Somebody once wrote that there’s no such thing as a flattering mugshot.
It may not be absolutely true. There’s probably one out there, somewhere, that looks pretty good. But it’s mostly true, and it was certainly true of Tiger Woods, whose mugshot after he was arrested for being asleep at the wheel of his car has appeared all over the place, because that is what happens to a mugshot these days if the subject is famous. Or notorious. Or both.
Tiger Woods is famous for being an extremely accomplished golfer.
He is notorious for having lots of partners who were neither golfers nor his wife.
He is famous and notorious for trying to regain his touch with a golf club despite a lot of injuries and surgeries you would not wish on anybody, even if you are the sort of person who enjoys looking at the mugshots of people whom you used to envy.
I don’t know if the dead eyes in that mugshot are the result of alcohol – as the initial report had it – or the result of a bad combination of pain medications – as Tiger Woods has said – or the result of despair at the failure of various surgeons to fix what was not-so-long-ago a fit and flexible body. Maybe those dead eyes are the result of all three.
Whatever the case, I’m thinking there’s a downside to being so good at something when you’re a teenager that your father tells anybody who’ll listen that you’re going to heal the world, and some people find him convincing. You’re that good.
And I’m thinking that after you’ve won almost everything you’re going to win, and then suddenly that body you’ve built starts to balk at what you’re asking it to do, again and again, it must be a nasty development and a confusing one, because you’re still a young guy.
I’m also thinking that after you’ve heard enough people say you’re going to be the greatest there ever was at something – never mind that the “something” is winning golf tournaments rather than curing cancer or leveling out climate change – after you’ve heard enough people say it, you probably believe it.
And then where are you when it doesn’t happen? Where are you when the doctors, one after another, assure you they can get you back on the course, good as new, and they don’t do it?
You’re in a mugshot, is where you are, and if you’re famous and notorious, that mugshot is everywhere, and I, for one, wouldn’t wish that on anybody, and I hope you wouldn’t, either.
This article was originally published on June 01, 2017.
This segment aired on June 1, 2017.