Tiger’s Divorced, Now What?
By Stephanie Wei under Tiger Woods

This post first appeared at The Big Lead.

“Did you hear? Tiger Woods is a single man again,” a friend messaged me over IM. I received more of the same from at least four others. Yeah, yeah, big shock. We all knew it was coming, and seriously, thank God that Elin Nordegren (who wants her maiden name back) decided to divorce his cheating butt.

Whenever I was asked publicly on my take, I’d always preface my answer with some BS like, “Well, marriage is complicated, especially when kids are involved, and I don’t know Elin, what she’s thinking or what her marriage to Tiger was actually like. Plus, I’m not married, so I don’t want to speak on something that I don’t have personal knowledge about, etc.”

But, you know, if you want to know how I really feel … Oh, you do? Okay. I don’t know how she could possibly trust him ever again. I don’t care how much “therapy” he does. I don’t care how many times he apologies or how many “Kobe specials” he gets her, but if I’m Elin, I’d have a hard time looking him in the eye again, not to mention looking at myself in the mirror. I wonder how I’d explain to my kids when they’re old enough that despite being disrespected and lied to repeatedly, I somehow forgave him. What kind of message would that be sending to my daughter — that it’s okay for your husband to cheat on you if he’s famous and has a lot of money? And what kind of message would that be sending to my son — that it’s okay to have a secret life and cheat on your wife? Exactly.

While I’m sure it was “difficult” to walk away from the marriage, it was also probably quite simple. I mean, she gets to live her life and receives a huge divorce settlement. I know it’s easier said than done, but living a lie is something I personally wouldn’t be able to handle — which obviously Elin couldn’t.

And hey, good news for all the single gold-digging dudes out there! Elin is barely 30, wealthy and back on the market. Take a number, guys. She’s probably too good for 99.5% of you all.

As for Tiger, I’m happy that he can now go back to living his life the way he wants. If I’m him, I’d say screw everyone, I’m single and I can party and date Rachel Uchitel publicly if I want. Or hell, he should have flirtations with as many pancake waitresses, strippers and porn stars as he wishes. But since he will “share custody” of the children, it would probably be frowned upon if he were showing up in the tabs every week. Still, I know some believe that he can only be “Tiger Woods” again on the golf course if he returns to — pardon the language — banging every busty lady in sight.

Which I kinda disagree with. The whole reason behind his secret sex life was probably that it was a secret and he got away with it for a long time. Of course I’m speculating here and I don’t have a psychology degree, but hypothetically speaking, once the mystique is lost and you’ve been through the crap he has (which he brought on himself), I imagine it’s not as appealing. He has to find something else that makes him tick again (and maybe that’s still banging). Part of that is making the divorce official, so he can put an end to the nightmarish nine months and finally move on. Now, so can the media and the fans.

Still, he’ll never be the same. There will be glimpses of greatness (like the final three holes in the third round at Pebble Beach) and he’ll win some more majors. I can’t predict the future and I don’t know what he’s thinking (I don’t even know him, obviously), but he really has lost the mystique. Name one golfer who is intimidated by him anymore. I can bet that just about every golfer out there is secretly enjoying his struggles on the course.

At his press conferences at Whistling Straits the other week, Tiger talked a lot about things normalizing — there are no longer helicopters following him whenever he tried to practice and the paparazzi had stopped stalking his kids. Now I know he’s a pretty good liar and fooled the world for years, but he was the most forthcoming he’d been since his great comeback at The Masters. He sounded genuine. Then again, what do I know? But I joked with some other reporters that we liked the Tiger Woods who sucks at golf because he seemed genuine and more human than ever.

As we all know, we’re a forgiving bunch and we like nothing more than a brilliant comeback story. I would love to see him win two of four majors next year. I think many people would. So do I think he’ll have completely moved on this week and win The Barclays? Doubtful — this divorce business is pretty fresh (at least publicly and formally) and he’ll be pestered for details in a roundabout way by the regular golf media. But he gets to start new because everyone deserves another chance and sometimes four, five or eight (just ask the guy who wears really loud pants).

Do I think he’ll play well enough and place in top-50 to make the next round of the so-called playoffs? I want to say “without question!” I believe he will because as much as some part of him doesn’t actually want to play in the Ryder Cup (and be the only player without a wife by his side), it’d probably be a great step to winning back some favor. That said, it’s pretty much a lock that Captain Pavin will pick him, but it’s better for all parties if he shows some signs of life. Hey, perhaps Rory McIlroy talking some smack was the impetus he needed.

One thing’s for sure — golf is much more fun when Tiger Woods is playing like the “old” Tiger Woods.

[Photo by Allan Henry/Golf Chronicles]