The Mickelson-monogamy storyline is silly, but Woods made his personal life fair game with that atrocious Nike ad
God forbid Phil Mickelson has a Bombshell McGee in his closet. Let’s hope he’s never visited a Hooters. Because if he has, a lot of sportswriters are going to have to retract the dreck they’ve written calling Mickelson’s Masters victory a victory for monogamy — and, yes, for women.
I’ll let Ethan Sherwood Strauss run down all the silly prose linking Mickelson’s victory over Cheatin’ Tiger Woods to his standing by his wife, Amy, in her battle with breast cancer. Rick Reilly actually calls it “a lipstick sized victory” for women (note to Reilly: lipsticks are kind of small). Personally, I found the Mickelsons’ hug after the Masters win very moving, especially given what they’ve been through together. But I wasn’t aware that men standing by their wives with breast cancer was a rare occurrence (my own father did it 40 years ago, back before there were sensitive new age guys). And I likewise didn’t know nice guys actually finish first. If Woods had won, would that be a victory for nailing every cocktail waitress in sight?
Still, I couldn’t help thinking Woods had some of this coming — not when he was revealed to be a cheater (that’s none of my business) but when he used his dead father, Earl, in his Nike comeback ad. Until then, I mostly resisted moralizing. I found his February apology — his recommitment to Buddhism, his insisting he was still out of golf, his long embrace with his mother — believable and moving. So I admit I felt a little punked when he announced his return so soon (and hired Iraq war salesman Ari Fleischer to boot). But, whatever, it’s his business.
Then, when he not only used his father in the Nike ad, but worse, asked the world to participate in his alleged story of redemption — “Have you learned anything?” — all to sell some Nike gear? I felt like, what the hell, Tiger’s made his whole mess our business. Have you learned anything, Tiger? I sort of doubt it.
OK, moralizing over. But with that ad, Woods gave up his privacy and made himself fair game. People are going to be asking him “have you learned anything?” for a long time — and making funny mash-ups of that ad, too. My favorite Tweet Sunday came from the always hilarious pourmecoffee, who joked that Earl Woods was now asking: “How do you miss that putt? I’m a ghost and I could make that. Let’s go to Hooters.”
Joan Walsh is Salon's editor at large and the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America." More Joan Walsh.
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You know about his Masters wins and, now, his infidelity. Tiger Woods, the most successful American golfer of our time, put his marriage in jeopardy when his wife, Elin Nordegren, found out about his mistresses.