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Photo courtesy of Keith Allison

Tiger Woods may have cheated on his wife. So now what?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week or so, you’ve undoubtedly heard that Tiger Woods was in a car accident early Friday morning, November 27, that left him a bit cut up and put his reputation as a model husband on the line.

Though he hasn’t come right out and admitted to having an affair, there were rumors circulating a few days prior to the accident that Woods was cheating on his wife, Elin Nordegren, a former model.

There is speculation that Woods and his wife were arguing shortly before the accident, which is why he left his Florida mansion in such a hurry. After being released from the hospital, Woods issued a statement on his website that said:

I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family.

He goes on to say:

I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology.

Is this a confession of committing adultery?

Perhaps, more importantly, why do we care?

Woods’ professional bio is next to perfect: winner of 93 tournaments, 71 of which were on the PGA tour; first ever to hold all four professional major golf championships at the same time (the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship); career victories leader among active players on the PGA tour; and career money list leader.

Although some people say that Woods owes us no explanation for anything he does unless it’s related to golf, we, the public, love to get the down and dirty details on celebrities’ lives, and athletes are no exception. Woods, in particular, does an excellent job at keeping his private life in the shadows, and with a nearly spotless record on the golf course, maybe we’re even more drawn to the story because he does carry such a perfect persona.

If Woods cheated on his wife, he’s certainly not the first athlete to do so.

If Woods cheated on his wife, he’s certainly not the first athlete to do so. Kobe Bryant is notorious for his straying ways and Alex Rodriguez’s marriage was destroyed by “extramarital affairs and other marital misconduct.” Roger Clemens, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson have also all been tied to alleged affairs.

So it would appear Woods is just another in a string of many male athletes who have been lured beyond the confines of their marriages. But what does this mean for his career? On, some of the biggest names in sports commentary offered up their opinions on how the Woods scandal will play out on the course. For the most part, these people think all eyes will be on Woods during the next few tournaments, and that ratings could potentially soar. Endorsements from sponsors could waver and drop by the wayside, depending on how quickly this scandal passes.

But the big question is: Will Woods continue to play golf like the machine he is? And will his hardcore golf fans stick by his side?

Only time will tell.

Community Connection:

Are you a Tiger Woods fan? Does the current scandal affect the way you feel about him as an athlete?

World Events


About The Author

JoAnna Haugen

JoAnna Haugen is a freelance writer, former Peace Corps volunteer, globetrotter planning her next great adventure. Journey with her on her travel blog and follow her on Twitter.

  • Leigh

    Why do we care? I wonder the same thing all the time. Whenever a politician or sports figure is caught cheating there’s a whole production around an apology, but the reality is, few people in this world find fame in how honest they are with their spouses.

    Not saying infidelity is all great and wonderful, but it has nothing to do with why we follow any of these people. More likely, we enjoy the gossip.

    • david miller

      we care about these things because it reminds us we’re all human.

  • Christine Garvin

    I think Tiger is the ultimate example of what we like to do as a culture – build a man up to perfection, and at the first sign on non-perfection, rip him to shreds. This is one of the biggest ones in a while, partly because of his fantastically good guy image.

    I do have to say that normally, I’d think, “Yeah, and so what?” But with Tiger, of course golf is the gateway, but I do think a good chunk of the money he’s made is based off of the good-guy image. So in essence, he knew what he was stepping into. Not to say anything about the fact that’s he’s human, we all have transgressions of some sort, and fame brings a lot of things that most of us will never understand. Yet I can’t help but feel he made a lot of money off of being somewhat fraudulent.

    Like getting your freak on? Fine, don’t get married, or be in an open relationship.

    I do feel really bad for his wife.

    • Julie

      Christine- Totally agree with you.

  • N. Chrystine Olson

    I WAS under a rock (actually on top of a mountain) and came down to the media frenzy that is Tiger’s now ever growing list of mistresses this weekend.

