Cathal Dervan: It’s Tiger time all the time




Go on, admit it -- we’ll all be glued to the television screen every day between now and Sunday evening as the world goes on Tiger Watch on the famous golfing fields of Augusta, Georgia.

It won’t matter if your television is 3-D, high definition, plasma, LCD or plain old monochrome, you’ll still take a peek around Amen Corner later this week.

In fact, I doubt there’s a human being out there who won’t be aware of the Masters by the time they hand over the famous green jacket in that little log cabin after 72 holes of golf this weekend.

You don’t even have to know anything about golf to know that Tiger Woods has been the most talked about human being on planet Earth for the last four months.

Ever since his wife chased him out of the house with one of his golf clubs in her hand back in November -- assuming she did chase him -- the Cheating Tiger story has dominated the global headlines.

We’ve had televised confessions, televised interviews and just this week a major televised press conference.

We’ve had questions galore, answers galore and still the world wants more.

That’s the way we live today. Tiger is a global brand, and those who inhabit the globe feel they own a part of him, rightly or wrongly.

That feeling was, of course, perpetrated by Tiger himself and those around him in golf’s equivalent of popular music’s Jackson family.

For some 15 years before his fall from grace, Tiger Woods was built up as the world’s super cool hero, the all-conquering sportsman who was cleaner than clean.

Until that fateful night last November he never put a foot wrong. He was sport’s young Donny Osmond, golf’s young Michael Jackson, America’s Virgin Mary.

Tiger was a devoted son, a proud father, a loyal husband. He was adored by mothers, idolized by sons, praised by his loyal fans.

He was the man. And he was the man to be.

Or so we thought until the day the bubble burst in Florida and it transpired that Tiger is actually as human and as fallible as the rest of us.

He has his vices -- more of them and more frequently than most people who have ever been admitted to rehab.

He has his secrets -- more of them than most people will ever carry to the grave.

And he has his faults. Just like you and me and every other ordinary man or woman in the street.

What’s still different with Tiger is the way the public perceives him and expects to own him.

That sense of right to invade Tiger’s privacy will only have heightened in the days and weeks since he crashed his car into a fire hydrant outside his house in Florida.

Like the Premier League footballers who can’t stop scoring away from home, Tiger has only brought more attention on himself with his recent and very public misdemeanours. He will be grateful for the chance to play golf again in a competitive and controlled environment this week.

If any golf competition is out of reach of the normal Joe Soaps it is the Masters at Augusta, one of the most exclusive of all the courses in the world.

Some of those who line the fairways in Georgia will doubtless be “have a go” heroes happy to throw their abuse in Tiger’s direction, but most will be genteel folk happy to have made their way down Magnolia Lane.

This week will only give Tiger a hint at what life in the real world is going to be like after his sordid life away from golf hit the headlines, and he may not like it.

He will have to take it. Having built himself up to be knocked down, as he did for all those years, Tiger is going to have to accept whatever comes his way in the coming months and years.

It won’t be pretty. Some golf fans will welcome him back with open arms, but others will rejoice in the fact that he is human and makes mistakes like everyone else, and they will look to torture him.

How Tiger responds is going to make for fascinating television. Not just this week in Augusta but for many more weeks to come, and maybe even for the rest of his lifetime.

That’s what happens when you get it spectacularly wrong living in the public eye as Tiger has done for most of his life.

He may be sorry and he may be receiving treatment -- for what he still hasn’t told us -- but Tiger Woods will be back in the spotlight for the rest of this week.

The sponsors who stood by him and the television companies across the globe will be grateful for his return.

Love him or loathe him, golf will be a more popular place for Tiger’s return.

And we’ll all want a piece of him by Sunday night -- maybe even the ladies who got him into all this trouble in the first place!

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