Tiger Woods: A drive we’ll never forget

Tiger Woods SUV accident has raised questions about the world's top golfer. Photo: Whitehouse.gov

So, the world’s greatest golfer is human.

Tiger Woods, the man who routinely drives a golf ball more than 300 yards, can’t drive his Cadillac Escalade 30 yards.  At least he couldn’t at 2:25 a.m. Friday  without hitting a fire hydrant and his neighbor’s tree.

How long will it be before a late night show host uses that line?  For the record, you read it here first.

The crash sent Woods to the hospital. His lips were cut, he had blood in his mouth; his wife smashed a rear window with a golf club to get him out; he briefly lost consciousness.

As many reporters following the story have since noted:

“There are also plenty of questions, among them: Where was he going at 2:25 a.m. Friday? Why was there no word from the Woods’ camp for nearly 13 hours after the accident? Police hope Woods can answer some of them Saturday. Two troopers tried to talk to the world’s No. 1 golfer Friday evening, but his wife said he was sleeping and they agreed to come back Saturday.”

The accident followed a National Enquirer story claiming Woods had been seeing a New York night club hostess, and that they recently were together in Melbourne, where Woods competed in the Australian Masters.

The woman, Rachel Uchitel, denied having an affair with Woods when contacted by the AP.    “The story stands for itself,” National Enquirer executive editor Barry Levine told the AP on Saturday.

Shhhh! It’s tough to expect privacy when your success is based on performance, image and marketing.  Note that Woods, the first athlete with career earnings to top $1-billion,   has earned more from his commercial endorsements, cars, razor blades,  Nike golf products,  Gatorade, Upper Deck, etc., than his golf championships.

This could be the best or worst thing to happen to Woods. If Tiger’s legion of fans, and I happen to be one, believe he’s deceptive in his explanation of this episode, his image will suffer.

If Tiger fans believe he’s honest, even should he admit fault, Wood’s image could remain relatively untarnished.  It might even improve if Woods, for a moment, becomes human.  America loves its sports legends.  Sometimes, America loves them more when we see them pulling their pants on one leg at a time.

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About Bernard McCoy

My views are my own and not a reflection of my employer. I'm an associate professor of Journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I've also been a working journalist for the past 29 years. I have covered news stories in war zones, reported on human and natural disasters, presidential conventions, a presidential inauguration and the September 11th, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. My career experiences include work as an award-winning documentary producer, television news reporter, photographer, producer, and anchor. I worked at WIBW-TV, Topeka, KS., KCTV, Kansas City, MO, WKBD-TV, Detroit, MI., WILX-TV, Lansing, MI. and WBNS-TV, Columbus, OH. I have also worked as a contributing reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, Associated Press, CBS, CNN, the Ohio News Network and lecture at the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communications. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in telecommunications management from Michigan State University.
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