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December 05, 2009

Tiger Woods Scandal: Why Do Seemingly Nice Guys Cheat?


By now you've probably heard the sordid details of Tiger Woods alleged affairs with cocktail waitress Jamiee Grubbs, New York city nightclub hostess Rachel Uchitel, and Las Vegas party planner Kalika Moquin.

The scandal comes as a bit of a surprise to his many fans, especially considering his squeaky-clean image.

Here are details so far, in case you missed anything:

On November 27, Tiger crashed his Cadillac Escalade outside his Florida home.  There have been a number of reports that Tiger and his wife Elin were arguing over a text message.  There has also been some speculation as to whether Elin bashed out Tiger’s car window with a golf club to “rescue” him from his car as has been claimed, or was, er, bashing his window with a golf club for some other reason.

Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik introduced Tiger Woods to his wife Elin Nordegren in 2001,  while she was working for Parnevik’s family as an au pair, “We probably thought he was a better guy than he is. I probably would have to apologise to her and hope she uses a driver next time rather than a three-iron, I would say.”

Why do (seemingly) nice guys cheat?

Cheaters usually fall into two categories:  Those who are always looking for opportunities to cheat (serial cheaters) and those who find themselves with an opportunity to cheat and make a bad decision. (Unintended cheaters.)

Serial cheaters usually use sex as a sort of emotional band-aid to make themselves feel better about insecurities, growing older, depression, and for thrill-seeking, among other things.  Serial cheaters seek out opportunities for sex - think ESPN’s Steve Phillips.

Unintended cheaters generally make a bad decision when presented with an opportunity to cheat, but don’t seek out the opportunity.  This is the kind of person who sleeps with a coworker after an out of town conference following a rough month, or a difficult life change.

And once that horse is out of the starting gate, all bets are off.

So what does that make Tiger?

At this point, it’s hard to tell.  On the “Unintentional Cheater” side of the argument, Tiger had a lot of things on his plate back in early 2007 when Grubbs claims they began their affair:

First, he’d lived for a couple of decades under the intense pressure of perfection.  Despite the fact that he has been in the media spotlight for a very long time, he’s never really had a screw-up.  And he is, after all, a human being.  None of us can sustain perfection indefinitely.

Second, Tiger’s father, by many accounts his north star, died in 2006 after a bout with cancer.

Finally, Tiger’s wife Elin was very pregnant with their first child Sam when the alleged affair began.  Sleazy?  Yes.  But is it unheard of for a guy to freak out when his wife gets pregnant, whether at the prospect of a permanent relationship, or terror of the responsibility of becoming a father?  Nope.  In fact, it happens with astounding frequency.

On the “Serial Cheater” side of the argument, if in fact Woods did have relationships with the three women, Jamiee Grubbs, New York city nightclub hostess Rachel Uchitel, and Las Vegas party planner Kalika Moquin, or more — it wouldn’t be a shock to learn there are even more women who have not yet come forward.

Once might be an accident.  Three times is a habit.

A voicemail obtained by US MAGAZINE has been circulating the Internet:

“Hey, it’s Tiger.  I need you to do me a huge favor. Can you please take your name off your phone? My wife went through my phone and may be calling you. So if you can, please take your name off that. Just have it as a number on the voicemail. You got to do this for me. Huge. Quickly. Bye.”

Is this the voicemail of a man who is deeply ashamed of his actions and wants to keep his marriage together?  I don't know. It doesn't really read that way.

Can a couple move forward after one of them has an affair?

Only time will tell. The details of these alleged relationships are still coming to light, and it’s pretty obvious that Tiger and Elin will have a lot of challenges in putting their relationship back together if that’s what they choose to do.  There are a couple of good signs early on — first, Tiger chose to protect his wife, instead of himself, when rumors were swirling around about the golf club/Escalade fiasco.  Second, Yahoo Sports reports that the couple is now seeing a therapist several times a day and that Elin not only received an immediate $5 million dollar payout, she also gained somewhere in the neighborhood of $55 million dollars in a pre-nup revision.  In exchange, she has to stick around for a couple more years and keep mum about her story.

Why stick around?

Maybe, just maybe, Elin wants to keep her family together.  And maybe, just maybe, Tiger has had a wake-up call, and realizes all he’s been risking.

And if nothing else,  $55 million and two young children is a pretty good incentive to give couples therapy a try.

For many people, cheating is a deal breaker.  And the truth is, if they have any chance of getting through this, Tiger is going to have to own up to what he's done with his wife and take responsibility for all of her hurt and anger around it.

And judging from his history, he might want to steer clear of nightclubs.

What do you think?  Does a cheater deserve a second chance?



