Rob's Soapbox Archives

February 22nd, 2010


The trick to understanding public relations gimmicks is listening closely to what is said and examining facial expressions and body language, which are ways that the body betrays the mind and expresses the true emotions of any given moment.

Make no mistake; Tiger Woods’ announcement of Friday February 19, 2010 was a gimmick; a tightly controlled, orchestrated and crafted attempt at beginning the long road back to American prominence that Tiger enjoyed for more than a decade before. Tiger is not only a one billion dollar mega-star, he is the cog of a wheel that produces many billions of dollars across the world. He is not “just an athlete,” or even “just a celebrity,” he is a global entity who literally controls thousands of lives and billions of dollars with his actions. Everything you heard Friday was written, re-written and finely tuned by a team of some of the highest paid professional spin control artists on the planet; all, no doubt, overseen closely by Tiger himself.

And that’s why you must ignore what you heard and instead listen to what you didn’t hear, and focus on what you did see.

            THERAPY: Tiger mentioned more than once that he was in “therapy,” and/or was returning to “rehab,” but he never said what kind. Thanks to wide spread rumors widely circulated most people have assumed or concluded Tiger Woods has been in and is still in rehab for sexual addiction. This type of conclusion makes me wonder if it wasn’t Tiger himself who leaked such a rumor, knowing that lemming-like Americans would follow the herd and start repeating aloud as fact something they have never had confirmed. “Tiger is going back to sex rehab,” was the most repeated sentence of the day, and the most utterly un-provable one. He NEVER said what type of therapy he was in. Why in the world has everyone from ESPN to Oprah simply assumed and repeated that it’s sex rehab? Because we were told to by a series of rumors and grainy photographs.
I submit to you that Tiger is in counseling for something far beyond a compulsory need for sex and that he and his team created a story in December they wanted you to hear and repeat so that they could re-enforce the lie without ever actually lying. Once Tiger’s team rumored you into believing he was in “sex-rehab,” all Tiger had to do was say “rehab,” and you instinctively reacted as some sort of Pavlovian dog by saying “sex.” Mission accomplished. 

This is a man who has not once been seen or heard from in nearly three months, despite multiple trips to and from a home staked out by hoards of media; yet somehow it just so happened to “leak” that he was in sex rehab in Mississippi? I don’t buy it, and you shouldn’t either. Those of you who believe my position is cynical and conspiratorial are simply naïve. People like Tiger Woods and countless other celebrities on far smaller scales live lives filled with manipulation, planning, control and orchestration on levels you can’t even imagine. Every single thing Tiger Woods has done for the last decade and a half of his life has been pre-planned by a team of people with only Tiger having the final say. It’s the same way Tom Cruise, Donald trump and Bill Clinton all live. It’s time for the American public to pull their collective heads out of each others’ asses and recognize that these people do live by different rules and on another level and everything they do has a purpose, a message and a meaning. There is no way I believe that some tabloid reporter accidentally stumbled onto Tiger’s whereabouts in the American south. Tiger wanted to be “found,” and wanted you to believe that the worst of his transgressions in life is an addiction to sex; it sells much better in 21st century America than being a pill popping junkie, for example. 

Those of us who have followed the history of “sex addiction” in America know that there’s no such thing. It is impossible to be chemically addicted to sex, which is the clinical definition for explaining and defending addictions to cocaine, alcohol, opiates and the like. Sexual addiction is a compulsion tied to the “rush” the person gets out of the behavior, similar to an adrenaline junkie. Shall we now make bungee jumping an addiction? Of course not.

Furthermore, all, yes all, cases of “sex addiction,” come with an underlying condition, cause and behavior, almost always a form of substance abuse (Hello! Have you not been watching Dr. Drew all of these years? Have you people learned nothing?).

