Monday, July 25, 2011   

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Open Letter to Tiger Woods

Intro
Despite everything that’s going on in the world, the press has been fixated on Tiger Woods. I have written an open letter to Tiger, offering him some advice. Tiger’s decision to have alleged affair(s) was wrong but there are several lessons to be learned from his actions as well as what has happened in the days after the incident at his home. I hope this advice to Tiger also ministers to you if you’re ever, and I pray you’re not, in a situation where you need to be redeemed.
 
Dear Tiger,
 
Blessings upon you and yours!
 
I have admired your extraordinarily unparalleled golf skills since you appeared on the Johnny Carson show with your dad over 20 years ago. I also salute the countless hours of preparation and practice you have invested in your professional career. Your relentless pursuit of perfection as a professional golfer inspires thousands of athletes to take games to the next level.
 
Now you have an opportunity to take your personal game to the next level.
 
          A lot of folk are offering you advice right now. The advice you receive and subsequently act upon will directly impact your inner peace and outer productivity for years to come. As one who has observed many comebacks, know that I am praying for you and offer you the following:
 
1) Continue to protect your home. Do what you can to regain your wife’s trust and happiness. Reports suggest you and your wife are in counseling. That’s a great step, keep seeking the professional coaching and counseling you and yours need so you can emerge stronger and wiser. Keep your family happy and whole, not hurt and wounded. Use these days as an opportunity to recalibrate your internal compass so you can remain pointed in the right direction.
 
2) Make a statement to the public in person. Charles Barkley is right when he says you need to say something. President Clinton made a statement and most Americans interpreted his words as a falsification of the facts. Some scholars believe he even lied under oath, yet, he has moved on and so has the American sentiment. Frankly, had you spoken publicly last Sunday, the news cycle would be totally different today.
 
3) Get off the press’ back. If you want them to give you privacy, then stop complaining about their coverage of you. If you want privacy, then talk publicly once and the intense media focus will shift to the next issue de jour. (Most of them anyway.) Take a page from David Letterman’s book of “How to Handle the Press 101.” Letterman’s sexual actions were, arguably, illegal. Yet, he confessed with out complaining about the press and everyone has moved on. Sometimes, you have to face folk head on before you can move on. The first paragraph of your press statement was great. The rest of it simply poured kerosene on the very fire you were trying to extinguish. Confess; don’t complain.
 
4) Play the hand you’ve been dealt. Your notoriety is what it is. There is no need to wish differently. You are an icon. You have made more money off the course than on the course. The same dynamics that helped make you wealthy now “demand” you deal with the reality of your stardom, no matter how painful it is or private it should be. I agree with you that it is a private matter. Unfortunately, your dealt hand requires you to offer a public message so you can proceed with your private matters. You have to play your hand. Surrogates will not suffice.
 
5) Get a Nathan. Every David needs a Nathan. In the Old Testament of the Bible, King David messed up sexually. Nathan, a member of the community, was there to give him Godly advice. But Nathan also held David accountable for his actions. As a result, David confessed and eventually went on to a successful future. You can do likewise. Identify two or three folk in your life who will tell you the truth about yourself at all times, particularly when you don’t want to hear it. In fact, “check in” with them regularly so your path remains clear of self-destructive debris. A good reliable “Nathan” is priceless. Incidentally, the more fame and fortune you accumulate, the more you need a good Nathan!
 
6) Stay focused. While you are processing this episode of your life, stay focused on the values you want your children to personify as adolescents and adults and on the values you want your wife to personify as your spouse. Once you sufficiently process all of what’s happened, get back on the tour and kick butt “new and improved Tiger-style!”
 
 
Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, Senior Pastor,
Windsor Village United Methodist church
 


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