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My question is how are all these voice mails coming to light?

We've had similar debates here previously, and I stand by what I said then. By NO means am I condoning what happened, but this isn't news. Tiger is not a politician, does not (so far as I know) preach 'higher values', he's not the President. He's a guy who found something he's really good at, and was lucky enough to build a career out of it.

This is between Tiger and his wife Elin, and is really none of our business....

Cheating just seems like such a betrayal, but I guess it's up to the people involved. (NB: not an issue in my situation.)

William, I so agree with you on this. My husband and I were talking about this issue last night of celebrities' antics serving as "news". Go to the home page of any so-called news source, right this minute, and look at the stories they choose to lead with. So few of them are actual news. Even the formerly weightiest of agencies choose to have more gossip nonsense on their front pages than actual global current events. Why do we need to know the minutia of other people's lives? We don't, really. I mean, it's not as if Tiger was trying to pick up men in an airport bathroom, or preaching against abortion while paying for them on the side.

My first husband was a lying sack of crap who cheated on me, and who tried to cheat on me with my best friend. It took eight years for me to recover enough from my trust issues after that experience to let down my guard enough to remarry. And then I told my husband not to bother unless he was willing to settle for me, and only me, for the rest of his life. And if he ever betrayed me that way to expect Lorena Bobbitt-like repercussions. Just sayin'.

It will be 28 years in March. So far, so good.

I'm with William on this. Why is it any of our business what Tiger does or doesn't do? He should not be a guide for us or our children. Sure, he's a role model but use the situation teaching (kids don't do that) and move on. The more it's in the press, the more kids are going to think it's no big deal - you just get more publicity out of it or it's really cool Tiger got all these women because he's famous.
And I thought voice mail was only between the two people talking .... and don't you have to take the name off your phone not the one calling you?

I think there's something about fame and power that goes to men's heads (or somewhere further south)--they begin to think they can do anything and get away with it. The rules don't apply to them because they're special. I'm sure we can all name plenty of (married) politicians who've done the same thing.

It's unfortunate in this case because Tiger was held up as one of the good guys, a role model for kids--and got paid big bucks for it. He's risked giving up millions just for some gratification? Not smart.

But what happens with his marriage now is between Tiger and his wife. Period.

The whole idea that athletes are role models mystifies me. Why should they be? Many of them would be nothing but thugs if it weren't for their athletic careers. Role models? Good grief.

The thing is, I actually hadn't heard about this, being otherwise occupied, until driving to Macy's sale (talk about shocking--the discounts!) 2 days ago and getting the whole story on NPR. Their justification for talking about it was doing a piece on whether they should be talking about it.

I'm wondering, Lisa, if there's a 3rd category, unintended cheaters who repeatedly find themselves in cheat-friendly circumstances, and find themselves turning into serial cheaters. This would apply to anyone famous, exceptionally good-looking, or obviously rich. Which happen to be the kind of people featured in tabloids.

Oh, yeah -- forgot. Me being me, I was intrigued by the idea of that $5 million pay-out and the $55 million pre-nup revision. I expect there's a murder mystery plot lurking in there somewhere.

Great comments everybody.

Harley, I was thinking the same thing -- what a mystery setup :-)

I DO also agree that there is a sort of third category of famous & rich guys especially -- guys who wouldn't normally cheat, but who are inundated with opportunity day after day after day. How much temptation can one person withstand?

Karen, congrats on 28 years. And I'm with you. It's always a good plan to set expectations. :-)


Two evolutionary biologists wrote a book called WHY BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE HAVE MORE DAUGHTERS, and they say that we shouldn't be shocked that politicians and sports stars have affairs because men are biologically compelled to attempt to mate with as many women as possible -- authors say that the whole point of becoming a Senator or a basketball star is to have more access to more women...

Oops, I posted prematurely....

It also says some interesting stuff about our brains overruling our biological instincts...

Am thinking that Karen's Lorena Bobbitt threat probably goes a long way in the overruling...

Not really thinking about cheating, but being good looking, famous and rich can draw a certain type of woman. Men of character turn down offers from these women. It shocks some of my friends but my standard answer to "Would you do (insert hottie here)?" is, "If she isn't offering, it doesn't matter." One of the points about getting married is to not date around anymore. And I am quite happy (21 years as of 1/1/10) with that.

It has been awhile, but pregnant sex was great, just saying.

A little funny on the subject:

ack wakes up with a huge hangover after attending his company's Christmas Party. Jack is not normally a drinker, but the drinks didn't taste like alcohol at all. He didn't even remember how he got home from the party. As bad as he was feeling, he wondered if he did something wrong.

