The Masters: A Tradition Moral Outrage Unlike Any Other?

In a few short hours, my Stake will be holding a special meeting in which the boundaries will be redrawn, bringing some much needed equalization in size to the wards. In order to be able to focus on the Spirit during the meeting, I need to request your help in resolving a moral issue for me. By the time I get home from the meeting, I need to know whether or not I should be morally outraged when Tiger Woods receives applause and collects a decent paycheck tomorrow during the final round of the Masters.

Normally, when a celebrity does something morally reprehensible, if a person so desires it is fairly easy to continue partaking of that celebrity’s output in some degree, because they are almost never the “whole show.” It is usually just one player on a team, or one actor in a film, or one political stance in a sea of policy choices. (An exceptions to this rule is anything including Sarah Jessica Parker, who ruins any production she touches with her mere presence.) In the case of golf, though, there is no way to split the clapping, cheering, or green jacket up.

So, do I have an obligation to feel disgusted, as I did yesterday afternoon when I watched part of the 3rd Round? Am I supposed to cheer against Tiger and root for Phil Mickelson, despite Phil’s horrible taste in shirts? Or do I have a Christian obligation to forgive Tiger and support him on his claimed path of recovery? If not, how long am I required to wait before accepting Tiger’s apology and believing him when he says he is a changed man?

Does God expect moral outrage from His people? Or does He likely not care one way or the other (as long as none of the Brits are in contention)?


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  1. The even bigger moral outrage is that golf is even considered a sport. Puhleeeze.

  2. rbc, the second I get home you will receive some serious bannination unless I see major fruits of repentance,
    Godly sorrow, etc…

    Two hours. Clock is ticking.

  3. I hope you’re kidding about this. Moral outrage is highly overrated, overdone, and totally wrong for true followers of Christ.

    Plus, let’s face it, a lot of the celebrities, especially the athletes, that you have been cheering on and appreciating all your life probably did things almost as bad, but just never had the bad luck to get caught.

  4. Before the Tiger “scandal” I thought everyone understood that a significant percentage of athletes, actors, and other celebrities behaved badly, and that we just didn’t care. That’s why I’m a little perplexed when anyone is outraged over Tiger’s behavior. I wish him the best in his personal life and will cheer for him about the same as I did before.

    More generally, the salacious need to know and gossip about the sins of others strikes me as uncharitable. I suppose there are times when we need to stand up against immoral behavior, but usually not in response to one person’s conduct.

  5. Scott T. says:

    My take is:

    Hate the sin, not the sinner. Feel moral outrage for his immoral actions. Forgive and let God judge him as a person. (Colossians 3:13)

    Don’t feel outrage for him as a person. Nothing wrong with clapping, cheering, and/or respecting Tiger’s SKILL in the sport of golf – regardless of what he did, you can respect that he’s a very good golfer. I respect the fact he can perform his skill well under so much pressure (the pressure he brought upon himself).

  6. No, I don’t think you should feel moral outrage when Tiger gets applause, because the crowds applaud every golfer after every good shot, don’t they?

    And I don’t think you should feel moral outrage when he gets a decent paycheck, because he might need that money to pay alimony and child support. If he had stopped financially supporting his family, well, that would be different.

  7. I didn’t care much for Tiger before all the sins came out and my opinion of him hasn’t changed. He’s a great golfer and if people like the sport, they’ll probably continue watching him play. He is not a moral leader (and I don’t think he ever claimed himself to be one). I don’t know if he ever spoke out against immorality, so he may be free against a charge of hypocrisy. As for all the rest, I go with Jesus and say, he who is without sin cast the first stone.

  8. btw, I’m curious where the moral outrage is against Senator John Ensign.

  9. Eric Russell says:

    I feel similarly conflicted about Weir. On the one hand, he went to BYU. On the other hand, he’s a Canadian. How long does he have to live in the US before we believe that he’s a changed man?

  10. Good point, Eric. Let’s add him to the list. Also, Weir is left handed, which makes it twice as bad.

  11. I’m wondering why people feel the need to feel hurt or forgive people that didn’t do anything to them. (I mean, if he cheated on you Scott, then maybe you should be offended–but on the other hand he’s been married for awhile now and you should probably just get over it).

    Sure his actions are despicable, but I’m not sure how it offends me personally (maybe that’ just because I’m not into golf), or anyone who watches his sport. It’s kind of like saying someone punched you in the face when the person actually ran into a tree.

  12. Aaron Brown says:

    who is Tiger Woods?

  13. I’m much more concerned about today’s Dead Wings / Blackhawks matchup…..

  14. Re: Tiger’s moral failings… its none of our business, despite the media trying to make it so. But we all sure love to take advantage of public failure as a way to make ourselves feel more righteous.

    As for the Masters… seriously. You are struggling to root for Phil because of his shirts? Who is in need of repentance now? Phil is a solid guy and a fun player to watch (takes crazy, risky shots and sometimes makes them).

