Happy New Year and Now Let’s Get Tiger Back
By Stephanie Wei under General

As 2009 comes to a close, those crying “Leave Tiger Alone!” are hoping the relentless Tiger scandal coverage — whether it’s hashing out the tawdry details of his fetish for cocktail waitresses, considering the economic impacts of golf without Tiger, speculating on his whereabouts, the timing of his comeback, the “real” chain of events leading up to the November 27 car accident, or just anything Tiger-related — will disappear with the decade.

While I haven’t been reveling in following his rapid fall from iconic Gandhi-like superhuman to shunned man-whore, the story is still alive. I am guilty of reading Us Weekly and adding TMZ to my Google Reader, and checking every five minutes for news alerts on the latest twists to the story, though. But, contrary to what some sanctimonious writers have been preaching, the blame doesn’t fall on “amateur” or “irresponsible” bloggers (like myself apparently) who are simply dragging on the saga to bring more eyes to our silly little sites.

There’s only one person who can stop it: Tiger. With the little we know, we can only assume the following: He’s too cowardly to publicly take responsibility for his mistakes (and a robotic statement on his website doesn’t count), the plastic surgery scars haven’t fully healed, he’s being advised by lawyers to stay quiet in case Elin decides to divorce him, or he’s in a Phoenix-area sex addiction clinic. That might be assuming the worst, mind you, but, again, we’ve been forced into hyper-speculation mode.

I wish I could still view Tiger with the same reverence. I wish there were no truth to the National Enquirer story. I wish Tiger never hit a fire hydrant. I wish Tiger had never left Jaimee Grubbs that awful voicemail. I wish he hadn’t slept with 15 or so waitresses, porn stars and party girls. I wish Accenture hadn’t cut ties with him. I wish he hadn’t been “forced” to take an indefinite break from golf. I wish the email hoax hadn’t happened. I wish AT&T hadn’t dropped him. Etc.

But most of all, I wish Tiger would make a cameo on SNL when his buddy Charles Barkley hosts the show next Saturday, January 9th, 2010. You know, poke fun at himself — even if it’s him popping in for 30 seconds and waving to the audience. Now that would be outside his comfort zone, but it would change the tone of the public conversation and be his best shot at an early redemption.

Next, just come back and play golf. There will still be detractors and hecklers, but there will be more supporters. I would like to see him win at The Masters— and not just win, but dominate the field by eight shots. And then, I would like the same to happen at the US Open and the British Open. That’s just me being overly idealistic, though.

We don’t know how the mess will affect his golf, particularly his confidence and composure on the course. His aura may be tarnished, but it’s not permanent. Nothing ever is. So, hello, Tiger. Welcome to the real world.

[Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images]