When I was watching SportsCenter last night the Tiger Wood's segment of the show had a different feel to it than in years past. It wasn't that Tiger Woods won a tournament. He's only 5 wins shy of breaking the all time record held by Sam Snead. It's not that he won the Bay Hill Invitational. He's won that tournament 8 times (more than any golfer has won a single event). It was the way the media portrayed him after the victory.
Arnold Palmer embraced him like a long lost son. Scott Van Pelt gushd over every birdie and par put. The storyline that accompanied the highlights depicted Tiger Woods as a mythical superhero with magical clubs. There was no mention of overnight sensation Rory McElroy and everyone declared Tiger Woods the favorite to win the Masters in two weeks. Why the sudden change?
It's the Lindsey Vonn factor. People are intrigued by the power couple/super athlete phenomenon. Like Brad and Angelina or Jay-Z and Beyonce' the public likes to follow fairytale romances. In order to proceed with the barrage of coverage from TMZ, US Magazine, and various Internet outlets it is necessary to focus on the present and the future rather than the past. Suddenly all the talk of infidelity, smashed in car windows, insincere press conferences, and incriminating phone conversations seems so yesterday.
The media scrutiny won't allow for the relationship to last, but it does give Tiger Woods a get out of jail free card. It's impossible to loathe someone while being fascinated about their love interests. Tiger Woods has a free pass for now because the public has chosen to have selective memory. So long as it ends smoothly and amicably Tiger will be able to use this opportunity to re-invent himself. Let us not forget this is the athlete of the decade we're talking about. Your thoughts?