To watch Tiger Woods’s excruciating, stage-managed press conference – in which he professed gratitude for having been caught at it because this would, at last, give him a proper chance to entirely change his nature and live henceforth as a sort of monk or perhaps robot (the X500 series Family Man Mk III model) – was to witness a great confluence of various streams of human hypocrisy and folly.
The Americans, as we know, are so confused about sex and morality that they almost make we Britons look like the French. Almost, but not quite. Somehow the tabloid punditocracy has become the moral authority in such matters, demanding a mythical, parent-replacing ‘role model’ status for sportsmen (though not for rock stars. The reasons for the distinction between golf ball-whacking and guitar-strumming in relation to sexual mores are unclear, but both ball-whackers and guitar-strummers seem to accept the rules). What else is going on? Women, of course. Despite everything, a sad delusion persists in the WAG world that merely winning the lottery ticket which raises you from the ranks of rivals long enough to persuade a young, virile, rich superstar to wed and impregnate you will in itself be sufficient to change his character and protect him from the hordes of gold-diggers. “If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it” sang Beyonce, as if that would make a difference to Tiger Woods or John Terry or their predators. Here’s another popular song: “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?”
Tiger will now attempt to become a different entity: one more like the character in his computer game. Playstation pixels are our new family role models, the sponsors demand it. He will fail, of course, and therefore inflict far more misery on himself and those close to him than if he just accepted his playboy status, handed over millions of dollars to his wife and loved his kids as best he could when he saw them on weekends.
“Secrets and lies!” one might have shouted at the Woods press conference. Secrets and lies are the foundation of our societal structures, we need them. This is why we cannot tolerate Dwight Yorke. He sticks out a mile, a model of honesty and openness, laying bare the hypocrisy of the game and refusing to play it. He is uncanny and dangerous.