Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In Search of...Tiger Woods

I can't keep up with this guy anymore.  Is he partying with Rachel Uchitel in New York City?  Is he relaxing in Arizona with Dr. 90210?  Is he holed up in his Orlando fortress at Isleworth CC in Orlando?  Where is he?  Besides wondering who his concubine was during the Deutsche Bank Championship, this was the only remaining question I had about Birdiegate.  When I tricked my kids into accompanying me on my quest for the real Tiger Woods (or at least as much as is safe for 3 year olds), it came with a promise that we would see the real Tiger Woods.  My conversation went something like this:

Pulling my 7 year old out of the pool, "Do you want to help me look for Tiger Woods?  He lives around here you know."

"How long is it going to take Dad?"  My son quizzes me.

"Oh about an hour." I tell him, trusting that his sense of time has been diminished by the Florida sun.

"Okay.  But can I have some ice cream, too?" Of course you can.  It's difficult work looking for someone who doesn't really want to be found.

2pm.  Orlando, FL.  By this time, sponsors are dropping like flies.  Accenture (and after Enron wouldn't this former division of Arthur Andersen get out from under the scandal pretty quickly?) and Gillette both distanced themselves from the golf legend.  Two sponsors that had not given up on Tiger though are Tag Heuer and Nike. (note that this was written prior to Christmas)  I was talking to my wife, who reluctantly joined us, when I wondered aloud whether he ever shopped at the stores that he worked for, since he didn't have anyone else arrange trysts or leave voice mail messages for him.  So off to the Orlando Premium Fashion Mall on International Drive to find out.  If a Black Escalade could get lost anywhere in central Florida, it would be here.  I decided to investigate.

No, not here.  But I had one more place to look.

No dice.  In fact a very pretty Scandinavian helper glared at me when I asked her if Tiger had ever visited.  "I don't have time for this."  She snarled.  It was a week before Christmas, I understand, but I just asked a simple question, and if she wanted to shoo me away, she could have merely said "No."  But apparently, Tiger's downfall has polarized all of Scandanavia as I would find out at the Norway restaurant at Epcot Center the following week.  Trying to appear undaunted by the tongue lashing I had just received, I scurried away onto our next destination, lest the people I've encountered think I'm casing these joints.

A quick drive up International Drive onto County Road 50 would bring us to the next place to investigate.  After his unfortunate accident the night after Thanksgiving, the drunk and/or drugged up Woods was taken to the Health Central Medical Center. 

The closest my wife would allow me to get to asking a nurse about what happened that night was taking this picture outside of the hospital.  Thanks, honey.  This could be a seminal moment in my alternate career of blog writing, and I can't even ask a couple of questions like Ger-Riv.  I suppose because of HIPAA, I wouldn't get much out of the nurses, but I still had my sons' arcade money to flash in return for information; there was always a chance.  You're right, I wouldn't have been able to get away with that either.

I was right.  After more than an hour fruitless driving around, slowly going by any car that appeared to be a black Escalade, the troops were getting restless for action.  Onto Windermere, Florida.  Maybe Tiger was staying very close to home.  Or maybe not.

A very charming little town.  This is clearly where the affluent Orlandoites reside with lakes and old ivy wrapped houses everywhere you looked.  We spent more time driving around looking for a general store to ask about Tiger (I didn't tell the rest of the family though since we would have been stuck finding a real store to satisfy everone's growing hunger).  So around and around we drove.  No luck.  I guess everyone around here has other people do their shopping for them.  Or like the rest of Florida, they drive twice as long as the rest of us for the most basic of needs.

After a couple of U-turns and non-starts of finding general stores that may have been open on this Sunday afternoon, we came across Isleworth, the gated community where Tiger and Elin live.  We just drove by, thinking that if we stopped and asked about Tiger, we might get arrested or worse given the Hangover Treatment

So we drove around the greater Orlando area for over three hours.  We went to hospitals, malls and gated communities, and we could not find Tiger anywhere.  Maybe he was in New York, or Arizona, or in Sweden after all.  I guess we'll never know, nor will we ever know what happened on that night after Thanksgiving.  In any event, our journey had to end since we needed to feed the family.

While the kids were eating their grilled cheeses and chicken and my wife was finding amusement by the tense corporate retreat/yankee swap occurring next to us, I was looking at the photographs and reflecting on the downfall of this great champion.  I didn't really like him that much, myself.  He was not fan friendly, he always threw his clubs after decent shots and Jack Nicklaus was the reason why I started golfing in the first place.  But he was a hero to my boys.  And everytime I found him on TV before Thanksgiving, I would gather the boys and have them watch him wondering what he will do next. 

"Dad, he's awesome.  Why can't you golf like that?"  my seven year old would ask me.

"Because he's the best golfer in the world."  I would answer, while still watching the TV myself. 

Now, he's given up golfing indefinitely.  Every time he comes on the TV now, it's about his girlfriends and how he has hurt his family.  Instead of gathering the boys around, I now turn the TV off and hope that they don't see him.  I hope that they don't ask to watch the program I just turned off.

It's sad.

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