Local News

Tiger's image contributes to public's curiosity

Posted December 2, 2009 4:58 p.m. EST
Updated December 2, 2009 7:23 p.m. EST

— Tiger Woods' apology for "transgressions" that let down his family have caused a media frenzy and spurred debate and curiosity on the Internet about just what those transgressions might be.

"I am not without faults, and I am far short of perfect," he wrote Wednesday in a statement posted on his Web site, trying to quiet swirling rumors about what led to an early-morning crash outside his Florida home on Friday. "I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family."

The comments come the same day "US Weekly" reported a story that alleges the world's No. 1 professional golfer had a 31-month affair with a 24-year-old cocktail waitress and left a voicemail message asking her to remove her name off the her phone in case his wife called.

Woods certainly is not the first professional athlete accused of cheating, but some who know him say his seemingly pristine reputation has contributed to the public's hunger to know more.

"In this country, we put athletes on a pedestal, and so it’s big news whenever there's a crack in that pedestal," said Ed Ibarguen, general manager and PGA director of golf at Duke University Golf Club in Durham. "Perhaps, we're expecting too much. He's a human being, after all. He's going to make mistakes."

Ibarguen met Woods through his longtime golf student and close friend, NBA basketball player Michael Jordan.

"He was intelligent, bright, polite – showed all of the characteristics that you'd like to see in your heroes," he said of their first meeting. "As a professional golfer, I have the utmost respect for him, because he is the Babe Ruth of golf."

But not unlike Jordan bouncing back after gambling rumors surfaced, Ibarguen thinks the public will ultimately forgive Woods and allow him to continue in his role as a golf superstar.

"For me personally, I'm not interested in the details," he said. "I just say, 'Apology accepted, and try and do better.'"