Poor taste doesn’t even begin to explain it.
I wrestled with how to entitle this post, but I just went with an alliterated title based on the topic.
I was tempted to call it Tampongate. Maybe it’ll go down in golf history as just the Tampon Prank.
Hopefully, with the pro golf season fully underway, it’ll just drift off and die away amid other news.
If you haven’t seen video of the incident or read any reports on it, please start with the Wall Street Journal article or the report offered by an Australian news site. Tiger’s recent apology for the incident has been pretty well documented by the media as well.
Beyond Tiger Being Tiger
Tiger Woods isn’t immune to messy media coverage.
Think car crash and cheating scandal. It seems like ages ago, but that sex scandal was in 2009.
This comes out amid a comeback to the pro golf circuit that has included pairings with his young son on the course. As noted by some, Tiger isn’t the squeaky clean and polished PR juggernaut that he once was back in the early days.
This goes beyond much of the prior controversy related to Tiger. In the past, Tiger has been the spotlight of a 2009 sex scandal and a few published books and articles centered on his rigid upbringing and rise to success. One could look over Tiger’s storied past and see where Tiger has been both victim and villain. Public sentiments driven by the media coverage have gone the full gamut of typical sports idol worship and fandom.
The Prank = PR Problems in the Public View
Someone will hit the cancel button on Tiger, calling for his removal from PGA golf events and endorsement deals with sponsors. Others will shake their heads and simply say that it is just “boys will be boys” ameteur and adolescent behavior at play as these pros joke around and let off steam.
There’s a certain level of uneasiness and division within society at such a deep level that people are considered “on edge” these days. It’s like a ticking time bomb waiting to be triggered by the slightest movement in one direction or another.
We’ve seen it in the January 6th Riots of patriots storming the Capitol. We see it in the case where censored and cancelled celebs get their Twitter and other social media accounts reinstated without any apologies or agreement to do things differently of the platforms. It is prevalent in the social arena as LGBTQ advocates argue for or against transgender rights in public forums. It is partly revealed as a Black man is tasered and beaten to death at the hands of the primarily Black police officers in Memphis. It is an era of people on the edge with very few people standing in the middle of the road or on the fence.
People are living on the edge.
It won’t take a lot to take some folks over the edge.
A Closer Look at a Higher Cost
Whether you see it as a prank or not, the situation puts a spotlight on how much can be read into anything that we do. Cell phone cameras make everything accessible immediately. Social media’s ability to allow live feeds to stream across the Internet. Today’s TikTok-style short attention spans do not have to offer the full story behind the snippet that became a snapshot with captions.
I wouldn’t want a slew of media cameras following my foursome on a weekend round of 18 holes. I sure wouldn’t want to be “mic’d up” as I flub a flop shot around the green or miss an easy putt. I can’t imagine what a news reporter’s perspective would be as one of he members of my foursome starts out with:”So, these two nuns are sitting at bar. . .”
Aside from picking sides, we need to pick apart what society is truly craving at this time. People who don’t even play golf, watch golf or give a hoot about golf are flying off the handle on social media in response to this issue. Looking beyond its misogyny and chauvinism, there seems to be something less cavalier about such a prank during a time when female pro golfers are just coming into their own for both recognition and compensation.
The OC Register labeled it as an “unfortunate distraction.” That’s a nice way of putting it. I’d see it more as another part of the blowback of infusing sports coverage for the public to get up close and personal with an inside view. The public craves it and even clamours for it, but when it hits the fan no one really wants to be too close to see what comes of it or even smell its lingering intrusive odor. But everyone wants a bird’s eye view from the tee box and data-driven graphic of the the arc and distance of the drive for that tee shot.
Truth be told, ‘fun and games’ don’t go along with fame and fortune.