Upon winning the U.S. open in 2008 on one leg, Tiger Woods, in a rare moment, slipped up by announcing in a post match interview that the way he got through the pain was “he had a little something to help him,” or something like that. It was widely ignored by most, but not me. Tiger was clearly saying he was on some form of pain control; and he said it with a smile and a euphoria that we rarely see in the man. I submit to you, with no proof whatsoever, that it is my personal opinion that Tiger is most likely seeking to control his inner demons with some form of opiate addiction, most likely Vicodin and similar drugs, and that is what he’s in “therapy” for. And good for him that he is seeking help. Opiates take people to a place of happiness they cannot imagine in their everyday life and remove stressed out people from the burdens of life; Tiger is the perfect candidate. If he is, in fact, recovering from such an addiction he doesn’t owe any of us that confirmation; that, however, doesn’t mean that we all have to walk around like ignorant fools being led to a trough of lies.

            DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: The other notable moment of word parsing in Woods’ speech was his emotional insistence that his wife, Elin, had “never hit me that night or any other night.” Maybe not, but had she tried? Has she ever hit your car? 

Admittedly, that response on my part is a bit lame since the very next sentence uttered by Tiger was, “There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage, ever.” Okay, fair enough; if Elin had either chased Tiger with a golf club and smashed his car windows or thrown a cell phone at him and chipped a tooth (two incidents alleged by rumor) those would qualify as “episodes of domestic violence.” Or would they? Is Tiger being so cagey as to define “domestic violence” as only reported crimes? Much like a criminal says something that is unlawful is only illegal if you get caught, is Tiger saying there’s no such thing as an episode of “domestic violence” if it’s never reported by either party to law enforcement? Who knows, but I wouldn’t put it past him.

            I don’t think that’s the case, by the way. In the end, I just think Tiger was lying. This was the one part of the speech that was simply not believable visually. After praising his wife for her “grace,” Tiger paused, shook his head in supposed disbelief and disgust at the accusations hurled at his wife and then let out an exasperated sighing harrumph, none of which seemed genuine. It was overacting its finest, forced on a guy who rarely displays emotion, and when he does, does so genuinely. Think of all of the exuberant fist pumps and angry glares at photographers on golf courses throughout the years; those were true, raw emotions from Tiger Woods, not this pained, lame, choreographed acting job meant to convey his love and respect for Elin. In fact, you need look no further than this very speech for a comparison; when Tiger asked the press to leave his family alone, he was truly pissed off; you could see and feel it, unlike his alleged outpouring of love and support for his wife.

I would submit to you that Tiger’s pro-Elin statement was demanded by her and her attorneys as one of the many things Tiger will be doing, saying and paying to and for Elin as a way of retribution and in return for her continued assistance in rehabilitating his image in the way he demands for a period of time. The assertions that Tiger is reformed and focused on what is most important to him (his family) are unbelievably absurd; Tiger cares about Tiger and Tiger Incorporated and the role his “family life” plays in that is important to him only on the level to which his image must be saved, supported and rehabilitated. He knows that, Elin knows that, and they will work together as business partners to that end, in my opinion. I fully expect this marriage to dissolve, not in weeks or months but down the road when it is time for them to announce that they “made every effort but decided to move on apart from one another, blah blah,” regardless of when that announcement comes, I believe the decision was made weeks ago.

In the end, this is not to say or assert that I believe Tiger is a total fraud, charlatan or outright liar. I accept Tiger as he is and always has been; an enormously gifted athlete with a steel-trap mind and singular focus on being the absolute best at what he does always. He is a type A personality that is too type A for most Type A personalities. He is bound by his own DNA, upbringing and genetics to be one thing; the greatest golfer to ever live and I believe he will still be that when history is written.

Tiger will spend 2010 rehabilitating his image, not himself. He may or may not play golf this year, because he is focused more on the future than the present. When he is in total control and the belief that it is time, he will return to golf, most likely as a single man (or perhaps a married man with a very clear arrangement at home not because he is pussy-whipped, but because he is cognoscente of the professional positive benefits of maintaining a “family life”) and he will win big and win often; and he will be revered, loved, worshipped and praised for it all. And he will eat up every single morsel of it.

Tiger Woods will still be the same guy; he is not now and was not for the past few years defined by his sexual exploits, he was defined by his success and he will change and give up anything and everything for that, including intercourse. Tiger wasn’t having sex with tons of women that weren’t his wife because he had to because of some addiction, he was doing it because he thought he could and at the same time still be Tiger Woods. Now he knows better. He will come back still focused on the only thing that matters to him and it isn’t his wife or his children; it’s being Tiger Woods.