    I’m a firm believer that homo sapiens are not wired to be monogamous. My apologies to those of you happily married and faithful, but ya’ll are the exception. The real story would be to find a person with the fame, power, talent and looks of a Tiger, Kobe or A-Rod who isn’t chasing something on the side.

  • soultravlers3

    “Are you a Tiger Woods fan? Does the current scandal affect the way you feel about him as an athlete?”

    We were huge fans, but not any more, so we will not watch him or support any of his sponsors from this point on. This stupid behavior undoes all of the good that he has ever done & will forever be his legacy by showing his true colors. ( why marry, have kids and promote yourself as a moral family man, if you really want to be a pimpish playboy?)

    As Gary Van Sickle, Senior Writer from Sports Illustrated said,

    “No matter how many more major titles he wins or how many records he breaks, we will never look at Tiger Woods in quite the same way after this year. ”

    This disaster was 100% of his own making and there are 2 beautiful, innocent children who now must live forever with this legacy of “Cheater Woods” as their father… not to mention the physical and emotional harm done to his wife (promiscuous sex without protection in this day of aids & STD’s).

    The big hypocrisy here is that Tiger sold himself not just as a golfer, but had a very carefully crafted and deliberate public image as a “good guy”. He obviously was more sorry about getting caught than for his actions ( as he first got caught in 2007 by the National Inquirer but made a deal to keep it quiet).

    Tiger got some of his untold wealth as Dan Wetzel wisely reports:

    “from portraying himself as a model of clean-cut morality. Perfect shirt. Perfect smile. Perfect wife. Perfect life.

    He was the family man, the teacher, the leader, the inspirer. “I am Tiger Woods,” children across the world repeated in one advertisement. He coveted the opportunity to be everyone’s role model, to speak to young people. He wasn’t Charles Barkley, smartly arguing against allowing kids to look up to him. He wasn’t Derek Jeter, happily living the bachelor life with every Hollywood starlet he could find. The public applauds those guys.

    Tiger took every bit of the money his image delivered. And with great rewards come great responsibility. That’s the deal. You can’t have one without the other.
    You can’t release glowing pictures of your family and think the public isn’t going to seek information when it comes crumbling down. ”

    When you set yourself up as a role model for kids, when you have kids…then more is expected of you.

    As Robert Lusetich said:

    “Seriously, Tiger … what were you thinking? You held the world in the palm of your hand…I know you’ve probably felt bulletproof for a long time — and maybe with good reason given everything you touch has a habit of turning to gold — but I can’t get over just how arrogantly indiscriminate you were and how bad your judgment’s been.

    Your trust is notoriously hard to earn — Phil Mickelson’s still trying — but yet somehow you thought this Vegas cocktail waitress you met when she was 21 and who appeared in something called “Tool Academy” — dude, “Tool Academy”! — was not going to sell you out?

    You’re a hero to a lot of people and you’ve let them down, bud.

    Even worse, you’ve given ammunition to those who already hate you. Some of them are nothing more than bigots, but now they will be able to mask their true motivations by throwing this in your face.”

    His handlers were paying for these flights and hotel rooms etc, why wasn’t anyone doing anything to stop this inevitable train wreck from happening???

    Just because others have been caught in the past, doesn’t make it right. I will never look at Woody Allen or Bill Clinton in the same way either.

    There are some honorable famous married men who do walk their talk. Let’s support them!

    I like what golfer Jesper Parnevik said,

    “We probably thought he was a better guy than he is.” “It’s a private thing of course,” he said. “But when you are the guy he is, the world’s best athlete, you should think more before you do stuff … And maybe not just do it, like Nike says.”

    I hope the world does not slough off or worse reward this bad behavior of Chetah Woods.

  • Candice Walsh

    Um. I think I’ll start hating on him when he does something really horrific, i.e. cheats on the golf course.

    Apparently there’s been a sex tape uncovered though. Shocker!

