Why Tiger shouldn't worry

I just read that a porn star told Inside Edition that Tiger Woods impregnated her twice, both times while his wife was pregnant.  These past few months have been rough for the embattled golf great, as one alleged mistress after another has come forward while he, in turn, has issued a public mea culpa, taken an indefinite leave from the game and entered sex rehab.  At this point, things can’t get much worse for Woods, unless some bodies surface in New Jersey tied to him or it comes out that he ran a dog-fighting operation.

Some may be wondering if Woods will ever regain his mantle, since many of his advertising sponsors have dumped him.  I’ll say the same thing that I’ve been saying since this scandal first broke in late November: Long term, I don’t think Tiger has anything to worry about.

We live in a society that’s astonishingly forgiving to people with supreme levels of talent.  Mike Tyson was allowed to box again after serving a rape sentence, Kobe Bryant reached the pinnacle of his career after beating sex assault charges of his own and two separate accusations of child molestation, plus a drug-related death and some genuinely freaky plastic surgery couldn’t keep Michael Jackson from having a number-one movie this past fall.  If a lost album of Jackson singles is ever found, it’ll go platinum.

If Tiger Woods wasn’t Tiger Woods, I think he’d have more to worry about.  But crazy as it may sound, I think all Woods needs to do, when he inevitably plays again, is smile, nod and win another major.  Since he’s won each of the top four tournaments at least three times and just turned 34 in December, this shouldn’t be impossible.  And when Woods wins big again, Sports Illustrated will do a cover story on him with a somber shot, proclaiming his long journey back to the top.  It’s cliche but mark my words.  It may take time, but Woods will wind up better professionally than he was before.  If anything, this whole experience will make him more focused.

That says nothing of what will happen with Tiger’s marriage.  As opposed to my certainty about his career, it seems like his marriage could go either way, and that’s unfortunate.  I feel for his wife and children.

This sort of thing happens occasionally in baseball, and in the long run, it never seems to be that big of a deal.  Wade Boggs and Steve Garvey weathered mistress-related scandals of their own in the 1980s that have all but been forgotten and have not affected their Hall of Fame bids.  Boggs was inducted into Cooperstown in 2005 and while Garvey exhausted his eligibility with the writers in 2007, following his 15th appearance on the ballot, I suspect the Veterans Committee will eventually honor him.  Garvey seems like he was a good enough first baseman, and unless the player in question is Pete Rose or one of the Black Sox, talent is the greatest determining factor for whether a player gets into Cooperstown.

Granted, Alex Rodriguez looked like a heel a couple years ago when it came out he’d been cheating on his wife, but then, he never really looked like a saint.  Come to think of it, why didn’t he have to go to sex rehab?

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