  15. Clay (and others),
    It should be clear from my inclusion of
    Phil’s shirts as a reason to hate him that that is not serious.

    Besides, I hate Phil far more for being a lefty than his ugly shirts.

  16. Chris Henrichsen says:

    Moral outrage should not be wasted on Woods or Ensign.

    People are starving to death. Children are being forced into militia service. Woman are systematically rape in parts of Sudan. Political dissidents are imprisoned in China. Show more outrage over these things.

    The main problem with stewing over the sexual lives of media, sports, and political elites is that it makes Nietzche look correct. Nothing good can come out of that.

  17. Chris Henrichsen says:

    I should have included Phil”s shirts in my list above. In that, Scott’s outrage is justified because they are a moral crime against society.

  18. Left Field says:

    They play golf during the baseball season? Who knew?

  19. You should be outraged that Augusta continues to discriminate against a very important segment of society. My question for Augusta is when will it end its unconscionable practice of not admitting 6’2″ Mormon males named Mathew to its membership?

  20. StillConfused says:

    I would suggest to cheer if he makes a good shot, and likewise cheer if someone else makes a good shot. Root for the sport and not an individual

  21. I think I remember somewhere in the scriptures Jesus telling those wanting to throw stones something about “whoever is without sin”. I’ll still be clapping for a good golfer.

  22. Kevin Barney says:

    The Latin word for left (handed) is sinister. ‘Nuff said.

  23. The actual inspiration for this post comes from an experience the other day in my office, that went as follows:

    I overheard a woman in the adjacent office, speaking to another coworker who was sitting across her desk, “I cannot believe that Tiger got a round of applause when he went to the first tee!” in a very harsh tone.

    I stood up and prepared to make a case similar to that which most of you are making about it being none of our business what Tiger has done, and if he makes a change in his life, then good on him. As I walked into her office, I started, “Well, in my opinion…” before I saw a look of rage on her face, as she was anticipating my defense of Tiger.

    With the ninja reflexes I possess, I sensed danger and, continued “it is a question of fact that they clapped for him, and if you choose not to believe the camera, then that is just silly.”

    Crisis averted.

  24. #16 said it well, there are so many things over which to truly be outraged. It was somewhat of an outrage a few months ago when the TV was showing live coverage of Michael Jackson’s funeral WHILE a ticker thing ran along the bottom of the screen, informing people of a horrible bombing that had occurred elsewhere in the world.

    I think some of those things are distractions that detract from impacting the world in better ways.

    Yes Tiger did something extremely wrong. I totally get the seriousness. Like #1 said, I concur in the whole fuss over golf. It bothers me when others (ie specificly athletes, politicians or reporters) criticize those who’ve committed that type of sin. Especially since like was stated previously, the criticizers themselves have sometimes committed similar sins but have not yet been caught.

    Yes athletes – and all adutls- should be good role models. It is this society that gives attention and beaucoup bucks to athletes, actresses/actors. Little wordly acclaim is sometimes given to those who live quiet and virtuous lives.

    But for outrage, I am much more outraged w/the recent gang rape of a 7 year old or women who live in cultures that punish them w/death for merely associating w/a man.

    In Tiger’s case, I feel sad for his family. But the women w/whom Tiger had his relationships knew what they were doing as did he. If there is to be outrage, some outrage should be shared w/these ladies for their role in this family tragedy.

  25. Mark Brown says:

    Leave it to Scott to focus on bad shirts when there are all those neon plaid pants around.

    The true moral outrage consists in wearing those dork pants and blindingly ugly green jackets. Do we really want to accept lessons on morality from people who call their place The Augusta National Goff Club?

  26. My moral outrage is in how quickly Tiger sold out as an athlete. He is decked out in more Nike logos than a NASCAR driver!

  27. I agree with Chris H and Mark Brown on this thread. I couldn’t care less about Tiger Woods and his sexual exploits because there are much more important things to care about, and the fashion police should have a serious discussion with all golfers.

    By the way, I think Sarah Jessica Parker was pretty good in “LA Story” and in the recent movie “Have you Heard About the Morgans?” Helps her overcome years of ridiculous work in between.

  28. Geoff B & Chris H,
    There are more important things in the world to talk about, yes. However, I don’t think there is any shortage of threads devoted to those things at BCC, but I think there is a true shortage of threads devoted to sports and men who dress like Jesper Parnevik.

  29. Alex (26),
    That’s because Nike is the only sponsor he has left.

  30. However, I will add that, while I posted this in good fun, I will be searching the dark corners of the bloggernacle for people who condemn politicians for immoral acts but argue that celebrities and athletes should be treated with forgiveness and/or antipathy. Unless someone can point to an agreement that politicians sign upon elections stating that they won’t commit adultery…

  31. Anytime a Mormon protests that Mormons DO TO have a sense of humor, this thread will stand as incontrovertible evidence that ’tis not so.

  32. Mathew, the irony is that Aaron’s post (the one preceding this one) is similarly effective in demonstrating that. In fact, it proves that, since I played the role of anal-retentive grump on that thread, it proves that I am a hypocrite, and do not deserve applause when I hit my tee shots.

