Tiger's tale - Macleans.ca

Tiger’s tale

COLBY COSH: Why didn’t Woods’s story about kindergarten assault raise any eyebrows before now?


Isn’t it pretty startling that no one made a big deal about this widely published accusation by Tiger Woods until now?

Retired teacher Maureen Decker emerged yesterday from Woods’ sordid past to say that a story he’s told about being brutalized by racist kids on his first day of kindergarten was pure bunk. “I am asking Tiger for a private and public apology to put my mind at ease and set the record straight,” said Decker, a smiling 69-year-old.

Decker ripped a recollection from Woods that appeared in a book written by his buddy, former NBA star Charles Barkley, and which he repeated in an interview with Barbara Walters. “A group of sixth graders tied me to a tree, spray-painted the word ‘n—-‘ on me, and threw rocks at me,” he said. “That was my first day of school. And the teacher really didn’t do much of anything.”

Decker said that account is “false” and thinks Woods’ late dad, Earl, cooked it up for “more publicity.”

Maybe the sporting press just didn’t get around to reading Barkley’s book? I’d hate to consider the alternative—that they were just too cowardly to raise a fuss about a bizarre, defamatory claim by a wealthy sociopath. Tiger’s story would be believable if it featured in the biography of a Jesse Owens or a Wilma Rudolph, maybe even an Earl Woods. But Tiger went to kindergarten in a perfectly nice Orange County suburb in 1981. California’s celebrity grievance-hunter, Gloria Allred, is representing Decker; she was around in ’81! Who can doubt that she would have literally parachuted into the city of Cypress if a hate crime like this had taken place?

I don’t suppose Tiger meant any harm to his teachers or the reputation of his hometown. We all have “memories” that didn’t happen, or didn’t happen to us. The story’s not even hard to believe if you edit out the spray-painting as an embellishment. Woods had already been on The Mike Douglas Show and That’s Incredible by the time he started school, and his father almost literally believed him to be, and encouraged him to think of himself as, Christ resurrected with a pitching wedge in his hands. Kid like that is gonna get rocks, and cruel words, chucked at him from time to time. What’s disturbing is the lack of self-consciousness with which Tiger told the story as an adult.

That, and, of course, the obvious absence of strong public-relations advice that has been so apparent throughout his long cold winter. A proper consigiliere should have been available to scrutinize Tiger’s Barkley manuscript, ask him “Are you a hundred percent certain this happened the way you’ve told it?”, and explain to him that although he is a legitimate (even underrated) symbol of racial progress, he probably shouldn’t try to put on the mantle of Jackie Robinson or Muhammad Ali. But Tiger has only ever had one advisor he trusted, and Earl is no longer around.


Tiger’s tale

  1. Gee, Colby, you going for some sort of record on posts that have "Tiger" in the title? I guess it's better than Ann Coulter posts, but still …

    • Nah, Aaron "prorogue" Wherry's got them all beat with his favourite topic of all time.

      Besides, don't recall Cosh posting on adulterer Woods all that often.

      • Wherry on Khadr
        Wherry on Colvin

        I actually counted once (I know, I should have better things to do)… over 150 posts on Khadr. Colvin was close to that number as well.

  2. So for the record, Tiger's claim is absolutely false and actionable, not just "suspicious" or "contradicted by other sources"? At least partially because such things simply did not happen in upscale neighbourhoods in the early 80s?

  3. Besides, as anybody who has ever been wronged in the past knows, if a guy suddenly came upon $675,000,000,000,000 the people who hurt him in the past would suddenly come across all manner of accidental deaths, humiliating financial ruin, and painfully disfiguring wacky coincidences involving acid. If the number of Tiger Woods schoolchums suffering such a fate today numbers less than 5, the incident clearly never took place.

    • You wrote $675 trillion – that's six zeros too many. You probably meant $675 million. ;-)

      • No, I meant $314,000,000,000,000,000. The point isn't to provide an fact-checkable account of Tiger Wood's on-hand cash inventory but to illustrate that we all know exactly what we would do if given an insanely large sum of resources. Even non-sociopaths get goosebumps thinking about a financial shell company bankrupting that asshat Wade who was such a jerk on the playground, so if Tiger had been done so wrong he'd take care of things right quick, if our new image of his personality is remotely accurate.

