How can Woods leave us any more shocked?
Tiger’s memoir – his ‘definitive story’ – sounds like a revenge mission, writes James Corrigan
Tiger Woods intends to put the record straight and the publishers of his yet-to-be-written memoirs insist that “the result is going to be extraordinary”.
Of course, if this year in golf has told us anything other than the fact Sergio Garcia remains a bit of an idiot, it is that we should never write off the man in the red shirt.
Yet if Woods actually manages to force open our eyes yet wider, then we should class it above his resurrection at the Masters in April.
In short, surprising the world with a revelation about his life and career, would be Woods’s ultimate assault on the front pages. Why? Because we know everything, or at least we think we do. What more can the most reported sports star in existence possibly tell us?
An entire library of books over the years has laid bare the details of that sex scandal, charted his desperate descent into a dependency on prescription medicines, and caused our jaws to hit the floor with revelations such as he was on the brink of quitting in his pomp to join the military.
Former coaches, former caddies, former doctors, former friends, former rivals, former girlfriends and so many former mistresses have filled in the blanks of that deeply flawed icon. So how is he going to make us any more shocked in Back?
By telling us Hank Haney erred in The Big Miss and, in fact, Tiger was not considering retiring from golf to join the Navy Seals, but instead to sign up with One Direction? That writer Robert Lusetich was incorrect in Unplayable in stating Woods’s wife Elin chased him with a golf club before he crashed into that fire hydrant, when she was in fact wielding an AK47? That, no, there were not 14 mistresses as almost every chronicler claimed, but actually 365 and 366 in leap years?
Except this course of extreme self-exposure is not what was suggested in Tuesday’s press release announcing the Harper Collins deal. Rather it sounded like Woods on one of his paranoid revenge missions. “I’ve been in the spotlight for a long time and, because of that, there have been books and articles and TV shows about me, most filled with errors, speculative and wrong,” he said. “This book is my definitive story.”
So what exactly do you crave to digest? Surely nothing more about those extra-maritals and that degradation which featured on the front page of the New York Post for 20 days in succession? Well, how about letting us in on the thinking of employing a renowned sports doctor since convicted for importing unapproved drugs? Are we truly anticipating anything other than a denial on that score? Indeed, on mostly all scores, apart from those of which he has already issued humbly-crafted mea culpas?
There may well be the odd juicy comment concerning his rivals, but when it comes to his game, all Woods can do is to provide an insight into his motivations and inspirations, into what drove him to break down the barriers in such historic style.
However, he has already done this, citing the huge influence of Earl Woods and the demands and expectations placed upon him by a parent who predicted “he will be bigger than Gandhi”.
Might Tiger go further and view this zealous mentorship through a negative prism? As a son, why should he do that publicly and as a father, why should he disclose the extent of his addiction troubles, unless he feels the need to help other sufferers who could take hope from his example? Now, there would be an admirable project.
But if not, why is he doing this? For more money? To mark his wondrous comeback at Augusta by cannily publishing a sure-fire winner in the blaze of publicity that will greet the run-up to next year’s Masters? To reclaim the narrative, if not rewrite it, and pillory those who have dared use his name, fame and infamy to release their own accounts?
Alas, a typically bland PR job would only re-open the honeypot. Still, those royalties certainly would be “extraordinary”.
An entire library has laid bare the details of that sex scandal
Champion: Tiger Woods celebrates after ending an 11-year major title drought by winning the Masters in April