inside sources" that, apparently, were secreted in the home of Woods, on his yacht, the restroom of his jet and, somehow, within his golf bag. It was an interview and opinion that never should have been and was only the tip of the iceberg. They have come from everywhere, mix them with water, stir and they are the source with the secret, the opinion born of rumor and ill-conceived personal notions.

Tiger Woods returning to The Masters was pre-determined. He and Elin not getting a divorce was palpable and predictable. The children coming first obvious. New rules out of the book of Bill Maher expected.

Matt Lauer, a really first-class host, commentator and journalistic luminary at the top of his field, wants to know if Woods will be wearing his wedding ring. No, Matt, he will not...not yet. Nor will Elin be wearing her enviable diamond or band of any sort. Not yet.

Will Elin be there for The Masters? No, Matt, she will not...not yet. Forgiveness for this one comes slowly but it comes. And, no, Matt, you will not get the interview with them. Nor should anyone, not even the Big O.

Will the fans welcome him back? The men will, cautiously and somewhat hesitantly, but gracefully. Faint applause from most, enthusiastic from others. It cannot be misinterpreted...the applause for returning from golf versus that which might indicate obtuse approval of his manhood. The women in the gallery will not applaud, for the most part. Indignation by anyone will not be shown by catcalls or signage. Great shots will be cheered. Winning would be fantastic for him, his fans, TV, new sponsors mulling over what might be and Tiger himself. The image will climb back slowly. Being in the hunt will be almost as good.

Don't expect to see Elin at the Masters this year.
How will the press react? The stupid among them, and there are enough, will ask questions they should not and Woods will avoid the response as a personal matter to which he is attending. Like it or not, believe it or not, he has apologized to the world. You did not buy into it? Your choice. He did not rape, pillage, plunder, rob, kill, maim, kidnap anyone or set fire to the local school. What he did was the height of stupidity, his own. Elin is lawyer, judge, jury, mother, wife at one and the same time. What happens in their personal lives is up to her. She owns the rule book from now on - and he cannot call upon the crowd to move the rock that lies in their path. He has to do it. Not easy but doable.

The "experts" sought to date, and who will be part and parcel of this ongoing drama for some weeks, maybe a few months, beyond The Masters, will be those who cite the unacknowledged, undefined, undesignated, unidentified, unknown, unnamed, unrecognized, unspecified, withdrawn, sources without a name. They might as well call upon The Shadow for "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"

Someone said that Nike sales will suffer. Give me a break! You or your husband wears a Nike product and he follows his private parts to the local brothel? That person was interviewed on a morning talk show. Nike will not suffer. Nor will Tiger after this upcoming season, that which is left after The Masters, at least 6-7 months more - and who knows what other tournaments he will enter? By next year normalcy will return, Elin will be at his side with the children and they will be hailed as having come through the storm. Welcome to America.

As of yesterday, ESPN and CBS are kissing each other as well as every photo they have hanging in their offices of Tiger Woods. The PGA, quietly and conservatively, is thanking the gods of golf. Augusta just raised all of its prices at hotels, restaurants and parking facilities. The media is salivating in the midst of March Madness, the NBA and NHL heading into their final stages and MLB getting ready for a new season. That is the power of Tiger Woods. When he and Elin reunite, when she forgives him and almost commends him for seeing the error of his ways, doing all he could to rehabilitate and turn a new tree, not just a leaf, the worlds of golf and otherwise will embrace them both with open arms. For those who scoff at that, get a life! Tom Hanks, as Forrest Gump, said it best, s$%#t happens, and this was a huge pile of it. But, life goes on. The circus folds its tents and leaves town, a new show will come soon.

There is no countenance here, no patronage, sanctioning of what took place, no kudos, no imprimatur, just the view of someone that is not going to cast the first, second, third, fourth, or ten thousandth stone.

Will any of this be more than a footnote on his bio, history of the game, basis for a movie, or more conversation anywhere in a year, maybe a month?

You gotta be kidding!

You gotta be kidding!

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