I keep hearing and reading that Tiger Woods “needs to come clean.” (Here’s a boilerplate screed from the self-styled King of Outrage.) But you know what I say?
No he doesn’t.
He doesn’t need to say one thing more. He doesn’t have to talk to police, and he hasn’t. That’s his right under the law. And we the people have no overarching Need To Know on this issue. From the above expression of outrage: “The public deserves to hear exactly what happened in the wee hours of Thanksgiving night outside his mansion in Windermere, Fla.”
One question: Why?
It’s clear Mr. and Mrs. Woods had a discussion that didn’t end well. We can surmise that it had to do with the National Enquirer’s report of a Tiger dalliance with a New York nightclub hostess. We the people are not naive. But what exactly is Tiger supposed to say to us after driving his Cadillac into both a tree and a water hazard? (When run over by a vehicle, a fire hydrant qualifies.)
Should he paint himself into a Clinton-esque corner by wagging a finger and saying, “I did not have sex with that woman”? Should he risk being caught in a lie? Or should he admit to being an adulterer and thereby expose his already-exposed family to deeper public humiliation? Where’s the upside in that?
Tiger Woods is a public figure, but that’s not the same as being an elected official. He has asked no one to vote for him. Yes, he’s a serial endorser, but that’s more a matter between him and his sponsors. The corporations who pay him millions must decide if that money will continue to be well spent. (My guess is that they’ll shrug and say, “So what? He’s still Tiger Woods.”)
As hard as this is to believe in the Information Age, there’s such a thing as too much information. Alex Rodriguez held a mass media briefing last spring to address allegations of steroid use, and lo and behold he admitted using steroids. And you know what we in the media did? We ripped him for not telling us the whole truth, for being fuzzy on the details. We in the media can be a little silly sometimes.
And that seems an object lesson: Once you start talking about something seamy, you’re not given credit for facing the issue. You simply throw yourself and your family open to deeper scrutiny. Was the nightclub hostess the first Other Woman? If not, would Mr. Woods please name names, places and pertinent details? Were photos taken? If so, could you provide them? And was it indeed a 7-iron Mrs. Woods apparently brandished on the morning after Thanksgiving, and if so did she choose the right club?
I say again: We are not naive. We have cause to believe something is indeed amiss in the Woods marriage. But that is not our business. Nobody has been arrested. No charges have been filed. As much as we might hunger for the latest dollop of dope from TMZ, we have no inalienable right to satiation.
Tiger Woods is a public figure, yes. But even public figures have private lives. He should shut up — to his credit, that’s what he has done — and tend to his.