  33. Mark Brown says:

    Mathew, do you know why they call it golf?

    Because all the other four-letter words were already taken.

  34. Chris Henrichsen says:

    My intent was to mock those who are outraged, which I assumed was the point of the post. I wasn’t intenting to sound as though I was criticizing the post itself (I was actually just avoiding the Elder’s Quorum lesson).

    I would never tell the cool kids on the bloggernacle how they should blog.

  35. Scott,

    Unless someone can point to an agreement that politicians sign upon elections stating that they won’t commit adultery…

    Senator Ensign defending marriage on the Senate floor.

    I don’t hold politicians any different than athletes or celebrities if they don’t take the position of morality and then in their personal lives not live up to their own standards they demand of the rest of society. Those are the people I condemn. If a politician simply lives his life without condemnation of the morality of others, I couldn’t care at all how he or she lives his or her life.

  36. Eric Russell says:

    I’m really surprised at the responses here, honestly. It’s true that most celebrities are going to do things that are wrong and that if one withdrew support from any such person, you wouldn’t have much sports, music or movies to watch at all.

    But Tiger Woods is a very different case. He’s not just another athlete – he’s quite possibly the single most popular athlete in the country, with lots of sponsors and millions of fans. He’s a role model for innumerable kids. And his “moral failings” weren’t a moment of weakness with an assistant or a single love affair. Rather, the country’s most respected athlete engaged in layers of deception towards his wife and towards the world in order to pursue orgies with prostitutes on a regular basis.

    Whether they like it or not, people who continue to actively support Tiger as if nothing had happened are telling their children that what he did just wasn’t that big a deal. It reminds me of the shock that came to much of the sports world when LA was all applause upon the return of Manny Ramirez last year. At the current pace of celebrity worship, we’ll all be cheering on Roxie and Velma before long.

  37. Daniel, I am not looking for hypocrisy–I am looking for actual breach of agreement.

  38. Scott,

    Did Tiger Woods breach any actual agreement? We’re not talking lawyerly stuff here.

  39. Well done, Eric.

    I still have not made up my mind–as I noted in the OP and in my comment a bit earlier about my office, I have changed directions a couple of times on this issue.

    As Daniel suggests, Tiger didn’t ever take an official non-cheater/liar/slimeball position in life, but I think that line of thinking is very problematic because it essentially disregards every bit of years of signaling Woods did. The fact that the deeds were so shocking demonstrates that as a society, we felt like he had taken the job of role model willingly, along with the moral stands such as faithfulness that such a position requires.

  40. Scott T. says:

    Eric R.,

    Martin Luther King, Jr was supposedly involved in adultery, prostitution and orgies. The country’s most respected civil rights leader engaged in “layers” of sin.

    Should we not support MLK jr in his civil rights accomplishments? Should we not keep celebrating him every year and ignore “telling…children that what he did just wasn’t that big a deal”?

    If we can look past MLK jr’s personal life and respect him as a great civil right’s leader, why can’t we look past Tiger Woods’s personal life and respect him as a great golfer?

  41. Daniel, I believe Tiger breached many, many agreements, though perhaps not strictly legal ones.

    If implied agreements don’t count, then can I get your permission to ignore any comments in the future about social contracts or obligations to my fellow man?

  42. I can only speak for myself. I wasn’t shocked at what Tiger did. I don’t know why we intrinsically place a moral position on a celebrity, as if their very being makes them a standard for us to live by, the sort of deification of a flawed human. While talented at golf, he’s just a regular guy. To his long-time friends, he’s no different than any of our own long-time friends. Nothing is different about him except what strangers think about him, a false perception placed upon him. Now, Tiger did fail in one respect. He abused that perception, using it to pretend further who he was not, and in that case he does deserve scorn. But our society is at fault, equally with him, for placing such a mantel on him.

  43. I dunno, but a few years ago, I boycotted any movie with Tom Cruise in it and I have stuck to my guns since then. If Tiger Woods irritates you, don’t watch him.

  44. JA,
    It isn’t at all about watching or not–I will watch because I watch the Masters. The question is whether or not a person should be bothered by the apparent ease with which Tiger has walked back into the spotlight to applause.

    Also, boycotting Cruise is easier, since he stopped making decent films a while ago…

  45. Chris H.,

    I wouldn’t say that the point was to mock those who are outraged, although that may be the net result. The point was to hear peoples’ thoughts on an issue I thought was clear until I found myself glaring at Woods yesterday afternoon and feeling–as a lifelong avid golfer–that he did the sport a great disservice.

  46. Eric Russell says:

    I never said you couldn’t respect Woods as a golfer, Scott T. And the major difference between the two cases is the cultural immediacy of Woods situation. To actively support Tiger right now, as the residual rain drops of the tsunami that just hit are still falling, is almost an act of defiance that any real wrongdoing actually occurred.

