Scandal & Idol

July 5, 2017

Expert Robert Bicknell digs into Tiger’s recent scandal and its impact on the legend’s position as a role model for kids and young golfers. 

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I really don’t want to write about this particular topic, but the editors insisted on it. Frankly, I don’t believe in kicking a man when he’s down, not even Tiger Woods.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave or in a location where the sharks love to eat undersea internet cables, you will have already heard the news that Tiger Woods was arrested on suspicion of DUI (Driving Under [the] Influence) and his field sobriety test was vivid proof.

No, it wasn’t alcohol because Tiger blew a perfect 0.000 on the breathalyzer. He said it was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medication he was taking following his back surgery. He claimed he had a prescription for four different drugs including Vicodin (which is troublesome all by itself).

He is now going to rehab – again. With all this going on, the question arises: “Should professional athletes be role models for today’s kids?”

Professionals in different sports are prone to outbursts of anger, violence, drug abuse, domestic abuse, cheating and just being a complete assclown at times. They’re human and mistakes happen.

This is not to say that all professional athletes are like that. Muhammad Ali, Bobby Orr and Arnold Palmer, to name but a few, were stellar role models. I cannot remember anything they did in or out of the spotlight which could have tainted their reputations. No matter where they were, they were class acts. They knew people looked up to them and acted accordingly.

One of the problems with holding up professional athletes as role models is they often fail. Yes, kids can learn something from watching how their heroes react to failure, but most often than not, many pros don’t lose gracefully anymore. There’s too much money at stake.

I would hope the best role model for any child would, of course, be their parents. That’s where character building takes place first and foremost, but sadly not all parents are good role models.

Yes, I can imagine many readers believe themselves to be great role models, but ask yourself what your child is learning when he/she sees you speeding in your car, then trying to intimidate the police officer who caught you? Or how about any of the other times you used your position or wealth to get an advantage you didn’t actually earn or deserve? How many times did you cheat at golf and patted yourself on the back for not getting caught?

Your child sees these things and remembers them. So, don’t complain later when your kid acts the same way, but gets caught. Yes, I know, some are thinking “if that happened, I would use my wealth/influence to get him/her off the hook.”

Sorry, but if that’s the way you look at things, you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem and you’re teaching your kids to act the same way.

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Golf used to be considered an ideal vehicle for helping transform children into good citizens, but like everything, it too has been tainted. In a survey, most big corporation CEOs admitted to cheating on the golf course.

We watched Tiger Woods kicking clubs and dropping the “F-bomb” everywhere to the point they stopped pointing microphones at him. John Daly was a crowd favorite due

John Daly was a crowd favorite due to his on-course antics, 357-yard drives punctuated with cigarettes, club throwing and quitting when things got rough. He’s improved since then, but people will remember him for drunken antics.

Tiger Woods’ downfall should be a wake-up call for, not only other professional players, but all people as well. If it could happen to someone who conceivably had everything, it could happen to you. Sure, you will not make headlines when you fall, but there will be innocent victims.

When I worked at VGCC (Thu Duc) in the late 90s, cheating was the norm. Players would win tournaments with net scores in the 50s and claim the prize without a hint of shame. Local players would run rampant, intimidate staff until they got what they wanted.

I put a stop to that and took a lot of heavy heat. People who are used to bullying and intimidating others don’t like it when people stand up to them. Fortunately, three prominent members of society/government in the Saigon Golf Club understood what I was trying to do and supported me 100%.

VGCC overcame that and became known for honest handicaps and tournaments, which shows that people can change. Golf can be a role model and builder for your kids.

But, it starts with you.

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