Jack had to force himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he sees is a couple of aspirins next to a glass of water on the side table. And, next to them, a single red rose! Jack sits up and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and pressed. He looks around the room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotlessly clean. So is the rest of the house.

He takes the aspirins, cringes when he sees a huge black eye staring back at him in the bathroom mirror. Then he notices a note hanging on the corner of the mirror written in red with little hearts on it and a kiss mark from his wife in lipstick: " Honey, breakfast is on the stove, I left early to get groceries to make you your favorite dinner tonight. I love you, darling! Love, Jillian"

He stumbles to the kitchen and sure enough, there is hot breakfast, steaming hot coffee and the morning newspaper. His son is also at the table, eating. Jack asks, "Son...what happened last night?"

"Well, you came home after 3 A.M. , drunk and out of your mind. You fell over the coffee table and broke it, and then you puked in the hallway, and got that black eye when you ran into the door. Confused, he asked his son, "So, why is everything in such perfect order and so clean? I have a rose, and breakfast is on the table waiting for me??"

His son replies, "Oh THAT!... Mom dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take your pants off, you screamed, "Leave me alone, I'm married!!"

The power of the pen vs the power of the golf club. Elin signs on the dotted line and agrees not to threaten Tiger with a golf club again. Mmmm...wow that's pretty generous. The corporations had signed Tiger to hit the golf club ever so accuratley and attract the Nike customers. That's very generous. King Henry VIII had all the power and the riches and didn't need the pen...just the sword. The minions did his bidding and the wives went to the Tower to await their fate.

Karen's Lorena Bobbitt threat probably goes a long way in the overruling...
Lisa, there's an interesting addition to pre-nups -- but probably not enforceable legally . . .

Cheating just seems like such a betrayal, but I guess it's up to the people involved. (NB: not an issue in my situation.)

Josh, wishing you a happy resolution to the limbo you are in right now. I have a feeling that you deserve a happy ending . . .

Alan, I love that story!!

I agree with the other posters, and love the story of "drunk" with the red rose. Tiger has been dealing with pressure since a little child, and i can only imagine the offers he has turned down. Sadly, these turn out to be real people with real feelings, and that money is not going to make up for the hurt, and betrayal. (although it helps). This would make a great mystery, if "Law & Order" doesn't co-opt it first. I am really enjoying this blog, and seeing some of my favorite writers in a different light!

Looks like Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion beat all the crime shows to using this story -- and who knows, Tiger might take his advice and take a quiet "time out" in Minnesota . . .

One responder to the article on www.stltoday.com said:

Well, he's broken Nicklaus' record, now he's going after Wilt Chamberlin's.

I spit coffee on my desk.

I do not think cheating is right and Tiger should not have done it.

That said, In my opinion, he never should have gotten married so young, either. I mean, the guy is young, rich, famous and, according to one of his alleged mistresses, well hung. I mean, damn! He's living most men's dream just getting rich off of golf. He should be single and dating a different hottie every night. Maybe two hotties each night!

As for all the news coverage, I agree that it's overdone and Tiger is not running for office or sainthood or anything like that, so it's none of our business. And if his wife decides to dump him and walk away with 55 million bucks, THAT is none of our business either.

I think that the personal part of this should be personal, and it it not up to us or the media to decide whether his wife forgives him.

But he does have the public image -- that he is getting paid big bucks for -- and there should be some consequences there. On my blog I wrote that "bad-boy" athletes and celebs should have to face severe consequences and yes, public shame. Otherwise we as a society just continue to dismiss bad behaviors.

I´m a Swedish woman, living i Sweden. I think it´s so interesting how the media in the US works, it´s so different compared to Sweden. I´ve heard that the public in your country wants Tiger and Elin to appear on national tv? But hello? As a Swede myself, i would be very suprised if Elin would do that. It´s not everyones business with their private life! But i must say, if it´s all true, Elin did what i should have done...
From Ella in Sweden

irvine conference for media damage control and privacy issues with publicity and disclosure of personal information through media will be covered at the sears law plaza at irvine community golf benefit attn: stephen sears attorney cpa. corporate sponsorship risk evaluation for global media accenture, tag hauer new sponser may include red stripe beer, holiday in jamaica, clinton library...

Tiger going to Sweden?
You can run Tiger, but you can't hide. Some online sports news sites, listed on Dozensports.com, say the world's best golf player could be moving to Sweden to escape the media glare. But if this happens he won't be able to escape the guilt of his actions. Anyway, isn't Sweden a country filed with beautiful blondes? Bad choice for a sex addict.

tiger is the world's best
whatever they say or in spite of the criticism of their behavior nothing will comp

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