As we get closer and closer to the highly anticipated April 8 return of Tiger Woods to golf, the speculation of how smooth it will be continues to grow.
The start of the Masters will mark the end of his leave of absence from golf, a period of time that lasted nearly four months. If he has taken his mistakes and turned them into motivation on the golf course, then the Tiger Woods of old will make a reappearance.
Ever since November when this scandal broke, people have displayed emotions of shock, disappointment and anger over Woods’ actions. With the exception of feelings of shock, all of these are quite understandable. But no one should be surprised by Tiger Woods’ actions. Just because he is one of the world’s top athletes does not mean he is a good person. Just because people thought he had a nice smile during Gatorade or Gillette commercials does not mean he is a good person.
The public had a severe case of the Kobe Bryant syndrome when it comes to Woods. Before the star Lakers guard was accused of sexual assault in 2003, the public assumed that he was as good of a person as he was a basketball player. No one considered the fact that the face of the NBA after Michael Jordan’s retirement could be an adulterer or worse. Similar to Woods, people saw Bryant in commercials supporting the Ronald McDonald House of Charities and used that as the basis for their inflated perception of him.
Regardless of how many women Woods has been with, the public will forgive and forget the mistakes he has made in the past — as long as he wins. Once again parallels can be drawn between Bryant and Woods. After Bryant was acquitted, he continued to be a top performer in the NBA. Seven years after the allegations were made, few people remember Bryant’s admitted adultery, alleged sexual assault or even the $4 million ring he gave to his wife as an apology for his unfaithfulness.
The same will be true for Woods. If he returns to the PGA Tour and dominates the competition once again, people will soon forget his “transgressions.” Woods’ name will once again conjure images of him earning the Green Jacket for winning the Masters or his patented fist pump.
People can argue about what this says about our society, but in the end there is one clear truth: winning cures everything.