Thursday, March 4, 2010

What about Tiger?

Regular readers of this blog may be wondering why I've been relatively silent about the Tiger Woods Debacle. I don't know exactly what else to call it. The Tiger Woods Affair? Makes it sound like The Thomas Crown Affair (anyone remember that movie? I actually liked the remake with Pierce Brosnan and Renee Russo, but I know that's off-topic).

Anyway, I know I've written before about whether or not Tiger deserves his privacy and/or how much scrutiny we should be focusing on him.

And then, about 2 weeks ago, we got Tiger's statement and apology:

Of course, various people weighed in--some critical of Tiger, some willing to be more measured in their assessment of him, and others who are critical of the public scrutiny and why the general public seem so obsessed with Tiger Woods.

So what do I think?


In many ways, I agree with the editorial that describes our "love affair" (obsession) with Tiger. I mean, yes, I'm a golf fan, but because I work on issues of race, I'm of course interested in the ways in which Tiger, as a mixed-race black-Asian golfer has stormed the white bastion of country clubs and PGA tournaments to dominate a sport that has such a racist (and sexist and homophobic and classist) past.

But...there is also a part of me that recognizes that we're talking about men chasing little white balls with long sticks on overly manicured grass. And yet, in the research I've done, the golf course is a power field--quite literally. There's so much power brokering that goes on, it'd be silly for any of us to dismiss golf as a sport and as a major brokering place for deals, large and small.

So thinking about the ways in which Tiger is part of this world--how he has shaped contemporary golf and how, in turn, golf has shaped him--and why folks are so obsessed about when he's going to return to the PGA--as if the PGA's success hinged on a single person. It is worth thinking about and especially in the blog out post-affairs, it's worth considering how his image has changed--and the ways in which he may be re-racialized. I still haven't read enough media coverage to weigh in completely about this, but there's something especially about the ways that people want to talk about his Buddhism that strikes me as a bit Orientalist. I can't quite put my finger on it--or more accurately, I'm not ready to really work it all out in this blog, but I do think that honing in on his Buddhism and connecting it to his mother seems a way to re-empahasize his Asianness.

Any thoughts?

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