  47. Scott B: fun fact: I am in Hong Kong, getting ready for the Monday morning work day. The Masters is on five different satellite channels, with US announcers, Australian announcers, Chinese announcers, Japanese announcers, etc. So it is definitely getting attention that would make you proud. I can’t tell if the Chinese announcers are worried about Tiger’s infidelities.

  48. Eric,

    MLK was actively supported in the now of his cultural time period, so Scott T has a point.

    How long must one wait to once again become “supported”.

    Maybe, if Tiger wins, they should sew a big, scarlet red, “A” on the back of his Green jacket and wear it around for a year. Would that make you all feel better?

  49. Blah, blah…. blah stupid blah blah…. golf blah blah… meh, meh meh.

    The End

  50. April, see my comment above to rbc. ;)

  51. Chris Henrichsen says:

    Scott, he may have done Golf a disservice, but only to the extent that he has done more for it than anyone else in the last 15 years.

    Of course, I do not play or follow golf. So, I view Tiger more as a cultural figure. That said, comparing him to MLK made me scream on an otherwise peaceful afternoon.

  52. Exactly right, Chris. I consider the fact that the person who invoked MLK was against moral outrage against Tiger to be the most compelling argument so far in favor of moral outrage against Tiger. (I love me some ad hominem!)

    Also, the fact that he has done so much for the sport is why it hurts so badly. We need his classy representation, and he just three-whacked the 18th green, so to speak!

  53. Did Tiger Woods breach any actual agreement?

    You mean beside his marriage vows?

  54. Another eagle and Lefty is going to be feeling the pressure.

  55. There’s no way Tiger’s going to win, so forget that, but I take serious issue with Eric #36.

    Tiger Woods is not a role model, except to the extent that foolish people make him one. He is a guy doing a job. his job happens to get far more public attention than most, and he happens to be far better at his job than most people are at theirs, but that’s it. His personal life is his own and his choices there are his own and should have no effect on how we feel about how he performs his job. In addition to that, this paragraph is just idiotic:

    “Whether they like it or not, people who continue to actively support Tiger as if nothing had happened are telling their children that what he did just wasn’t that big a deal. It reminds me of the shock that came to much of the sports world when LA was all applause upon the return of Manny Ramirez last year. At the current pace of celebrity worship, we’ll all be cheering on Roxie and Velma before long.”

    I don’t “support Tiger” other than watching him play golf. I might root for him to do well, but I root for others as well, and I know nothing about their personal lives, just that they are good golfers. They could be having regular sex with farm animals for all I know (or care). I do not worship celebrities, and I do not know anyone who does. I can’t imagine anyone doing that. I don’t know what that would even look like. That kind of rhetoric is just insipid.

  56. Okay, since some people want to take this seriously, I will respond in kind:

    Tiger Woods: athlete, celebrity, role model. Why?

    Because of his supposed family values? Because of his Buddhist beliefs? Because he is a Real Man? No, I really don’t think so.

    Because he was (and is) an extremely talented athlete?Because he was a black kid who showed other black kids that they have other options in life than just being poor and black or being wealthy and black basketball or football players? Let’s be honest, folks. Tiger Woods is a natural born athlete. His early success led to his celebrity status. His early success as a black man in a traditionally-white sport made him a role model to others, in much the same way that Jackie Robinson was when he broke into Major League Baseball.

    Nobody cared about his personal moral values until the news media started obsessing over his apparent lack thereof.

  57. “I need to know whether or not I should be morally outraged when [a]Tiger Woods [b]receives applause and [c]collects a decent paycheck tomorrow during the final round of the Masters.”
    Looks like everyone missed the reason for moral outrage: the answer is [c].
    [a] and [b] are irrelevant to the moral outrage that you should have. The amounts of the checks distributed in a golf tournament given (insert meaningful social issue here) are the acceptable moral-outrage triggers.

  58. MCQ, if you don’t know what Eric is talking about, or what athlete/celebrity worship looks like, I would suggest you visit the homes of 15-20 teenagers and see what they have on their walls.

  59. Eric Russell says:

    MCQ, if that was supposed to be a rebuttal to what I said, you’ve totally lost me. If it helps, my comment wasn’t about you.

  60. Scott, I have teenagers in my home. No visitations needed. Your statement suggests that I should be concerned that my children are worshipping Fall
    Out Boy, The All American Rejects, several other rock bands, Robert Pattinson, and Kristen Stewart. My response to that is that you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

    Eric, thanks, and no offense intended to you, either. I just disagree in the strongest terms with the idea that by rooting for Tiger (or any other athlete) I am somehow endorsing whatever actions they happen to be engaging in in their personal lives, or telling my children that adultery is A-OK. That is simply not true, and kind of offensive, frankly.

  61. Scott face it, if you are popular you get a pass, and life gets easier when you accept this reality. That is how it was in high school, your ward, your town etc… The only thing any of us can do is boycott Tiger Wood product endorsements and anything else related to Tiger. Hit the golden boy (and his supporters) where it truly hurts–in the bank. That is what we did to Tom Cruise. If enough people refuse to spend it on the product/entertainmnet the message hits home.

