Three-And-A-Half-Years Post-Scandal, And Tiger Is Still Getting No Respect

  • Rick Chandler

It seems crazy that this coming Thanksgiving will mark the fourth anniversary of Tiger Woods crashing his SUV into the oldest tree in Pottersville. Pottersville? You mean Bedford Falls. Nope, sorry Tiger — you’re still stuck in that alternate reality where everything went wrong. You know, where Elin confronted you on your cheating, took after you with a golf club, and you then sped off and careened into a tree, a fire hydrant and every media outlet in the world.

And then, depression set in. Your game suffered. Divorce. Elin passed Go, collected $100 million. All of your ladyfriends began crawling out of the weeds, in excruciating single file.

Didn’t you think, 3 1/2 years later, that it would have all blown over? Well, the New York Post, for one, will never forget. After a questionable drop during the second round of Masters’ play on Friday, the Post on Saturday came up with the headline you see above. And boom!, it’s 2009 again.

Then this happened on Twitter:

Thomas Vonn is of course the former husband of Lindsey Vonn, and Lindsey Vonn is currently dating Woods … that is, if it’s not all a publicity thing. It was Thomas Vonn’s first tweet since Feb. 14, so you know he was just lying in wait for that one.

So does it surprise you that, in a February Nielsen/ePoll, Woods was voted the third-most hated athlete in the U.S.? Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o finished 1-2, and Tiger was a solid third with a 19 percent appeal rating. That’s five points worse than Michael Vick, and eight points worse than NASCAR bad boy Kurt Busch. Wow.

Why do we seem ready to acquit folks like Ben Roethlisberger, Ray Lewis and Magic Johnson (the latter, of course, for The Magic Hour, which lasted five weeks on Fox in 1998), while Tiger continues to be the butt of Post headline shenanigans and social media abuse?

Perhaps it’s because his chosen profession lends itself to jokes. Any sport with ball, shaft and niblick right in its list of terms is just asking for it. The only thing that would have made it worse is if he played cricket.

But in truth, it’s probably because he’s Tiger Woods. Tiger has always been a loner, a rebel … like James Dean, and Pee Wee Herman. And because he wouldn’t give anyone access to his feelings before the scandal, most folks don’t have any trouble walking all over them now.

And let’s face it: many of us are probably still equal parts disgusted and envious. Tiger had it all — the great career, the big money, the great wife — and chose to screw around, in the most irresponsible fashion, anyway. Not so secretly, we’re glad he’s still getting some heat for that.