Tiger Woods: A Hero Ready For Redemption

Tiger WoodsBy Scott Allison and George Goethals

No human being has ever been better groomed to be a sports hero — and to remain one — than Eldrick Tont Woods, better known as Tiger Woods. Tiger’s dad, Earl Woods, went to great lengths to prepare his son for greatness. If Earl could have given his son a golf club in the womb, he would have. Tiger was playing by age two, competing against Bob Hope on TV at age three, and winning golf tournaments at age eight.

Although Tiger was prepared to achieve greatness on the golf course, he was far less prepared to live life under the media microscope. Tiger has always fiercely guarded his privacy and has shown a heightened sensitivity to criticism from both the media and his fellow golf competitors on the PGA Tour. He has a thin skin and a fragility about him that belies his formidability as a golfer. No wonder, then, that the exposure of his marital infidelities, and the media circus that followed, absolutely devastated him. Tiger clearly hit a personal rock-bottom.

When Tiger had his car accident on Thanksgiving night, he experienced a "trigger event" — a traumatic period in a person's life when he must choose a dramatic new life direction, or continue down his road of ruin. Trigger events are typically disastrous occurrences that cause us to take stock about what is fundamentally important to us. These events bring our values into sharp relief, lead us to change the way we live, and motivate us to become honest with ourselves about what really matters. Tiger Woods' trigger event caused him to realize that he had reached a dangerous bottoming of his life.

For Tiger, amidst all the messiness of this past winter, there is a silver lining. Yes, he and his family have experienced a lot of pain, and there is no doubt much healing to be done. But the good news is that Tiger has shown a self-awareness of his personal weaknesses. He acknowledged his need to work on becoming a better person, and he is doing something about it. We believe he can use this low point in his life to reach even greater heights as a hero.

How is this possible? It's simple: People love redemption. And it turns out that heroes can redeem themselves in different ways: (1) they can become a morally better person; (2) they can achieve new levels of competence; or (3) they can do both. Tiger can follow Kobe Bryant's lead and redeem himself by dominating his sport again. But Tiger can go beyond the Kobe blueprint for redemption by softening his personality and proving himself a morally changed man. If he can do these things, the public will embrace him as never before. A Tiger Woods who is a humbled and changed man off the golf course, and still dominant on the golf course, will be placed on a much higher heroic pedestal than he was previously.

As painful as the winter of 2009-2010 has been for Tiger, he can use his adversity as grist for the redemptive mill. People have always respected Tiger. His trigger event may be just what he needed to become a humbled, healthier person that the world loves as well as respects. No golfer has ever shown more grit and determination on the golf course than Tiger Woods. If he can now show these same qualities off the course, he can propel himself to an entirely new level of heroism.

We're rooting for him. After all, we love heroes as much as anyone else.

5 thoughts on “Tiger Woods: A Hero Ready For Redemption

  1. I think nothing he does will pay for his infidelities, and definitely I don’t believe men like that can change. Look at Charlie Sheen: making same mistake over and over again. Any woman that will want to be with one of them in the future hoping they will change, is fooling herself.

  2. I think for the most part we are ready to forgive Tiger. Our sports stars do something that can be reliably measured. Whether they are good or bad is not subjective. So doing well in his field has a big part can win over many fans that disapproved of his actions.

    That and the fact that he does seem remorseful for what he did, I hadn’t even taken into account what he must be going through psychologically. Even if people don’t realize exactly how devastating this was to Tiger personally, I think everyone can see that he’s going through a rough time. Clearly a worst time than the average man goes through when his dirt laundry is aired.

    With this kind of thing, public memory is sort anyway. He’s good at what he does, and he feels bad about his wrongdoings. Tiger is under a lens of sorts but he’s different kind of celebrity than what the paparazzi usually feeds on. It will take some time but I do think he will be loved again.

    I mean I hadn’t even thought of Kobe’s scandal until it was brought up here. If you here about him on TV today it’s relationship to his basketball not his personal life, which is the way it should be, and the way it probably will be for Tiger soon enough.

  3. Although some may disagree, I can’t bring myself to call Tiger a ‘hero’. He has never done anything great or extraordinarily inspirational. Unlike other athletes, particularly some present in this blog, all Tiger has done is make money, play golf,complain about his lack of privacy from the media, and cheat on his wife and family. His mistakes are not negated due to his exceptional golfing ability and I do not believe that redemption will renew his reputation as quickly or effectively as others may think.

  4. Tiger Woods is and will be a hero forever because of the skills he brings on the course in maybe one of the hardest sports to play. Even though he has made a mistake it does not mean that his accomplishments on the course should be overlooked. He will soon be looked at as one of the best golfers of all time again.

  5. I agree with the previous post. Tiger Woods earned the title of a hero through his athletic accomplishments and those alone. If he was a known as a hero because of his impeccable morals I could see the merit in his fall form fame. However, I think it’s sad that people love to see someone fall form the spotlight, so I believe Tiger should be judged on his professional success and nothing else.

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