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Elin Woods: What is the Woman to Think?

March 19th, 2010 · No Comments

Writers like to speculate on what a fallen idol’s children will think about their deviant parent thanks to ready access to the internet.

On the net a kid can find a wealth of dirt on dear old dad – contrarian views to those that he or she will hear at home on the couch from the perp – all articulated in such a convincing manner by writers skilled a turning a phrase and making a point.

Well, I wonder if the same holds true for Elin Woods. What are her sources? Does she scour the net for alternative points of view? Where does she get her information? What is shaping her opinion of Tiger? Is she relying solely on the actions of the man himself, or does she check in with writers, some of considerable intelligence, to gain input?

Exhibit A: During his speech Woods laid down the criteria for the New Tiger. Family first was now a mandate and not just a politically correct utterance to polish his image. To regain Elin’s trust, he was going to continue to work hard on his personal game while putting his golf game on hold:

“I do plan to return to golf one day. I just don’t know when that day will be. I don’t rule out that it will be this year.”

Anyone blessed with half a brain would infer from this downgrading of golf’s place in Tiger’s life that a return to the game would be later, not sooner. And yet, only 25 days after Woods completed his crash course on Personal Renewal 101, he announced that he was returning to competitive golf at the Masters. We should have seen this coming because, only nine days after the speech, he began hitting balls across the street from his home in Isleworth.

Two big possibilities: (1) the tired and broken down version of Woods at the speech was the beneficiary of a miracle cure, or (2) the speech and everything that happened in the days before and after it was all part of a carefully orchestrated plan by him and his team to get him back to competitive golf ASAP. An impending deadline creates a sense of urgency, and none is bigger than a fast approaching major – so, for Tiger, the choice became clear: continue with the charade, or get real and get back to golf.

So, what is poor Elin to think of Tiger’s sudden return to golf? Did she buy into his pitch for why it was the best thing for her and the family? Did she give Tiger enough rope to hang himself? That is, did Elin let him make his first big post speech decision on his own – he plays, they are done – he doesn’t (showing his commitment to change) and they have a chance? Or, is Elin is done with Tiger no matter what he does?

This leads to the big question: what information is Elin seeking and using to make her decisions? Is she relying on counselors, family, and friends? Or does her world of influencers include leading thinkers in the media? Is she entertaining alternative points of view? If so, then she would have every reason to doubt that her Tiger is anything but the Old Tiger brandishing a new message. Indeed, Elin would almost certainly be among the skeptics if she read this from Ray McNulty of the Scripps Howard News Service:

“I owe it to my family to become a better person. I owe it to those closest to me to become a better man. That’s where my focus will be,” said Woods. But, apparently, only until next month, until he tees off at Augusta, until he renews his pursuit of a different kind of happiness — Jack Nicklaus’ all-time record of 18 major championships. Then, his focus will be where it has always been … at least during daylight hours. On golf.

Or this, from Christine Brennan of USA Today:

But here’s the problem: It makes so much sense to come back to The Masters that you know Tiger had thought of it before his speech. He’s smart; he had envisioned every scenario. Yet he and his team chose specific words, and the tone in which they were delivered, to paint a picture of a man and his struggles that ended up being misleading, if not downright untrue.

And from Lawrence Donegan of the Guardian:

Yet, if Woods tries to dodge the microphones, he will never be able to escape the charge that, in announcing he will come back at the first major championship of 2010, he has once again put himself above the game and, worse still, put his own narrow interests above those of his fellow competitors.

And the clincher, courtesy of Gerry Callahan of the Boston Herald:

In an effort to rebuild his brand, Tiger apparently has convinced Elin to stick around for a while, but that was before we learned what a sick individual he truly is. We know she’s been playing along so far, but can she really overlook this? Could any self-respecting woman?

To sum up their opinions, Woods is: (1) focused on golf, not family, (2) his speech was misleading, (3) he’s still putting his interests ahead of everyone else’s, and (4) Elin is just a pawn in his game. So, if Elin reads and believes Tiger’s clippings, their relationship is in even bigger trouble than popular wisdom has it. And if she doesn’t read them, then the poor lady is as gullible as the rest of us who bought into his apology speech and his family man act over the last half dozen years.

And why does this private matter even matter? Because Woods’ state of mind and hence his game, at least in the near term, depends on his ability to keep his wife in the fold. If he succeeds, it will be back to the business of the W by the U.S. Open, if not the Masters. And if he fails, the time lost from a costly and messy divorce could seriously jeopardize his chances of ever becoming golf’s Best Ever.

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