Home » NASCAR - Sprint Cup Series

Woody: Drivers Should Learn From Tiger Tale

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, December 16 2009
Drivers can find out in a hurry that there is no separation of private and public life. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Drivers can find out in a hurry that there is no separation of private and public life. (File photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Larry Woody | Senior Writer

It’s always amusing to hear celebrities who earn millions by being famous complain when their fame becomes bothersome and inconvenient.

Tiger Woods, caught with his paw in the cookie jar, is arguably the country’s most recognized sports figure, yet he seems to think that for some reason he’s entitled to absolute privacy when he demands it.

That gives us some idea of how naïve, how sheltered, how utterly clueless these people are when it comes to Life in the Real World. Celebrity is a double-edged sword. Fame can’t be turned on and off like a faucet.

The reason why Tiger is a billionaire is because his fame landed him a stack of lucrative endorsements. Now that fame has turned to torment as he finds himself trapped in a lurid sex scandal.

The same corporate sponsors who once salivated over Tiger are now scrambling to distance themselves from him. He’s a tainted Tiger.

While NASCAR has never faced a tabloid drama of such proportions – although Jeff Gordon’s breakup with a former Miss Winston came close – Tiger’s plight does bring to mind recurring complaints by some drivers.

They believe they are entitled to privacy whenever they want it. Like Tiger, they have no problem cashing in on being a celebrity and enjoying the fruits of fame when it’s convenient. When it’s not, they expect to be left alone.

It doesn’t work that way.

They can’t be a national celebrity one day and Joe Sixpack the next. Maybe it’s unfair but that’s the way it is. It’s called taking the bad with the good.

Danica Patrick, for example, will be living life in a fishbowl when she joins NASCAR next year. She’s already a major celebrity and her fame will explode 10-fold with all the NASCAR exposure. If she burps in public it’ll be splashed on the tabloids.

We’ve all heard race drivers complain about not being able to go out in public with their family without being badgered by fans. That’s unfortunate but such are the wages of fame.

If someone can’t take the heat they shouldn’t be working in the kitchen. Joe Sixpack, working a 9-to-5 job for minimum wage, isn’t bothered when he goes out in public.

When it’s convenient, celebrities love the fan adulation and the warm glow of the spotlight – and of course those big juicy paychecks aren’t bad either. They won’t/can’t give it up.

Same with Tiger. If he were some unknown duffer hacking his way around a public course, nobody would care about his personal life and infidelities. But because he’s Tiger everybody’s intrigued.

I suppose that in a perfect world a sports star should be able to do his job – on a golf course, football field, basketball court or racetrack – then retire to the gated seclusion of his private life. But the world’s not perfect and it doesn’t work that way. Celebrities don’t punch a time clock.

They can’t have it both ways. That’s the high price of fame. Any superstar who thinks otherwise is kidding himself.

Let the superstar beware. That warm glow of the spotlight can get pretty hot.

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, December 16 2009


  • boomer douglas says:

    Why is the elaphant in the room not being discussed; that elaphant is Jr. He has made a career and a life out of “cashing” in on his daddy’s fame and then crying like a little baby when he does not want the mic in his face. Jr has split up a marraige and the press has given him a pass. I think that for whatever reason Jr gets constand “gushing” from the press. Maybe because the rednecks that support Jr don’t care about morals.

    Jr is the biggest disgrace to sports period!

  • HildaBeachfront says:

    Larry, HildaBeachfront usually reads your articles…but this one…???? Questions…WHY the picture of Jeremy Mayfield? Tiger’s picture should be up there. Most of this article is about Tiger…well, Tiger lived his life as he wanted to…and now has to pay for whatever he done. You should go into the lives of bzfrance,dr black for what they have done to Jeremy Mayfield? Don’t you think that just maybe there could be some bottles maybe being switched…no body went with the people that tested the bottles…really no proff…They lie and cover up lots of things, so..Lots think that a mistake was made, but with the mess of reporters there..the story broke..ruining a good mans racing career…Oh yes, the hours before taking a test..well there was a film crew with Jeremy every moment..but that got twisted and turned in the press.and yes,because some people who should of been on top of it weren’t..,so more crap added to Jeremy.I made this post because Jeremy is innocent of the bogas charges.Jeremy lives a clean life and has had it turned upside down.Do some checking into other people to see why they want Jeremy forever branded something that he’s not.In the end you all will see that Jeremy is innocent.For money can buy silence and appeals can stop some process for awhile, but soon you all will see the truth.

