Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My part in tearing down Tiger Woods

"Zoology major catches a Tiger," I joked.

The quip popped out of my mouth as quickly as it had entered my mind. It bounced out seconds after a coworker found Tiger Woods' latest apparent mistress was from right here in Escondido, our paper's headquarters -- and had hoped to study animals in college.

I had no idea my words would spread across the newsroom like wildfire -- and end up as the lead of my coworker's story. But now, just a few hours later and the story already on our Web site, I fear I've unwittingly slung one more arrow in Tiger Woods wounded image.

The image of the world's greatest golfer has been torn to pieces since the day after Thanksgiving, when he crashed his car outside his Florida mansion. Subsequent rumors say he was speeding away after a fight with his wife over his infidelity.

Now, granted, if the rumors are true, I won't worry so much about Woods' wounded image -- he'll deserve at least some wounds.

But no one, no matter how unfaithful they might have been, deserves the frenetic feeding the media and its consumers have unleashed on Tiger Woods.

I admit I'm fascinated by it all. In a very sick way. I had been trying to avoid the story, but I found myself this afternoon Googling away about it -- even ventured to the TMZ.com website to find out about our local angle.

But where should all this curiosity end? Will it end?

There was even a media stakeout today at the childhood home of this second alleged mistress, Jaime Grubbs, an Escondido High School graduate.

I feel conflicted in that my industry is leading the charge on destroying Woods. And while that pains me, I'm as guilty as anyone now with my quip and my fascination for the story.

I'm not sure how I'll respond should my editor ask that I follow up on this supposed local mistress. I do think reporters can covers these high-profile stories with class -- just reporting the facts, and acknowledging that there are rumors but not repeating them in detail or giving them inflated significance.

I guess I'll have to cross that Tiger when it comes.

Here's our story, notice the first sentence.

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