You know you’ve been living in Europe far too long when you still cannot believe that (yet) another famous American man is held up to public ridicule for his private indiscretions. People coast to coast express their dismay, shake their heads, wag those fingers – it truly brings home the idea that this country was, indeed, founded by those early ‘Puritans’.
An Italian friend wrote to me, ‘I stand by Tiger’. And that pretty much sums up what most Europeans think of this truly American spectacle. Looking at many a politician, never mind a sports figure: Mussolini, Berlusconi, Sarkozy, heck – even a stripper elected in her ‘party of love’. The spectacle grows even more spectacular when we are onlookers (or peeping Toms) while the politician’s career explodes and his family life implodes into a front page view of blue dresses and cigars, airport bathrooms, mistresses, and Las Vegas porn stars.
I got to thinking that it may be that many of Tiger Woods’ sponsors have dropped or will drop him [Accenture’s ads, exhorting you to ‘Be a Tiger’ has decidedly taken on new meaning], he probably has a pretty good career ahead of him as a spokesperson in Europe – from golf courses to even Berlusconi’s own media empire, soccer club and more! Italians didn’t think twice when Pavarotti, after being fined for tax fraud, soon became the face of Monte dei Paschi (or Monte dei Pacchi, as I like to call them). Europeans simply keep private matters private, and, seeing Tiger’s transgressions overtaking real news all week, I’m all for it.
But, I must confess, I enjoy all of the Tiger jokes, the double entendres, and even what one sports columnist described as the now creepy (or totally hot, depending on how you look at it) PGA motto, “These guys are good.”
As for Nike, I think they’re sticking to Tiger and their moniker, “Just Do It”. Now there’s putting a face behind the brand.