Why does it matter that people in the public eye should behave themselves, even if some of us don’t? Well there is the point that they are usually earning money from our pockets in some shape or form. Thus the shenanigans of various politicians is of interest to us even when it does not involve some expenses claim or other, and we feel entitled to be outraged if they do something disreputable or tawdry.
So if you have been to an Open Golf championship and have stood only yards from the tee where Tiger stood ready to propel another 300 plus yard drive down the fairway, then you may feel you have a claim to his public or professional life. But where his personal life has now spilled over into the rough of the public eye, then that may also give you the right to determine whether he is now public villain number one or still the adored sportsman that he was, and possibly could still be.
It is no secret that he is one of the most talented golfers of the last few decades, and if it were not for him then others would have had much more success. Difficult to know if that success would also have encompassed someone like Colin Montgomerie for whom outright superstardom still seems elusive, but Tiger’s absence would have meant a completely different set of golf heroes.
So his proposal to stay away from golf for an indefinite period will also have some considerable effect on the future of the professional game. His presence alone is thought to have accounted for many people’s attendance at major tournaments who might not otherwise have thought of stomping around on a golf course. There are many other players who can drive a ball as far and who have a decent short game, but the difference is, or was, that Tiger seemed somehow superhuman and otherwordly. Now he is just another weak-willed man caught with his trousers down, indeed apparently caught so often one wonders why he bothered putting them on.
There is a personal tragedy being played out here in the public eye. The papers and other media have devoted many column inches to him and his family. The Telegraph reports that he has not been seen in public since his accident outside his home. His wife is reported to have bought a secluded house in Sweden which she is apparently going to escape to. At least one of the paramours is claiming that they will be together in the future. His mother-in-law has been taken to hospital by ambulance.
So where does that leave poor old Tiger? At least two of his sponsors have edged away from him already, although one cannot help but think that this will be the very least of his problems since he has apparently made so much from the professional game over the years.
It seems that it leaves him trying very hard to protect what is left of his reputation as a clean-living, hard-playing professional golfer and devoted husband and father. Even PR guru Max Clifford agrees with his current course of action to step back from the professional tee for a while to let the roar of the crowd die down. Whether or not he is able to stage a comeback at any time in the future will remain to be seen, and is at least in part down to his public who may decide that they don’t actually want him back.