What Tiger Woods should do with the rest of his life
I’ve got it. I know what Tiger Woods should do with the rest of his life, and it doesn’t involve hitting more white balls or telling more black lies.
As things currently stand, everyone is expecting a grand, cleansing gesture. A god conversion, perhaps. Or at the very least, a weepy tell-all on the Oprah couch.
Well, I’ve got a much better plan. It might not save Tiger’s marriage, but it will save his reputation over time. And boy oh boy, will it make a huge difference in the world. Who knows? It might even allow him to keep playing golf.
ere goes, then.
Tiger Woods should devote the rest of his life to saving tigers. Real Tigers. As in, the giant kitties that go “Grrr” in the jungle, or did, until they were poached within a stripe of extinction.
Think about it. Here’s a man with the unbelievably geeky given names of Eldrick Tont, who has catapulted to megastardom on the back of a fierce will to win and an even fiercer nickname.
It’s time Eldrick Tont Woods gave something back to the tigers. Even with only half his wealth and a quarter of his former power and influence, he is still a unique position to do it.
Tiger, of course, already has his foundation, which claims to have helped more than 10 million kids through its “character development program”. Sorry about the splatter on the screen. That’s my breakfast being coughed up.
The Foundation continues its work, scandal or no scandal, but it’s time for Tiger himself to do more. I’m not saying he should swap his famous red shirts for khaki and go all Steve Irwin, but by crikey, he could get out there into some endangered tiger habitat and make a statement. Reckon the TV cameras would follow him?
By most estimates, there are now only 2,000 tigers in the wild, in a range which has dramatically shrunk due to poaching and land clearance. Imagine that Asia was once a giant golf course. Well, today, tigers have vanished from the fairways and greens and inhabit just a few bunkers.
That’s a ridiculously gratuitous golf analogy there, but imagine if Tiger Woods himself was out there spinning lines like that. Tell me people wouldn’t listen. Then tell me they wouldn’t act with his millions to spur them into action.
Now, I know there’ll be people who’ll say “forget it. Tiger needs to fix his own life up before he tackles the world’s problems”.
Well, here’s the comeback to that one. I spent a couple of hours with Shane Warne in Melbourne for an Alpha magazine story the other week, and I can’t tell you how positive he seems at the moment.
Warney still has his blokey outlets, like poker and cricket commentary, but the thing really energising him at the moment is the work of his own foundation.
Unlike Tiger, Warne isn’t just a name behind the foundation. He goes into his office several times each week and personally attends to the very mundane business of fund raising. Just the other week, he was the first “celebrity” (he hates the word) to respond to a young girl’s request to help fight a rare disease.
Reckon he didn’t get a genuine buzz out of that? More to the point, do you honestly not believe that Shane Warne himself doesn’t grow as a person by such encounters? I’m not saying he’ll be squeaky clean forever. But he’s giving himself the best possible chance.
So here’s the deal. Tiger saves the tigers, spending most of his millions in the process. Then one day, when the animal’s future is assured, some kid visiting a really, really big tiger sanctuary somewhere in Siberia will say “wow, that Tiger Woods must have earned his name because of what he did for the tigers”.
And that kid’s parents will go “no, he was called Tiger anyway. But while most sportsmen seek immortality through breaking ultimately meaningless sporting records, he thought he’d make his name resonate through history for a much more significant reason”.
And that kid will go “double wow”.
And Tiger will known as Tiger for ever after. And no one will ever refer to him as Cheetah again.
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