  62. Eric Russell says:

    MCQ, what I’m saying is more nuanced than what you’re responding to. Try rereading the first paragraph of my comment. And then the second paragraph. And then what I said in 46. Obviously being a fan of someone doesn’t mean approving with everything they’ve ever done in their lives. If that’s the point you’re trying to make, then we agree.

  63. MCQ, perhaps we’re getting hung up by the word “worship” on a religious blog, which is certainly understandable.

    Let me say it in a different way: I am a firm believer that today’s youth take social and ethical clues from celebrities, athletes, and other people who are portrayed as glamorous in the media.

    If you feel your kids are not susceptible to this, then bully for you–you have raised them well. I again strongly–even stronger now–suggest that you visit the homes of 15-20 other teenagers, because I promise that your kids are the exeption, not the rule.

    To me, in my home, it matters a great deal whether my child has a poster of a ball player who did things the “right way” on the field or whether they have a poster of a ball player who was found to be using steroids. Similarly, I’d rather my son have a poster of a man who didn’t spend years lying to everyone in his life about his personal behavior than a man who did exactly that. That’s just how I roll.

  64. Chris Henrichsen says:

    My teenage room had posters of:

    Cal Ripken. A perfect athelete in the moral sense.

    The Beatles.

    Led Zeppelin.

    William F Buckley. Wait. Buckley smoked pot. This must explain my Word of Wisdom problem (for the folks at BYU, I am talking about diet coke).

    I should also admit this horrible secret….I had signed photos of Orrin Hatch in my room. Please do not judge me harshly. Every teenager makes stupid mistakes.

  65. “To me, in my home, it matters a great deal whether my child has a poster of a ball player who did things the “right way” on the field or whether they have a poster of a ball player who was found to be using steroids. Similarly, I’d rather my son have a poster of a man who didn’t spend years lying to everyone in his life about his personal behavior than a man who did exactly that. That’s just how I roll.”

    Bully for you too, Scott, and I agree to a certain extent, but what I am suggesting, which you may have missed the first two times I said it, is that you have no idea whatsoever who is “doing it right.” You only know about the ones who got caught. But if it makes you feel good inside to pretend you know who’s righteous and who’s not, then go for it. For myself, I choose not to delude myself. That’s just how I roll.

  66. “Whether they like it or not, people who continue to actively support Tiger as if nothing had happened are telling their children that what he did just wasn’t that big a deal.”

    Eric, I was just responding to that portion of your #36. If I took it too literally, I apologize.

  67. Steve G. says:

    #24 nita Yes Tiger did something extremely wrong. I totally get the seriousness. Like #1 said, I concur in the whole fuss over golf. It bothers me when others (ie specificly athletes, politicians or reporters) criticize those who’ve committed that type of sin.

    I agree completely. The seriousness of the sin of golf is nothing to to take lightly. Athletes, politicians, and reporters all like to swing the club from time to time. Heck I bet you could even add lawyers to that category. They who golf will get no applause from me. I say let them get the applause they adore so much from each other. As for me and mine we don’t golf.

    (oh and apologies to nita, it was all in good fun)

  68. MCQ,
    “Innocent until proven guilty” is a pretty common way of doing things, but you make my point for me: it’s hard to know when a person is privately a slimeball. With Tiger, however, there is no doubt–the truth got displayed for all to see.

    You seem to be talking about a world in which there is uncertainty over the actions of an individual; I am talking about a world in which the dirty deeds have already been proved true.

  69. Right. But what makes you think that the athlete/celebrity you approve of and have allowed your kid to paper his room with is “doing it right?” How have you made that judgment? Criminal background check? Google search? Read an interview on TMZ? I don’t see how you come off ruling anyone righteous and pure in your world. In mine everyone is a sinner. I guess you could only allow your kids posters of Jesus and a few prophets, but that seems a little weird to me. Besides, if you do that they’ll probabaly rebel by smuggling Lil’ Wayne posters in and putting them up on the back of their closet doors. So good luck with that.

  70. As a confession, I have played golf on several occasions. Please do not condemn me. I have since repented. Anyway I was not very good. (Like not inhaling?) But we are known for the company we keep.

    I was so bad that swearing did not help. I am sure even adultery would not have lowered my score more than a stroke. Life is so unfair.

  71. If a person doesn’t feel moral outrage toward Tiger Woods, is that person necessarily supporting Tiger Woods?
    Some of this discussion presumes that there are only 2 options: outrage or support. But I don’t think this is an either/or issue. One can disapprove of someone else’s actions without feeling outraged.

  72. MCQ,
    Google searches and TMZ are pretty decent places to start, I think!

    In my world–just like yours–everyone is a sinner. However, not everyone in my world is in a position where my kids might try to imitate their behaviors. Once a person has reached that position, I think any responsible parent would begin to consider what those people are like. Do I care about the moral character of every kid at my son’s high school? Not in a practical sense. Do I care about the moral character of the kids my son hangs out with? Yes.

