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Catching Tiger by the tail

In this previous article, I wrote about Steve Phillips and the wrong way to handle large amounts of time spent away from your loved one, which those of us in long-distance relationships can identify with. Well, in the past two weeks another person has been exposed as having no idea how to handle loneliness and insecurity, and it’s the most famous athlete in the world: Golfer Tiger Woods. Here’s a Tiger timeline:

• The weekend before Thanksgiving, the National Enquirer tabloid reported that Tiger was having an affair with a New York woman, Rachel Uchitel, who was seen in Australia the same time that Tiger was competing in a golf tournament there.
• Late Thanksgiving night/early the next morning, Tiger is involved in a one-car accident at 2:30A leaving his Windemere, FL estate and is hospitalized with facial injuries. Reports say that his wife, Elin Nordegren, tried to rescue him by smashing the back window of his Escalade with, ironically, a golf club. Tiger rejects local police attempts to interview him about the accident for three straight days. But he posts on his website that the accident was “my fault” and that “I’m human and I’m not perfect,” while artfully dodging any direct reference to infidelity rumors.
• Uchitel met with noted feminist lawyer Gloria Allred in California early last week while informally denying an affair with Woods. Tiger squashed the heightened expectations for what his face may look like and what comments he would make at the Chevron World Challenge golf tournament by announcing that he wouldn’t play, citing injuries from the accident.
• On Tuesday, December 1, reported that Las Vegas cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs was giving her story about a 31-month affair with Tiger to Us Weekly, and was backing it up with voice and text messages Tiger sent to her over that time. Us Weekly has since released a voice mail that Grubbs claims is Tiger asking her to remove her name from her outgoing message because his wife may be going through his cell phone and calling his contacts.
• Tiger responded on December 2 with a message again on his web site admitting “transgressions” and chastising the “tabloid scrutiny” he has received. He actually spends several paragraphs proclaiming that his situation should be private and kept between him and his family before then stating “I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves,” contradicting his pleas to keep his personal life private.
• Uchitel was rumored to change her story on December 3 and hold a press conference with Allred saying that she actually was having an affair with Tiger and that texting between her and Tiger on Thanksgiving night prompted Tiger’s wife Elin to snap and attack Tiger with the golf club, leading to Tiger’s accident. The press conference was canceled. TMZ claims it’s because Tiger communicated with Uchitel and she lost the desire to get wrapped up in the saga any further.
• Various reports have surfaced saying that Elin is negotiating terms to swing her and Tiger’s prenuptial agreement more in her favor financially in exchange for her silence and keeping the marriage intact. Meanwhile, this weekend as many as four more women are either telling stories about affairs with Tiger or are said to be lawyering up in preparation for spilling stories about Tiger sleeping with them.

The clamor for all Tiger, all the time this week seemed to come from a place of shock and awe among most people. They couldn’t believe that Tiger Woods, the picture of confidence and steady calm, would have such a reckless private life. But as I said about Steve Phillips, it doesn’t matter what kind of image you project. If you don’t feel secure about yourself internally, your appetite for anything to fill that emptiness—whether it’s food, drugs, alcohol, women, or anything else—can easily spiral out of control. For those of us in long distance relationships, and really for all of us, we can take a lesson away from the Tiger Woods soap opera: Be honest with yourself and who you are first, because if you lie to yourself, it stands to reason that you have no issues about lying to anyone who stands in the way of your selfishness and desperation.