Tiger has many problems ahead

Published 9:33 am Thursday, December 17, 2009

Last week I described the hoopla surrounding Tiger Woods as a debacle. If the situation last week could best be described as a debacle, the current state of affairs will require a thesaurus to describe. Catastrophe, fiasco, bombshell, disaster or tragedy might be words better suited to characterize the ongoing circumstances.

The reported mistress count has soared above a dozen in the past few weeks and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Aside from the marital problems this creates for Tiger it also generates all kinds of new issues for the world’s most recognizable athlete.

For example, if we give Tiger the benefit of the doubt and assume that only a few of the women who have come forward and claimed an affair with him are telling the truth, he still can’t refute the allegations of the women that are lying.

Should he decide to stand in front of the cameras and accuse any of these women of lying, the first question from a reporter with half a brain would regard the credibility and accuracy of the allegations from the other alleged affairs. Even if he decides to rebut one or two of the claims in a press statement, the assumption would be that the other accusations are indeed true.

The other public image challenge Tiger will face from these most recent allegations fall in the difference between a man who made a mistake and a cheater. Tiger, the man, may have difficulty getting his wife to forgive his transgressions; however, Tiger, the persona and marketing superhero, could easily have overcome what would surely have been spun as a onetime mistake.

Neither Tiger the man nor Tiger the name brand will easily receive forgiveness from the public for being a cheater. Cheat once and while you may be scum for life to some people, others will chalk it up to you simply being human and stupid. Cheat many times and it displays a pattern of behavior and defines you not as a person who cheated, but a cheater. People don’t like cheaters and they certainly don’t buy Tag Heuer watches and Buick SUVs from them.

As if the alleged affairs and loss of sponsorship wasn’t enough, Tiger may have bigger troubles coming down the chute. After his knee surgery in 2007, Tiger, it appears, enlisted the aid of Dr. Anthony Galea. The Canadian doctor has worked with numerous athletes using a self-developed blood-spinning technique, creating platelet-rich plasma therapy to aid in and increase the speed of post-surgery recovery.

While all of this sounds innocent enough, it seems that Dr. Anthony Galea is an avid supporter and user of Human growth hormones (HGH) and Actovegin, a drug extracted from calf’s blood. Both are considered performance enhancing drugs and neither are legal in the United States without a prescription. Dr. Galea was supposedly caught trying to sneak both across the US-Canadian border and was arrested few months ago.

While there is no evidence that Tiger Woods knowingly or unknowingly used performance enhancing drugs, his involvement with such a character as Galea does nothing but create speculation and increase the controversy surrounding him and attacking his marketability (aka his main source of income).

It’s enough to almost make you feel sorry for him. The key word being almost.

Tiger wasn’t merely put on a pedestal so much as he jumped and climbed his way on top of one. Now we are surrounded by images and news of his fall from his lofty seat. Fortunately he has a few hundred million dollars with which to cushion the blow. Unfortunately, it won’t buy him back the respect of the American people. That he may never get back.

David Friedman is a long-time contributor to the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald. A Bertie High School

graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at