Tiger Woods, Presidential Role Model

Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 1 2009 12:55 PM

Tiger Woods, Presidential Role Model

Tiger Woods is being called a sext-happy philanderer by the National Enquirer , is getting hounded by the Florida Highway Patrol , and is facing the possibility that his wife could go to jail for domestic abuse. On the plus side, Woods made the cover of the upcoming issue of Golf Digest . The cover line: "10 Tips Obama Can Take From Tiger." The inside of the magazine features a slightly unfortunate pullquote: "For everyone's sake, Woods should encourage Obama to shield his game from the public." Uh, that's his golf game.

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Full disclosure: Back in October, I compared Obama's Nobel Peace Prize to Woods' 1996 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year award. While I stand by that comparison, Woods' behavior this week—clamming up, dodging the cops, and pulling a no show at his own golf tournament —hasn't quite been presidential. Nevertheless, Golf Digest , which depicts Woods as the president's caddy, argues that Obama might learn from the golfer's mastery of "the quick recovery." Tiger is "a good role model," David Owen explains, "because he has always been able to pull himself together after setbacks." Woods also comes in for praise due to his agility with the press. (An illustrative quote from the cagey star: "My dad taught me that when I'm asked a question, I have control of the answer.") And Joe Queenan argues that Obama could benefit most from a Woods-like agility with image control. "Tiger never does anything that would make him look ridiculous," he writes.

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Bret Hopman, Golf Digest 's publicist, explains that the magazine went to press well before Woods' Nov. 27 car crash. Hopman emphasizes that the issue focuses on how the Obama administration should embrace golf due to the game's positive impact on the economy. There's also a complementary list of 10 things Woods can learn from Obama. "It's about two great leaders in their fields, both with their strengths and both obviously have their shortcomings," Hopman says.

Josh Levin is Slate's executive editor.

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