Frantz: Tiger’s shame is his, and his alone

A few years ago, Nike filmed a series of commercials featuring children of all sizes, colors, shapes and genders. In the spots, each child would look straight into the camera before confidently declaring, “I’m Tiger Woods.” The images of the children carrying their clubs and taking their swings were interrupted periodically by shots of Tiger himself, demonstrating his perfect form as he drove the ball, and his perfect focus as he studied intently over a putt. The intention was unmistakable, of course:

Every child wanted to be as perfect as Tiger Woods.

And that, more than anything that may have happened within the confines of Tiger’s marriage to Elin Nordegren — or more importantly, outside those confines — is why it was so upsetting to so many when they read Tiger’s admission that he is not, in fact, perfect.

There can be no defense whatsoever for the choices Tiger has made, apparently over the course of years, not months. He has betrayed the trust of his wife and his children, and he likely feels as badly about shaming his late father, whom he idolized, as anything he has ever done. Adultery is indeed a shameful business.

Having unequivocally stated that simple truth, let us all understand and acknowledge another: that this shameful business is his, and his alone.

The media feeding frenzy over this scandal has been as vicious and mean-spirited as it was predictable, and although celebrities generally accept the fish bowls in which they live their lives, there has to come a time when we turn away and allow them to retreat into the privacy of their own little fish-bowl castles to work on their problems in peace. This is one of those times.

Again, without defending Tiger’s actions, I believe it to be impossible for any of us to live the kind of public lifestyle he has lived, constantly justifying to the pedestal upon which he has been placed by fans, sponsors, tour promoters and golf history, without succumbing to personal failure on some level.

Yes, you and I can sit and talk for hours about how we would never do anything so reprehensible, but then, you and I aren’t billionaire athletes with fashion-model looks and every temptation imaginable being waved before our faces, are we? In other words, perhaps a mile walked in Tiger’s soft spikes might provide at least a little perspective.

In truth, I will never look at Tiger Woods the same way again, but simply because I now know that he’s a fallible human being rather than a robotic golfing machine.

Knowing this, I will not demand sordid details, slanderous photos or embarrassing answering machine tapes that are none of my business.I will say a prayer for his family that they find comfort, through togetherness or separation as their feelings dictate.

And then I will watch him roll in an 18-foot winding putt to win at Augusta in April, and as I applaud, I will confirm to myself that Tiger Woods is a golfer, not a marriage or parenting counselor.

And I will be satisfied with that.

Will you?

Sports personality Bob Frantz is a regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at bfrantz@sfexaminer.com.

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