        • You, sir, are a very troubled young man.

  4. I wonder how much credibility this woman would have had before Wood's lack of moral character was exposed six months ago. Nobody would have believed her, and they'd probably call her a racist, too. Now, who believes him?

  5. Earl Woods has always been a shady character, and he didn't just encourage Tiger to play golf, he marketed him from the day the kid was 2 years old. He sold the kid to multibillion dollar corporations at age 18, and they've controlled every second of media he's received for about a decade now.

    I'm not normally a conspiracy theorist, but Tiger's image has been probably the most controlled, and expensive, public image of all time. And it's blowing up. And it probably won't stop any time soon.

    The golf media will try to protect him as much as they possibly can, simply because every one of them knows their livelihood revolves around him. But the TMZ's, etc. will hound this guy till the end of time now. They are despicable vultures, but they are very good at what they do.

    My PREDICTION is that he fails miserably at the Masters, and goes back into hiding for a while.

    • I'd honestly like to see him have the best tournament of his life. Not because I care about him or golf, but because I'd like to see what happens when the culture gets a reason to like him again, and then has to ask itself some uncomfortable questions.

  6. Making up a racist event should be a hate crime just as the commission of one is.

    • Neither is acceptable, but are you actually saying that tying someone to a tree and spray painting them is as bad as saying "when I was a kid, some guys tied me to a tree and spray painted me"? Really?

      • If it's a lie, why wouldn't it be as bad? Falsely accusing someone of hate is itself hate, isn't it?

        • Uh, because one actually, y'know, happened.


          • Yes, and the other HAPPENED too. As in reputations destroyed, consequences etc.

          • It's been my observation that the left likes to use the tactic of knee-jerk accusations of racism and the like, so maybe that's why Mr. Mike T. doesn't see a difference.

          • Uh, I'm the one who DOES see a difference here.

            I feel like such a fool for even paying attention to what you write.

          • Both are examples of hate, but you don't see it that way. I guess because you prefer one as a political tactic, right?

          • What about falsely accusing people of anti-semitism? Do you see any problem with that?

          • I love that after you jump on 'reputations destroyed' (when in Tigers case it doesn't appear any names were even, you know, named), the best you can come up with is "consequences, etc.".

            Look there's a difference between an actual committed crime and a crime wrongly alleged to have happened years in the past. There's like, orders of bloody magnitude, kiddo. One isn't even a criminal act, yeesh (it's the second one, for anyone having trouble).

          • Actually, the name of the school is known, as well ad the grade, so by extension people would know who the teacher was, and whose implicated in Tiger's hate accusation.

            Who cares when it happened? A false hate accusation is often more devastating than an actual act committed. The victims are falsely turned into perpetrators, and all in the name of spreading hate.

            Yet you seem to condone this. Not surprising coming from the left these days. You want to be able to say anything you want, but throw opponents into jail. lol. Great tolerant agenda you got there.

          • Are you claming that Tiger is a member of the vast left-wing conspiracy that you constantly refer to?

  7. I don't think it's worth believing a word that comes from Tiger. He's credibility has been blown to bits.

  8. I grew up in a peaceful community right here in Canada, and even though I'm dark skinned I am not of African heritage but before everyone discredits Tiger Woods story I want to share that I was often called "nigger" and in fact in my high school gym class (in the 1990's) it became a nickname until I had enough and took it upon myself to end the name – my teachers stood on the sidelines while many students in that class called me "nigger". The have been many other times when hateful things have been spewed, so before anyone wants to discredit Tigers story as being a thing of the past I want you to know that it still happened in the 1990's in nice communities right here in Canada.

  9. Tigers mistress–the p@@@ star–Joselyn James is going to be watching his press conference live according the the CNN HLN Show "Issues." They are going to monitor his words and her reaction. That girl is getting more and more bizarre so it should be interesting. Jane Velez-Mitchell (the host of "Issues") didn't hold back on her last time she was on the show–saying "What do you want? What do you WANT?!"