I follow ‘golfgossip’ on Twitter, so I heard about Tiger Woods’ car accident almost the moment it happened. The first tweet simply described his condition as ‘serious.’
Then the tweets really hit the fan.
Next thing you know, wife Elin is standing over Tiger’s semi-conscious body holding a golf club. Then the story is they were arguing, Elin chasing his car down the driveway. The next tweet supplied the motive — a rumored affair between Tiger and a nightclub hostess.
Thanks to the Internet, Tiger’s front yard fender bender has grown like gangbusters. But in typical fashion, the Tiger camp has maintained its silence, posting only a short statement on tigerwoods.com Sunday afternoon. In it, Tiger maintains he is ‘the only person responsible for the crash’ and that ‘the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.’ (Notice he didn’t say ‘untrue’…just ‘irresponsible.’)
The situation reminds me so much of the movie “The American President,” starring Michael Douglas and Annette Bening.
In this Aaron Sorkin classic, President Andrew Shepherd, a widower, gets romantically involved with Sidney Ellen Wade, a lobbyist. The press — and Shepherd’s Republican opponent for re-election — make a big issue of the relationship. But Shepherd stubbornly refuses to comment, and his approval rating spirals downward.
Only when the President openly confronts the lies and innuendo in the press does he win back the confidence of the American voting public…and the love of Sidney Ellen Wade. [I probably should have said SPOILER ALERT, but if you haven't seen this 1995 movie yet, it's kinda your own fault.]
Personally, I think Tiger Woods could learn something by popping “The American President” into the ol’ DVD player.
The night of the accident may not be the proudest in his career or personal life, but saying ‘no comment’ won’t stop the spread of hurtful rumors that have already begun. When you’re a sports legend like Tiger Woods, there will always be people eager to jump on any opportunity to knock you down.
So say something, Tiger. Hiding from the police and the press does not hold up to your past behavior or your future success.