Mushnick focuses on an event 10 years ago on the links, and on the the 3 days after the 1 car accident rather than on the sordid, and prurient. He notes issues of character, real friends, and the challenges of wealth and power.
So what's the cost of good advice that it's too expensive for Tiger Woods? It seems that all he had to do was face the music before it became deafening. Disarm the alarm quickly, honestly, openly: "We're having some marital issues. Things, right now, are not good, but we hope to resolve them, one way or another. I've cooperated with the police in this matter. Thank you."
Chances are that much of what's blowing in would've blown itself out by now. Some of it wouldn't have even caught the wind. "Hey, from the start, he admitted his marriage is on the rocks, didn't he?" Or did Woods & Co. really think that they could keep the lid on a can of half-opened stink? Why, because he's Tiger Woods?
Woods was long ago attached to a climate-controlled, rep-firm-at-work immaculate image. Some recognized it from the start as nauseatingly bogus. It figures that Team Tiger on Saturday came up with a plan to send Woods into a bunker that no sand wedge, even in Tiger Woods' hands, could beat. But hadn't Woods & Co. always gotten its way? This would be just another sweet up and down to save par.
Playing the Phoenix Open in 1999, Woods, starting his third full year as a pro but already identified as extra super special, hit his drive behind a boulder.
His approach to the green was blocked. No problem. A dozen spectators teamed to shove that boulder out of his way. A boulder that took 12 men to move was deemed, as per The Rules of Golf, "a loose impediment" -- it was for Tiger Woods.
On TV, that day, and for weeks to come, the announcers thought that boulder-shoving scene was great. Most media did, or so they claimed. So what that such an unnatural advantage wouldn't have been extended to some anonymous schnook who was trying to make a paycheck in that tournament, everyone loves Tiger!
But that was never the point. A few party poopers -- I was one -- didn't see the sport in what had happened. It set a bad example -- for Woods. He didn't have to deal with a boulder that was in his way; boulders are for the other guys to deal with.
I was hoping that Woods would have called the do-gooders off that rock, that he'd have recognized that such use/misuse of the rules is excessive, that it violated the "spirit of the rules" (failed the smell test).
But Woods passed on this golden opportunity to prove that he's a sportsman, that he'd do as everyone else must, that under the circumstances, he'd just have to do the best he could.
Ten years later, that boulder is back. This time, though, he had to deal with it, do the best he could. Unaccustomed to such circumstances, he didn't deal with them very well.
But when you grow accustomed to having it your way, every time, all the time, and you're surrounded by those who either serve that end or established it and maintain it, good advice isn't allowed past the gatehouse.
I've often wondered whether Donald Trump, for all his dough, has a real-deal best friend, the kind who can tell him when he's acting like a jerk and remain his best friend. Or does he surround himself with acolytes he confuses as friends, backslappers who tell him what he wants to hear -- or risk excommunication? I suspect it's the latter.
And I suspect that began to become Woods' reality, too. Woods' "pals" allowed him to think that he could beat this because he's Tiger Woods. A real friend wouldn't have allowed him to think such a foolish thing.