    • Marc says:

      “You should go into the lives of bzfrance,dr black for what they have done to Jeremy Mayfield?”

      And their lives are relevant to a suspended driver? How is that so?

      Let me guess, you have read and heard that Dr. Black was part of the Tim Richmond affair?

      If so you’re so ill-informed as to be pathetic. That crap is an urban legend, don’t think so contact me I’ll send you the U.S. Congressional Record documents that prove it.

      I’d also guess you are also happy that France’s divorce records have been unsealed, to which I say… so what. They would have any bearing on Mayfield’s case. It’s just another case of Mayfield dragging personal matters into a courtroom as he did during the Evernham case.

    • Marc says:

      And BTW, this following passage proves you are ill informed: “Don’t you think that just maybe there could be some bottles maybe being switched…no body went with the people that tested the bottles…”

      Sorry, all three positive tests were witnessed by no less than one individual, some had more than one, and all those that witnessed the samples being given have filed sworn affidavits stating such.

      BTW “HildaBeachfront” Mayfield claims the test taken in early July and tested by his lab of choice came back negative for ALL drugs.

      As we know, or should know, the drug combo he claims to have taken will pop positive for amphetamine. [although a diff chemical makeup and is easy to distinquich from Methamphetmine]

      Why than did the document filed with the court plainly state NO GRUG of any kind was found in his system considering Mayfield and his lawyer clearly said he was still taking the drug combo at that time?

      Again, you don’t believe me, fine I’ll gladly send you the official court document in pdf format.

  • djones says:

    If no one cared about a celebrity’s personal life, why are there morals clauses in their contracts?

    Had Tiger just had one fling, maybe this wouldn’t be such a big media circus. But 14?????????? He’s getting what he deserves.

  • RAEckart says:

    So Larry, do members of the brotherhood of sportswriters get a free pass when they screw up? Are they public figures because they’re in the media, too?

    Was looking for your article about New Hampshire Union Leader sportswriter Kevin Provencher’s indictment on running a prostitution ring. After all, Kevin wrote about NASCAR, and just like Tiger or Jeremy Mayfield, this would be very interesting to NASCAR followers. Truly, an indictment like no other.

    Occam’s razor cuts both ways.

  • Rachel says:

    It is amusing how naive, sheltered, and clueless the media are about sports stars and other assorted celebrities. The fact that someone can hit a golf ball, drive a car fast, or sing a song does not imply that they are perfect in their personal lives. Yet, the media pretends to be shocked and disgusted when one of their own creations turns out to be imperfect. And worse yet, the media is so abosrbed in its own importance that they assume that when any race car driver, golfer, or singer refuses an interview, that is also newsworthy in itself.

    Get real. The people aren’t nearly as naive as you seem to think we are. Tiger’s wife should care about this mess. The people who paid him millions in product endorsements to pretend to be larger than life also have a right to care. I don’t care.

  • Richard in N.C. says:

    Now when is the media going to report on which members of the media knew about Tiger’s alleged indiscretions and, in essence, helped enable them to continue by keeping quiet in their own self-interest? What Tiger is alleged to have done was wrong, but I don’t believe it is my business to the extent the media has pursued the story, at least in part to deflect attention from its complicity. Where was the media outrage when Steve Phillips of ESPN had to admit that he had done something similar and, apparently, endangered his family as a result?

  • Steve says:

    Disagree completely with this article. Tiger Woods’s personal life has nothing to do with being famous and getting paid millions from endorsements and golf. So he has no one to answer to except his sponsors, the PGA, and his spouse. And these sponsors that dropped him that you speak of made a huge mistake. When this blows over, they will want Tiger back. Here’s hoping Tiger tells them what to do with their money.

    Not sure what this article has to do with Nascar, except interject a little Tiger bashing and calling it a Nascar article by mentioning a few racing comments.

    • Marc says:

      Steve “Disagree completely with this article. Tiger Woods’s personal life has nothing to do with being famous and getting paid millions from endorsements and golf.”

      So you’re saying the image portrayed both by Tiger and the media as a “straight laced” all American boy that you can trust in his every word to the point of spending hard earned cash for his endorsed products has nothing to do with the amount he gets paid for said endorsements?

      Might I suggest you read Accenture’s statement when they announced dropping him as a spokesman. In part it said Tiger is: “no longer the right representative” after the “circumstances of the last two weeks.”

      Put simply his image is no longer what it was and he’s tossed under the bus.