  • Jonny

    I really couldn’t care less whether Tiger cheated on his wife or not. I like him because he is an amazing golfer, makes the sport looks effortless and easy, and got to the top with untiring dedication and unwavering devotion to his craft. He is the best golfer in the world because he is (arguably) the hardest working golfer in the world. Whether he puts that same effort into his marriage does not concern me. I do not know Tiger Woods personally, and never claimed to. Until he stars in his own parenting or relationship TV show, I’m not going to judge him on his personal decisions.

    If you bought into the advertising and the hype surrounding Tiger’s personal or family image, I think you owe yourself an apology. Did you buy a Gillette razor on the basis that Tiger was a good husband?

    No man or woman is perfect. It’s that simple. Take him for what he is – a great golfer. Until, of course, he starts his inevitable physical decline. Then you can throw your support behind the next up-and-comer and feel better about the whole thing.

  • neha

    Tiger Woods was such a great role model. Now, he is a cliche.

  • Adam Roy

    I sometimes wonder if people don´t confuse fame with morality. Just because someone is well-known and a role model for their athletic prowess doesn´t necessarily mean that they´re an especially ethical person.

    • neha

      Adam, you are right, a great sportsman doesn’t have to be the most ethical person around, but in the case of Tiger Woods, his image was built on a good guy platform. It was something he created and promoted. So in this case, it is a valid point.

  • Lynn

    People who cheat on their significant others are the SCUM of the earth. Get a divorce. Think of all the diseases he has probably passed on to his wife and possibly their child.
    I’m not thrilled that he’s raping our land here in North Carolina so he can spray toxins and gut our mountains for ANOTHER FLIPPING GOLF COURSE.

  • Elizabeth Z.

    I agree with Neha. Golf is a holistic sport, one that stands on more than athletic skill and dedication but on intellectualism and a rich tradition of honor as well. Soultravlers3 talked of the many advertisements that put children on the driving range, trying to build themselves into the character Tiger had developed – as a role model. He gave golf a second chance by re-vamping it, if you will, and became the billboard for potential in attracting new, younger generations to the sport.

    Whether humans are truly monogamous or it’s any concern of the masses, or it’s just our society’s impossible celebrity standards, he chose a profession that required a higher standard of behavior in order to represent his sport’s ideal. Besides insulting his wife and damaging his kids’ trust in relationships in innumerable ways, he behaved unprofessionally and hypocritically based upon the values he’s espoused through his career. I feel sorrow for he and his family; whether it’ll affect his game? No idear. But as an avid golf follower, I’d put money on him losing a great many fans, for one reason more than any – he insulted the game.

  • Mark

    i want some of that stuff that Tigers on…

    Tiagra! Ooooorder noow!

  • Simone Gorrindo

    “If Woods cheated on his wife, he’s certainly not the first athlete to do so. Kobe Bryant is notorious for his straying ways and Alex Rodriguez’s marriage was destroyed by “extramarital affairs and other marital misconduct.” Roger Clemens, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson have also all been tied to alleged affairs.”

    My very first thought when this happened. Sports figures not only cheat on their wives, but get violent with women, then get suspended, and then are back in the game. The are not entirely ruined.

    But we expected something else of Tiger. It’s a good guy thing, but I think it’s also a class thing. We expect our basketball, football and baseball players to be a little bit more rough and tumble. We expect our golfers to be straight laced and well-behaved. Tiger Woods filled that role and more — he was everything we wanted him to be. A perfect image for us to project onto. And, no doubt, that’s an image he and his PR reps molded. I’ve read that he was told early in his career to keep his mouth shut because he has a penchant for letting foul language slip out of his mouth. But who knows…

    I think there’s the image and the man, and the two are most likely starkly contrasting in Tiger’s case. And eventually the image falls apart.

  • Ben Griffiths

    Tiger Woods is a very good golfer but his reputation as a cheating husband made him a bad character.”`,

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