    Can we ever have a perfect knowledge of anything? Of course not! But that doesn’t mean we are required to cultivate and maintain a state of perfect ignorance, either! While acknowledging that all people are sinners, I have no problem starting from the position that people are basically good and honest. That seems to be the fairest possible situation, and as such I am fine with my children putting up posters or buying t-shirts or lunchboxes of anyone they want until it becomes apparent through disclosure of new information that maybe they’re not actually the sort of person I want my children imitating in society.

    As a hypothetical exercise, consider the following statements:

    1. Lance Armstrong doped or otherwise used PEDs to win the Tour d’France.
    2. Ray Lewis (a linebacker in the NFL) was part of the murder he was accused of being a part of.
    3. Barry Bonds used steroids to break Hank Aaron’s home run record.

    If I understand your arguments correctly, as a matter of morality, it doesn’t matter whether any of those statements are true or false, because, as you say, “[their] personal life is [their] own and [their] choices there are [their] own and should have no effect on how we feel about how [they] performs [their] job.”

    I find that unbelievable.

  73. Great job, Phil. It was beautiful to see you with Amy after the win.

    I appreciate great golf, so I appreciate Tiger’s talent. I just won’t root for him like I used to do. I dont’ know that Phil is any better in his personal life, but I believe he is – and I respect how golf doesn’t appear to be his top priority, even before Amy’s cancer.

    I’m not sure Tiger puts his family first even now, but I still cheer when he pulls off a miraculous shot. I just don’t root for him over someone like Phil appears to be.

  74. Ray,
    That is very much how I feel right now. If only Lefty were Righty instead.


  75. StillConfused says:

    Hey, I am a lefty

  76. Helen Wheels says:

    As for me and Mister T, we pity the fool!

    Footnote: golf spelled backwards is flog… think about it.

  77. i don’t think god really cares, he just wants us all to play nice.

    personally, i would be a lot more forgiving of tiger if he came across remotely sorry. but i will admit that i teared up just as much as lefty embraced his wife after the win as i did when he hit that great shot out of the trees on the 13th. awesome!

  78. Steve Evans says:

    I haven’t read the comments, but wanted to say:

    1. Sarah Jessica Parker has the face of a horse and the acting talent of Forest Whitaker (whilst he is asleep).

    2. Golf is a lot of fun. And Tiger Woods is really great at it, and little else.

    3. I am probably a better golfer than Scott.

  79. Scott, what I find unbelievable is that you consider those three statements to be limited to the athetes’ personal lives. They are not and it’s not even close and you know it. Sounds to me like you are just trying to stir up controversy. Nice try. Before you make statements like that about people, however, I suggest you do your homework. because once again, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I’m done here.

  80. MCQ,
    I am not trying to stir up a controversy, and I have no idea why you’re getting so upset.

  81. Steve,
    Dream on.

  82. It’s debatable how much actual impact the drugs had on their performance. (In Baseball) Or at least that’s what a recent interesting Econtalk argued. I’m not baseball expert but it sounded pretty persuasive. I’ve heard similar arguments about golf as well.

    Biking is probably different.

  83. Thomas Parkin says:

    “However, not everyone in my world is in a position where my kids might try to imitate their behaviors.”

    I think this is where you are wrong.

    And, anyway, if your kids are so shallow as to be likely to imitate the behavior of a great golfer because they are a great golfer … well, how does a child get to that kind of hero worship going on unless their parents are nincompoops?

    Where I think this went wrong: what Tiger Woods does in his bedroom life is nobody’s business. The real culprit is the media who couldn’t wait to jump all over him and force the false public repentance that is going to land his soul in hell. ~

  84. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 78
    I haven’t read the comments, but wanted to say:

    1. Yet she is a star. A straight guy can’t really understand. It’s all about the Broderick marriage and Sex In The City. She’s absolutely brilliant.
    2. It’s only fun if you’re old, or soon to be old.
    3. I just watched this week’s SNL with Tina Fey. Golf could cost you your TR. Who knew???

  85. You’re totally right Thomas. Any parent who has kids who are influenced by pop culture icons are nincompoops.

    Thanks for that.

  86. #83: Thomas

    I disagree that what Tiger does in his private life is nobody’s business. Part of “Tiger, Inc” is holding him up as an ideal of what we can achieve, what we can and should be. It is what advertising, etc. is based on. He was held up as an example of integrity and hard work. He ultimately got exposed as the loser he is.

    You may claim that we should separate Tiger the golfer from Tiger the person. That’s like claiming that we should separate North Korea (or substitute your favorite country here) the source of cheap imports from North Korea the playground of a despotic lunatic. If you support one, you support the other.

  87. “That’s like claiming that we should separate North Korea (or substitute your favorite country here) the source of cheap imports from North Korea the playground of a despotic lunatic.”

