Tiger Shanks it in the Woods

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I recently wrote a sports editorial piece for a local paper here in middle Tennessee, the I-24 Exchange.  For your convenience, I thought I’d re-post it here on my blog, though you can also find it HERE.  Keep in mind…this was written last Thursday, before the news of Tiger’s indefinite leave from the game of golf.

Tiger Shanks it in the Woods

Tiger Woods

Unless you live in a hole, you’ve heard the news about “the greatest golfer of all time.”  Tiger Woods was taken to the hospital for an accident he had in his SUV just outside of his Ocoee, FL, home, at 2:25 AM on Friday, December 2nd (momma always said that nothing good happens after midnight).

It was suspected that Tiger was driving under the influence that night.  Rumors of marital troubles between he and his wife, Elin, only led to confirmation of years of infidelity on Tiger’s part. Elin, at this point seems to be sticking around…for the kids.  His sponsors are sticking with him (though who knows for how long).

Tiger’s life is spinning out of control.  To say that more accurately, Tiger’s life has already spun out of control.  He’s reaping the fruit of years of poor decisions.

Why are we as a society drawn to stories where people’s lives seem to be spiraling into an absolute dumpster fire?  Maybe it helps us to feel better about our own life. Maybe we see ourselves somewhere in the story.  Maybe it’s because we have a morbid fascination with the failure of others. Maybe we’re just thankful it’s not us.

Tiger messed up.  But so have I.  And so have you.  None of us have lived a life immune from bad decisions and moral failures.  Tiger, on his website, says, “I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect.”  You may, or may not, have cheated on your spouse, but you’re not perfect either.  I’d venture to guess that, at least one point in your life, you’ve been in need of someone’s forgiveness.  You were guilty, and there was no denying it.

There’s hardly a greater feeling in life than being forgiven.  To be granted a fresh start.  To have your slate wiped clean.   It’s as if a heavy, unbearable burden has been lifted off of you.

Is Tiger’s career over?  Is he going to be counted as “the greatest golfer of all time?”  Or has this exposure marred his fame and fortune forever?  Only time can tell.

But instead of our eyes and hearts that are quick to judge, and quick to thirst for more and more dirt, maybe we would be better off extending grace and forgiveness.  Tiger doesn’t deserve that.  But by very definition grace is not deserved.  It is not earned.  It’s granted by the one who has been wronged.

I vote to give him a second chance.  And I’m thankful that others have done the same for me.


Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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  • Kris

    amen ben. i would rather we all pray for them than glory in their pain. they are just human like us (just better at golfing and maybe modelling, although that can be debated–haha!) i wrote a note on forgiveness pretty recently too on fb. check it out when you can. we are getting really excited about small group next month:)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Benlreed Ben Reed

      We can't wait to have you guys in our group!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=561529284 Brad Anderson

    It seems that everybody is shocked that Tiger is actually human. I believe grace and forgiveness is the right approach. I feel grace can be a better motivator to change than condemnation. I know that it has been for me.

    Yours truly,

    No less a sinner than Tiger

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Benlreed Benlreed

      Good point, Brad. We put these athletes (and movie stars, etc.) on pedestals, holding them up as our role models. We're setting ourselves up for failure when we do that. Like you said. Tiger's a human.

  • mary jane ross

    wonderful writing and great thoughts..I just hope that Tiger repents (changes) and comes back to golf as the greatest player of this sport and and lives up to this image in all aspects of his life..time will tell..just pray for him and his family…

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Benlreed Benlreed

      I do too, Mary Jane. I'd love to see him reconcile with his family, and make a complete comeback to golf.

  • Lindsey Radcliffe

    Not to go on a tangent but Tiger Woods is not the greatest player that ever lived, look the Babe or Bobby Jones Jr. who battled chronic illness, got a masters from Harvard and a law degree while set the records and not to mention Francis Wemet who won a major before the age Tiger did. All these ppl have amazing stories of coming from nothing. Tiger came from the suburbs. But then again all of these people came to the game before money did. As Bob Jones said "It will one day be the ruination of the game". Unfortunately money breeds entitlement and selfishness which is found common place in the game these days. When will we see the game for what it is? When will we quit worshiping people and breeding this pride and arrogance that these athletes are more than human? Trust me these athletes don't want this pressure…..