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Hey Tiger, just walk away
Dear Tiger Woods:
I wish you would retire. It's the only solution.
That's not advice. I'm not even sure it's what I would do if I was in your position. It's simply what I feel 24 hours before your news conference announcement. Take your golf clubs, go home and raise your kids. Don't let for-profit "journalists" turn you into Michael Jackson. Walk away.
I know, it sounds crazy. It sounds weak, a white flag waved in the direction of the paparazzi. It sounds like what a quitter would do. It sounds like something your harshest critic would suggest.
Truth is, I'm one of your biggest fans.
I cared nothing about golf until you crashed the PGA Tour. Now, my greatest thrill in sports is seeing your name atop the leaderboard at a major championship. I'd rather watch you play 18 holes than see Kobe and LeBron in the fourth quarter of the NBA Finals or Manning and Favre clash in the Super Bowl.
The passionate sports fan in me wants you back out on the course chasing Jack Nicklaus' legacy. The defiant competitor in me wants you to come back more focused and determined and win a dozen more majors by your 40th birthday.
But I'm also the same guy who wanted Michael Jackson to top Thriller.
They say records are made to be broken. You can say the same thing about people, especially famous ones.
Tiger, you're now trapped inside the belly of the beast. Capitalism has perverted journalism to the point that fairness, accuracy and privacy are all irrelevant. Bloggers and media corporations working in conjunction with porn stars, strippers and undiscovered reality TV hos can all make money exploiting your personal life.
This is never going to change. You could fire Stevie Williams, make Elin your caddie and keep her by your side at all times and the tabloid media will still publish the allegations of every moderately attractive woman looking for her 15 minutes.
Just last week, a porn star claimed you impregnated her twice. She says she miscarried one of the babies, aborted the other and never told you about either. Wow. A DVD prostitute with no proof is an unimpeachable source on your sex life.
Again, that's not really advice. It's just what I'm feeling today. I'm tired of watching SportsCenter and hearing hypocrites (Tom Watson) comment about what you should do. I'm weary of logging onto Facebook and Twitter and reading the latest salacious story about you and a cocktail waitress.
A pedophile priest and a philandering minister seemingly suffer less scorn than a married golfer who plays other holes with his long iron. OK, that's an exaggeration and moves me away from my real point.
Can you properly raise your kids in this new environment?
I don't think so. The paparazzi are a permanent companion now. You're Britney Woods. Before your Thanksgiving car accident, you were occasionally able to live a somewhat "normal" life.
Never again. The spotlight on you, Elin and your two kids is going to burn hot for as long as you stay in the game. You could do weekly chats with Oprah, Dr. Phil and Ellen, write monthly, heartfelt apologies on your web site and host quarterly media parties with Charles Barkley and none of it would stop the media from trying to profit off your personal life.
The only permanent solution is to quit playing competitive golf.
Jim Brown and Barry Sanders retired in their primes. It wouldn't be unprecedented.
In two years, the paparazzi would find another athlete to exploit or TMZ would go back to strictly covering Hollywood celebrities who court the tabloids for additional fame.
CONTACT JASON WHITLOCK
In two years, you'd have a "normal" life again. You could devote the second half of your working life to the Tiger Woods Foundation and making a difference in the lives of kids.
Golf just isn't that important. Nicklaus' major-championships record isn't as important as it once seemed. You've proved you're the greatest golfer the PGA Tour has ever seen. Nicklaus is the most accomplished. You're the greatest.
I'm a fan. More than likely, I'm going to support whatever you say on Friday. You know what's best for you and your family more than I do.
But there's no reason to fear retirement. You don't need golf. Golf needs you. The media need you. Satisfy your needs and the needs of your children.
You can e-mail Jason at BallState0@aol.com or follow him on Twitter.