    I think that comment is an example of the kind of lunacy these discussions produce. The oppression of the North Korean people is a totally different type of moral wrong. It is far worse.

  88. Mike S,
    Exactly right. I don’t understand the people in this thread who are claiming that Tiger’s private life is his own business. It’s not a question of what should be, but what is, and the fact is, when a person signs up for the celebrity life (or has it imposed upon them), their lives become public. This is true for athletes, media celebrities, politicians, and General Authorities in our own Church. Their lives become our lives, whether they like it or not, and whether we like it or not. Blaming the media for making it so is fine, but that doesn’t change the reality that it is so.

    For any public figure to claim that they have the same rights to privacy and should not be held to a different standard of conduct without consequence is just absurd.

  89. MikeInWeHo says:

    Well clearly they don’t get the same level privacy, Scott, but I’m not sure it’s absurd for them to be held to the same standard of conduct as anybody else.

    Every profession has certain behavioral/ethical standards. For example, I would not be fired from my job if I were a known serial adulterer. I would be fired, however, if I were found to be a substance abuser or could not maintain patient confidentiality. A newspaper editor labors under different standards, as would a teacher, clergy member, truck driver, etc. Not sure what the ethical standards are for professional golfers (spreading boredom is clearly allowed), but whatever they are Woods should be treated no differently than anyone else. The real rub (no pun intended) comes in around his product endorsement deals. It seems reasonable for him to be held to a higher standard to maintain some of those. Thank goodness he was never in any Home Front ads.

  90. This column nicely sumarizes my thoughts on this issue:

    There is no benefit in demonizing Woods or raising other athletes or celebrities to “righteous” status and telling our kids or others that we approve of them because of their supposedly upright and moral personal lives. Judging someone else’s personal life, either positively or negatively, is a fool’s pastime. We don’t know much about someone else’s motivations or circumstances, even those whom, like Tiger, have been caught in indiscretions and had reams written about them. Because of that, we should leave the judgment to someone who actually knows the facts and just appreciate the skills of celebrities that are on public display.

  91. John Harvey says:

    I’m with poster #1 on this one, but would add that more importantly the opportunity cost of all that wasted time by the “fans” is staggering when one contemplates the possibilities to actually *do* something (something good would be even better)!

    Nice to see Phil won.

  92. Mike (89),
    I think you said exactly what I said, which is that that different standards apply to different people. Just like a substance abuse standard applies to you that doesn’t to a hooker, I believe that Tiger Wood should be held to the same standard as his peers–which does not include me! I don’t have millions of kids looking at me as a hero; I don’t have millions and millions of dollars being invested in my “image” of professionalism, success, and skill; I don’t have a job that requires me to sit in front of a TV camera all day.

    Consequently, I don’t think I have any obligation to millions of kids who are not watching me; I have an obligation to the two kids who are. I don’t have an obligation to enormous businesses with enormous customer bases; I have an obligation to my small handful of clients; I don’t have any obligation to keep my mouth clean in my office, because no one hears it (except Jesus).

    Tiger let his fans down (Sorry, MCQ. I just don’t think you know what it means to be a fan. What he did breaks my heart as a fan–as lame as you might think that is, or as much as it makes my parents nincompoops); he let his sponsors down; he let his foundations down; he let his peers down.

    If you don’t believe these things, ask them–they have all said as much, and Tiger himself admits that he did. There is no grand “judgment” of the sinfulness of all our fellowmen going on here–there is nothing to discern: Tiger admits it all himself–no one simply inferred them based on sketchy evidence. There is no “righteous” or “demon” status as MCQ is construing my thoughts–there is simply the question: Did Tiger Woods do something that hurts other people? Yes, and it will take years and years to make up for it, because people trusted him as an ambassador of many causes. If those people were stupid, so be it–I’m willing to be stupid.

  93. MCQ, I am curious how you comply with this statement without trying to discern people’s character:

    Latter-day Saints as citizens are to seek out and then uphold leaders who will act with integrity and are wise, good, and honest.

  94. Holy cow, Scott. I never said I don’t ever try to discern people’s character, just that Tiger’s character is not my interest or my business.

    You keep wanting to change the subject. We aren’t talking about leaders here. This conversation was about whether we should be morally outraged by Tiger’s personal behavior as fans as we watched the Masters. My response to that was no, and I have stated my reasons why.

    You then tried to change the subject to talk about hypothetical drug abusers and murderers. Those aren’t the same issues, Scott, as they are not limited to an athlete’s personal life, and cross the line into gross illegalities.

    Now, you seem to be wanting to change the subject again and talk about how Tiger’s sponsors and fellow professionals should feel, rather than his fans. Then you change the subject further to include how I evaluate political leaders. Again, those are completely separate issues, and beyond the scope of this post as I understood it.

