I should put my hands up here at the very beginning and admit I don't like golf. Other than knocking a ball through the windmill at a windswept Camber Sands when I was younger, I've never played it. And yet quite rational people I know, who are perfectly reasonable in other ways, seem to regard it as some kind of religion. When they 'get golf' you hardly see them ever again; their lives consist of wearing slightly odd-looking trousers and knitwear, and disappointedly tut-tutting at you for not wanting to be frozen to death at 7.20am every Saturday. You find yourself slipping out of their lives as the golf takes a stronger grip on them, until... then they're gone. The golf has won.
Watching it on TV has never really interested me either. A bit of green, a bit of blue, a bit of green - and some screaming nutcase roaring "Getinthehole!" when the ball is quite clearly not going anywhere near it - like it'd listen to him anyway.
But that's beside the point. Even I've heard of Tiger Woods. And despite his massive celebrity, I can't help asking the question: who gives a shit? What's happened over the past few days has been fairly ridiculous. Sure, he had a car accident. And...? Ah, but there's something else involved, a suspicion that he's had an affair, and the papers have reverted to their 1970s type. Ooh men and women doing it, they whoop, like teenage boys talking about fucking behind the bike sheds! And then you have the tragic misogyny of the Sun, as ever, talking about a 'girl' who is Tiger's 'birdie', I mean how cheap is that?
Oh sorry, my mistake, that was the Telegraph, Britain's top selling quality newspaper, who decided that kind of outdated shit was worth putting on the front page of their paper. Good on them for outdoing the tabloids and getting something thoroughly unpleasant and derogatory into a national newspaper; well done for that. Still, now that Woods has appealed for privacy over his private and personal affairs, it's obviously open season:
I'm still wondering who really gives a shit, though. So what? I don't know if there's some attempt to expose hypocrisy but I don't remember Tiger Woods moralising to the rest of the world about what a great guy he was and how he'd never have an affair, or even traded on his family image in advertising. I don't think so, and even then it'd still be fairly tenuous as to why we were meant to be reading about this in our newspapers. Aren't there more important things going on in the world?
But they're all at it. The women said to have had affairs with Woods are mere window-dressing for these newspapers and I find it all a bit juvenile and faintly tragic, but maybe that's just me. Maybe everyone else is really interested in all this and amazed by every single detail. Maybe there's something else going on about the blackness of Tiger and the whiteness of the women involved, but I don't really understand that either.
Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe this is really important news and I don't understand it because I'm too slow, but a lot of people in the media seem to think that we're all dumbfounded and gripped by this story. I'm not. I couldn't care less. Even if I liked golf, I think it'd be a case of: so fucking what? So human beings behave like human beings - is it really worth invading their privacy? Is it really to our benefit to hear the phone calls, see the photos, have all the details of this spilled out in the papers, while elsewhere there is real news that is being ignored?
Maybe this is about it being cheap journalism, where newsdesks can be spoonfed everything they need without ever bothering to leave the office. All the pictures and video and audio come straight to them. Maybe I am missing the point entirely and this is the biggest story in the history of the world ever, and we'll look back in 50 years and say: Do you remember where you were when Tiger Woods had a car accident and then some people said they'd fucked him? Do you remember that? Cor, hasn't journalism gone downhill since then?