Monday, February 22, 2010


Tiger, of the most curious things about your apology to the known cosmos came at its conclusion, when you said you hoped that one day we could believe in you again.

No thinking person has ever lost a skerrick of “belief” in you. You are a golf player. Repeat - golf, player. You play a game which is for some reason of global appeal, with its preppie outfits and campy golf carts, a pastime favoured by presidents and CEOs, and men who like wearing cuff-links and sea captain caps, and women in slacks, and in the pursuit of which tracts of forest are razed for acres of heavily watered ever-clipped lawn, flapping with little flags. Funny old game really, but it’s human - like sex for instance. 

As golf players go you are one of the best, if not the best. Any loss of belief should be more the ongoing one in the society around you, the one that has medicalised your desire for sex addition into “sex addiction”, dubbed you a narcissist and all the rest of it. After all, who but a mirror-staring monster would ever want a bit more sex in their lives?

Not long ago you were striding the course,  a young man in the pink on the green. Now as you give your televised apology, you look like you’ve been clubbed with a sand wedge. You appear brainwashed, drugged and wounded, which you no doubt are after weeks of “treatment” at the hands of the Senior Anti Sex League, which has made you endure tortures as terrible as being forced to listen to whole State of the Union speeches by George W. Bush,  while a stripper pole dances in front of you, all in the purpose of shrivelling your desire to the McNugget that  is church and sponsor approved.

You have been put on trial by that vapid, venal and ever hypocritical beast, the media, its “values” ever more closely dicktated by US Christian Fundamentalist Right. But for what have you been tried? What is your crime? Did you rob a shop, diddle your taxes, attack your spouse with a golf club? No. Your offence was to betray the trust of your wife by having sex with other women without her knowledge. It is, in other words, a matter entirely and exclusively between the two of you, and of no legitimate concern to others except as gossip and juicy trivia - and for the media, sensational profit.

The words “role model for the young” are inevitably recited, usually by advertising types who have drafted your various product endorsements, but was it your goal in life to be a public saint - or to be good at golf? And who better to preach about moral values and the dangers of booze and womanising than the original Mad Men? As for politicians preaching, nuff said.

Who then is there to cast the first stone? A multitude, the media would have us believe, from the snug, smug safety of their living room armchair, deep in the maw of their quiet sexless desperation, in the thrall of what Wilhelm Reich called “the mass psychology of fascism”.

When anything really bad happens to us short of death - divorce, disease, financial wipeout - well-meaning friends line up with homilies to help us through, viz “One door  closes, another opens”, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, “you will grow though this”. But the two which have become most common in more recent times are “everything happens for a reason”, and “shit happens”.

“Everything happens for a reason” appeals to hippies, New Age types and the religious, as it implies a higher purpose behind everything - that our lives, as difficult as they might seem at the time, are being controlled from just off camera by a divine being in a director’s chair. “Yes Tiger, I had you agonisingly stub your toe, but so that you could grow a new, stronger nail. It’s all written down here in my script for you. Which I will never show you. Next scene!”

“Shit happens” appeals to real estate agents and used car salesmen as it means they don’t have to take responsibility for their actions. Our woe and angst can instead be put down to the meaninglessness we all face on the moral stage, that universe of dark and terrifying freedom mapped by Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus and Beckett.

You are now being told by a legion of psychiatrists, psychotherapists, drug-peddling doctors, church leaders, politicians, news editors and, yes, journalists, that there is something terribly wrong with your desire for sex - your, yes, sex drive. They will also be telling you that the good news is that everything happens for a reason, and that when one door closes another opens, and that you will grow through this humiliation and public shaming, all this mindfucking “therapy”. The sad truth is that shit happens when sex, media and money come together in an unholy orgasm, an orgy of self-serving, self-righteous cant and bile, with the horrid undertones, subtle but there, and doubtless deeply satisfying to the white Christian Right, of the black man who "cannot control himself".

Can a black man be greatest golfer there ever was? Can a black man be president? Sadly there are so many who would wish it not so.

Tiger, Tiger, burn bright.

-Larry Buttrose


  1. I am old enough to remember President & former General Dwight Eisenhower, who managed to govern the US & goodly parts of the rest of the (Western) world from the rhythmic tedium of the golf course. There would be many who were youths at that time wishing that Ike would have engaged in something as interesting as Tigger did (I understand Ike did too, but in a very typical boring way) to liven up the 50s.

  2. Hay Larry it is ok for a black American to be President of the United States, but we don't want no fuckin' Aussie Presidents, ya' hear.

  3. It's not my place to judge Tiger Woods for his affairs. It shouldn't be my place to garner titillation and schaudenfreude from him. And I am sick of media outlets, and other people assuming that I should. He is a great golfer, that's all; he's not a saint.

  4. Sport and the sex lives of others are the two of the Western world's most popular interests and big bad Tiger has cornered both. What worries me is that the values underpinning the vilification of Woods are far more pervasive than the reaches of either the media or the Fundamentalist Religious Right. So, although society moves through cycles of permissiveness and repressiveness, it seems like that strand of human nature that wants to stone an 'adulterer,' will never be bred out. By the same token, it seems that humans will also never get better at not 'getting caught.'

  5. Poor Tiger.

    Perfecting his putt, when he could have been playing house, playing 'going out', playing at what works in relationships and what doesn't.

    I have a teenage son. I enjoy watching his forays into love and (what he hopes will turn into) sex. This is an important time: he and his friends pursue friendships, delve deeper, grow disillusioned, break up, an--ultimately--fine tune what they learn. Sadly, Tiger was too busy for this. His father sought to circumvent a natural (and healthy) process. He and his lovely wife and his innocent children are paying. There really is something important in the natural process of growing up. Those who live outside will always miss something hugely valuable.

    We should give Tiger some latitude. This time.

    Hopefully, he can learn from his mistakes the way teenagers all over the world learn every day. We can give him the chance he never had--and hopefully Elin will too--to learn what he never had the opportunity to do so before. And we can also be so glad that most of the time our children have the opportunity to undergo this process out of view of media scrutiny. Shit happens. There is a lot we can't control. But learning and being better is always possible.

  6. Thanks Rae, funny but from watching the TV news you get the feeling most US presidents do the job from the golf course - though not the current one, who actually seems to spend time at the office... Charles I promise you we would never do that, though I'm sure the Republicans would love to get that noted trigger man Mel Gibson into the chair sometime (then he was born in the US anyway)... Phillip my feelings precisely, and ditto Blazenka, the worst thing of all is how far the public debate on "morals" has gone to the far right end of the conservative spectrum.... and Adair, agreed, but my point is that all this is his business and his alone. It's not for us to judge - nor even take a position. How can we ever judge the actions of another person anyway, unless we could experience life as they have. And really, what's the point anyway?

  7. I have just installed iStripper, and now I enjoy having the sexiest virtual strippers on my taskbar.