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Hold That Tiger.
December 5, 2003

by Bill Hogan



I don't know what is so fascinating about a world famous sports star marrying a blonde bombshell. Why does this type of news become such fodder for the tabloids? Especially when it's something that the superstar athlete would much rather keep private.

Is it impossible for someone whose athletic prowess has vaulted him to the top of his profession to expect some sort of private life? There is little in a grown man's life that is more personal than matrimony – even for somebody that is easily recognized world wide for his competitive achievements.


I guess when one of baseball's all-time greatest players espouses one of the world's biggest sex symbols it makes for stop-the-presses news. On January 14, 1954, almost three years after retiring, Yankee legend Joe DiMaggio married movie star Marilyn Monroe.

The paparazzi's dream couple didn't go anywhere unnoticed. A tough situation for a man who treasured his privacy; but priceless exposure for a box office sensation. DiMaggio and Monroe divorced after nine tumultuous months.

Many sports celebrities have married in the fifty years since Joltin' Joe and Marilyn said "I do," but none have generated the same kind of mass hysteria. That is until Tiger popped the question to Swedish nanny/model Elin Nordegren at an African game reserve.

Let the media circus begin. No two-paragraph announcement in the society page for this kind of headline news. Tiger's getting married and everybody that is anybody has an opinion.

The most-expressed concern seems to center around how Tiger's impending nuptials will affect his golf game. Didn't they ask that very same question when Tiger decided to switch to Nike golf clubs?

Jack Nicklaus thinks settling down and starting a family will help. Tiger's father disagrees. In a usatoday.com article, Earl Woods is quoted as saying "… a wife can sometimes be a deterrent to a good game of golf."

Been there, Earl. The lawn needs mowing. Someone has to take the kid to his play-date. The garage is so cluttered that the car won't fit in it anymore. My wife can find a hundred different ways to deter me from "a good game of golf." But I'm not the world's number one player. Heck, I'm not even the block's number one player.

Somehow, I doubt that Tiger's husbandly duties will keep him from jetting to Augusta for The Masters. It's one thing to cancel a Saturday morning tee time with the guys, another altogether to skip a major championship because the dog has a grooming appointment at PetSmart.

I just can't picture the future Mrs. Woods storing Tiger's U.S. Open trophies in the attic to make room on the mantle for a fruit bowl that's been in the family for generations; or excavating the backyard putting green because the soil is just right for her vegetable garden.

I don't think there will be any heated arguments over the household budget, or whether to pay the minimum amount due on the MasterCard bill. And Tiger won't have to hear about blowing junior's college fund on a can't-miss Super Bowl bet.

There's a good chance that Tiger won't ever have to give up his spot on the Ryder Cup team because cousin Bjorn is coming all the way from Stockholm for a visit the same week.

When Tiger plays in a golf tournament, there's nobody on the golf course that is more focused on the task at hand. If he misses a short putt or slices a drive into the trees it sure won't be because he forgot to empty the Diaper Genie that morning.

Tiger's to-do list might get a little longer: put socks in hamper; put toilet seat down; put 220 yard 6-iron three feet from the cup. All indications are that he can handle the added pressure.

The idea that becoming a husband will be detrimental to Tiger's golf game is as absurd as the hoopla that surrounds his announced engagement. And it's ridiculous to point to Elin Nordegren as the cause of any future failings like she's the Yoko Ono of the golf world.

If merely proposing marriage can generate this much attention, analysis and speculation, I can only imagine what kind of spectacle will be made of the actual wedding ceremony. At least Joe and Marilyn had the luxury of a small, private civil ceremony at San Francisco City Hall. That was long before the Internet - and The Enquirer.


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