No fun for Mrs Woods, but plenty for the rest of us


With the flooding, national bankruptcy and clerical child abuse, it took a philandering golfer to get us smiling

I CAN’T help feeling that Tiger Woods has done us all a favour. What with the flooding, the national bankruptcy and the clerical child abuse you would have thought that we would never smile again; but then along comes Tiger, pursued by the three cocktail waitresses (so far), and the finest minds in journalism.

What larks.

Tiger referred to his “transgressions” but actually it’s a bit difficult to get worked up about sexual behaviour that involves adults, all four of whom seem to have been volunteers.

Tiger’s sins, as some newspapers like to call them, seem pretty minor in the light of what we’ve been looking at recently. Of course it is no fun for Mrs Woods, who is reportedly renegotiating the pre-nuptial agreement so that she can get about $300 million (€200 million) of her husband’s fortune without having to spend 10 years in the marriage first, as was allegedly agreed in the original document. But it is fantastic fun for the rest of us.

It is the money – Tiger’s staggering wealth – that makes the whole thing interesting, because Tiger certainly ain’t interesting, unless you’re a golfer. It is difficult for the rest of us to care whether Tiger is going to beat Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 victories in the four major golf tournaments. Nicklaus did that between 1962 and 1986. Woods has already won 14, and he is only 33 years old.

He had Nicklaus’s record pinned on the wall of his bedroom when he was a boy. Tiger was bred to be a golf machine. His father Earl made him the perfect golfer, and his management have worked hard to keep him aloof, even from other players, and to present him as the perfect guy.

Those of us who are not golf fans have only learned all this in the past seven days. It’s like Gino winning I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here: you don’t give a damn until you are forcibly introduced to the phenomenon that other people love. Most of us have never believed that he was the perfect guy and so we have not been disappointed in him, or even really diverted by all those headlines which broke the terrible news: “Tiger Only Human Shock.”

Now we are listening to insinuations about Tiger’s sexual prowess – on RTÉ! – when we’re not even 100 per cent sure what a cocktail waitress is, although we think we have a vague idea.

A cocktail waitress certainly has enough money for plastic surgery, and enough exposure to male celebrities to regularly make the news. Wasn’t George Clooney involved with a cocktail waitress? How many cocktail waitresses can there be in America? Tiger certainly meets an awful lot of nightclub employees, whether they are waitresses like Jaimee, club promoters like Kalika or hostesses like Rachel.

For the non-fan it is the detail of the whole Tiger Woods shenanigans that is so cheering: Tiger telling one of the girls that he and she would always be together in a special, secret way. “Oh God,” said a friend who has been a bit depressed recently. “I laughed till I cried.”

Or the fact that Jaimee Grubbs once featured on a television programme called Tools Academy.

And the fact that she is called Jaimee Grubbs – this scandal is a world-beater on names alone.

Michael Harris, editor of Golf Monthly, may feel that he has “less respect for him” but on the whole golf fans are a phlegmatic lot. They’re not the ones who are going to stop buying Gillette razor blades, promoted by Tiger, Thierry Henry and Roger Federer. In fact, it is hard to say who exactly is going to boycott Gillette on the basis of Tiger being a twit.

Marketing people are said to be particularly worried about the reaction of lady golf fans, but lady golf fans are made of pretty stern stuff.

In a world where the public is consistently lied to and taken advantage of – or at least in which we suspect we are being lied to and taken advantage of – a whole public relations catastrophe is great sport.

You would want to be a very highly evolved human being not to find it a wonderful thing to see a man who has earned $1 billion in a whole heap of trouble at home. His wife and his mother don’t get on, apparently, and all in all, for a billionaire sports hero Tiger doesn’t seem to have been having the best of times, apart from having sex with a lot of pretty girls, poor fellow. So we are allowed a little excusable glee – all right, glee on a global scale.

As for Tiger’s birdies, as we are compelled to call them, Rachel Uchitel has led the way by hiring her own celebrity lawyer. This is the way forward for pretty girls caught up in celebrity scandal. They are not going to be content to sell their stories any more – they can make more money by selling their silence, and their rich lovers will be only too happy to pay for it.

It is a rare scandal in which everybody wins, but this just might be one of them.

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