    However, since you asked me specifically, when it comes to political leaders, I learn all I can about them and make the best decision I can about how I should vote, involving the Spirit as much as possible. I don’t feel the same responsibility to do that when we are talking about an athlete or other celebrity, as I am emphatically not appointed to be a judge of athletes or celebrities and feel very uncomfortable with anyone who appoints themselves to be one. I believe such people will find, to their sadness, that what goes around comes around. There are more scriptural ways to say that, but it boils down to the same thing.

  95. Thomas Parkin says:



    I thought that the use of the word ‘nincompoops’ would couch my punch in a lighter hearted glove. Sorry for the misfire.

    But … of all the problems that we might face, why give one moment’s notice to Tiger Woods? Seems like throwing compost on the weeds, to me. People are imperfect; they will let us down – mothers, fathers, friends, spouses, bishops, let alone golf pros. It is tough enough to give those few truly close to us the get out of jail free card that we are asked to give them (how many times am I to forgive?), without spending one little drippling of psychic energy on considering, let alone finding ourselves in a position where we need to forgive, Tiger Woods. Only so much time in life, gotta pick and choose. Let his wife choose if she will / can forgive him.

    Should he (Tiger) have done better? Sure. Should he behave with a nod to his place in the public eye? Sure. But as for me and my house, we aren’t going to be paying much attention to what is _still_ none of our business. If I take as my business everything that the 24-hour news cycle takes as its business? … best just turn the darn thing off.

    Cool. ~

  96. MCQ,
    I’m sorry if you can’t see that the OP was meant to refer to more than just Tiger Woods–then I’m a frighteningly poor communicator, because to me it’s painfully obvious. From my perspective, I haven’t changed the subject at all–I’ve just expanded it, based on a single sentence that you wrote:

    He is a guy doing a job. his job happens to get far more public attention than most, and he happens to be far better at his job than most people are at theirs, but that’s it. His personal life is his own and his choices there are his own and should have no effect on how we feel about how he performs his job.

    In 94, you seem to want to limit this to Tiger Woods (“We aren’t talking about leaders here.”), but your quote clearly applies to virtually every person on the planet–just people doing their jobs–that is in the spotlight, and I can find no logical reason to think that you would change your quote above if we were talking about any other person “just doing their job.” Since you made that statement, I just expanded it to show what a bunch of baloney it is.

    If you don’t think that drug abuse is part of a private life–fine, I can see that with PEDs. What about child molestation? Smoking pot? Listening to rap music or the Spice Girls? How about Hideki Matsui, the all-star baseball player who likes to talk about the fact that he has the largest porn collection on earth? If there were a law against adultery, that would make all the difference for you here? Really? I don’t believe that “morality” is governed by the laws in any given land, so using “gross illegalities” as a definition of what constitutes fair play here is unfair.

    Bringing up political leaders is, again (sigh), not changing the subject at all, but rather just applying your OWN statement: “He is just a guy doing his job…His personal life is his own and his choices there are his own and should have no effect on how we feel about how he performs his job.”

    If that applies to Person A, then please explain why it doesn’t apply to Person B. You need to some how demonstrate why your statement changes when we insert a non-celebrity or even just a different celebrity.

    As far as being appointed to judge non-politicians, sorry–you lost me there. I think that we need to judge anything that potentially influences society for the better or the worse. Celebrities and athletes influence society, especially youth–and its moral foundations every bit as much–probably more than–as politicians do.

    As a parent, it is your obligation to judge the influences that come into your home–all of them. If you live in a magical world where your kids don’t idolize celebrities or athletes at all, then count yourself both lucky and exceptional, because that’s not the house I grew up in and it’s not the house any of my friends grew up in.

    At the end of the day, you want to say that what Tiger did was private, but it just wasn’t. It was very public. He got married publicly, had a child publicly, talked about being a family man publicly, and sent every possible signal to his sponsors, his peers, and his fans that he was every bit as wholesome as everybody thought he was.

  97. Thomas,

    But … of all the problems that we might face, why give one moment’s notice to Tiger Woods?

    Same as I said to MCQ–if you can’t infer that this same idea has application beyond Tiger Woods, then I apologize for being a horrible communicator. To me, it’s pretty obvious.

  98. Scott, this started out as a bit of a light-hearted post about whether God expected us to be morally outraged over TIGER. Yes, you limited it to him. I honestly don’t know why you’re turning into a tirade against anyone who ever sinned and how we ought to pillory them in public. Suffice it to say that I agree with nothing you said in your latest comments. I don’t believe in judging people unless we have a specific calling or charge to do so, and I believe we rarely do.

    But hey, I still think you’re pretty awesome, so maybe I am judging after all.

  99. MCQ,
    Tirade shmirade.

    This post was very, very simple, and it’s clear that I have not commnicated it well. Let me summarize:

    1. Sometimes people we respect do horrible, horrible things when we least expect it.

    2. Kids are influenced heavily by celebrities and athletes. (At least I was)

    3. I think it is important to not ignore the moral signals those celebrities and athletes send, whether it be about sex, drugs, money, clothing, religion, or anything else.

    That is really all there is to it. If you find that objectionable, then we just disagree, and I am comfortable with that.