Down with “God” – The Problem with Tiger Woods

The seeds of Tiger Woods’ undoing were sewn years ago – and they had nothing to do with him being the king of golf.  

Tiger’s father, Earl, apparently told his son, over and over, that he would be a catalyst of change in the world, that he was “special,” that golf was his vehicle to greatness. Bad parenting. All Earl did was inflate Tiger’s ego – and self-image – beyond reasonable human bounds. Earl was manufacturing a God – a perfect being, whom all others would adore, not just admire.

Tiger took it all in and became the icon he was “meant” to be – almost. Somewhere inside Tiger-the-God lay Tiger-the-human, just waiting to reclaim his rightful place in the mortal world. And that he certainly has done.  

I feel sorry for Tiger. He’s lived a lie most of his life – “I am holier than thou” – and now that lie has been exposed. Now, he has to face his mortal self, and that may take some time.  

Tiger’s self-reverence went to his head, starting, most likely, at a very young age. And it consumed him from the inside out.  As much as he may be the poster child for the dangers of self-made celebrity perfection, he’s not alone. There are others – other sports figures, politicians (God knows!), CEOs, and just plain folk, who lose touch with who they truly are, set impossible standards for themselves, create God-like personas, and set themselves up for inevitable failure, shame and embarrassment. It’s not worth it.  

If Tiger can achieve a more realistic understanding of himself – his earthly, rather than his “saintly,” gifts – he stands a chance of re-engaging people in positive ways. With his fame, he might indeed get people to listen to his more humble, but important message: Be yourself, know your limits as well as your strengths, keep both feet on the ground at all times. If that happens, redemption will be his – and Tiger might actually become the catalyst of positive change in the world his father wanted him to be.

  • brandsinger

    Hey Larry—Nicely put.
    Your philosophy—and your natural gift for insight—have led you to the core of Tiger’s weakness and downfall—and to the key to his redemption and rise.


    November 3, 2011 at 8:46 pm
  • marly

    I think I came to the same conclusion but through a different route. You know me – my thing is names. I was wondering if the name “Tiger” that was bestowed upon him in his youth was part of the issue. Now, I’m all for changing names, but I also think names have a lot of meaning to a life. I think the name Tiger had an impact on his self image (as you describe above). Maybe part of the more realistic image of himself he needs to adopt would be taking another look at that name. Your writing is always so very thought-provoking. Thanks!

    November 3, 2011 at 8:47 pm
  • GRT


    You’ve gotten to the essence of the Tiger story, and I note that there is no tabloid aspect to your take. This is story about infidelity to one’s true identity. We’ll all be watching to see how he resurfaces. A reinvented Tiger won’t wash. Only authenticity will fly, and that means that he will need to deeply face himself. We shall see….

    November 3, 2011 at 8:48 pm
  • Rich

    Larry, I agree with you. It is my belief that there is one true God and that he “opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34). I much prefer to have God’s grace in my life every day and I would expect that Tiger’s crash is reminding him of the importance of humility as well.
    Larry, thanks for lending a fresh perspective and helpful insight to this tragic story.

    November 3, 2011 at 8:49 pm
  • Lynn Moore

    Powerful insights for sure, however as a parent, I can’t help but feel a sadness because Tiger’s father was his inspiration, his guide, his champion. He did what I think a parent can do best and that is to encourage their child to be the best he or she can be. Tiger and his father’s dedication and hard work has been exponentially exploited for profit and as a result of his rise and fall, the game of golf will never be the same. I’m sure the tiger is exhausted and on some level, relieved to be exposed.

    November 3, 2011 at 8:49 pm
  • John K.

    I think there’s another aspect to this and to tabloid journalism (Inside Edition, TMZ et al) in general. And it’s that in general, people are scared and not that happy in their lives these days. So when something like this breaks, it is fed by a desire to watch something a little naughty, a guilty pleasure, someone having bigger problems than us (no matter how powerful or wealthy they may be…)

    November 3, 2011 at 8:50 pm
  • Shannon P

    All of this Tiger business did not surprise me and leaves me more sad than anything. Sad that Tiger was “told” what he would be and thrust into living out much of America’s fantasies (who were also “told”) – starting with Dad’s. The greatest gift Dad could have given Tiger was his separateness.

    As you say, Larry, it all “went to his head” and it seems the longest but most rewarding journey is before him – the 16 inch one between his head and his heart. It reminds me of David Whyte’s saying “…half-hearted will kill you after awhile.” And so it has. I agree with Lynn – I bet the tiger is exhausted and relieved to be exposed.

    If he can bring his heart into the mix and he’ll have that chance you speak of – touching the world with his humanity. To steal Rachel Naomi Remen’s words: “Our limitations serve, our wounds serve, even our darkness can serve. The wholeness in us serves the darkness in others and the wholeness in life.” May Tiger find his way to himself, his identity and his wholeness.

    November 3, 2011 at 8:51 pm

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