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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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Monday, February 22

Olympic Beauty and Tiger

All right, A few posts ago, I was a little too negative about these Olympic Games, calling them boring after the first two days. Well, now I have to rectify that earlier comment: about half the events are boring; the other half are dramatic and worth watching. The speed skating, the cross skiing, the acrobatic events involving snowboarding, the downhill skiing events are all good (just too much time between events and competitors that must be filled with commercials and in-booth commentary). The other thing I've noticed right from the beginning is how attractive nearly all the competitors are. It must be that athletic training in cold weather makes for beautiful people. When the nations entered the stadium that first night, waving flags and smiling at the audience and each other, nearly all of them were handsome and beautiful. The one exception in my mind is that ugly, sour-grapes Russian, Yevgeny Plushenko. Or maybe it's just his ugly attitude that makes me see him as less than attractive. Nah, he's really unattractive. I tend to notice female beauty more than male. I guess it's a guy thing. Many of the female competitors are drop-dead gorgeous--Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, Tanith Belbin, Lindsey Jacobellis, Torah Bright, to name only a few. I seem to be stacking the results in favor of the U.S. team, but those are the ones seen most often on U.S. television. The other nations' teams have men and women equally attractive.

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Lots of people have weighed in after Tiger's televised apology last Friday. Ernie Els called Tiger selfish for scheduling it when he did. Ernie, would you have had him speak at midnight on a Sunday? And all the others that criticized him for reading from a script, should he have winged it? Would any of you been able to wing it in front of millions of viewers? I don't think so. I read Michael Wilson's view the next day and applaud him for his accuracy. What do you think?

"Sincere, Heartfelt Apology"

Commentary by Michael Wilson, Washington Post

We analyze everything now, studying the videotape for the slightest flaws and hints that may or may not suggest the end of the world as we know it. The most dramatic example of this has been the Tiger Woods sex scandal, every detail of which has been examined to the extreme—or to the absurd.

And though it’s difficult for me to imagine anything a golfer says should command the attention of the three major networks, the Tiger Woods apology Friday was pretty powerful stuff.

I’m in the camp that believes Tiger’s infidelities—anybody’s infidelities—aren’t my business and aren’t yours, either, and that all these people who seem to feel they are owed some kind of apology aren’t owed a damn thing. But now even Tiger seems to have moved out of that camp, because his 13-minute apology was about as thorough and as sincere as any reasonable person without an agenda could hope to hear.

I was struck by a great many things during his talk, two more than everything else. First, he owned up to the thing that brings down more public figures than anything: a sense of entitlement. It’s not often you hear people say, “I thought the rules didn’t apply to me. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted. . . . I felt I was entitled, thanks to money and fame.”

And second, therapy apparently has helped him see his sexual indulgence as the larger problem of getting away from the core values he learned from his mother and father as a kid.

“I want to start living a life of integrity,” he said.

There are skeptics who will say Tiger Woods was simply reading from a script. One of my colleagues on ESPN even said Tiger appeared too perfect while delivering his controlled message. What, he wanted Tiger to butcher the language and show up unshaven and disheveled?

Personally, I wasn’t expecting an apology quite that wide-ranging, quite that specific, quite that self-critical and quite that exposing. He seemed damn sorry for putting his wife and family and friends through the drama that has unfolded.

Tiger didn’t take any questions Friday, for which he is being roasted by a great many people in the business of asking questions. As an academic matter, I understand. As a practical matter, I don’t care about the number of women Tiger slept with or about any of the other titillating stuff that have kept the tabloids buzzing.

Tiger said rather emphatically that his wife Elin, despite reports, never struck him Thanksgiving night. He said he has been in therapy for 45 days working on his issues. We know how he feels: like he let the entire world down, starting with his wife and mother.

The big, big question still hanging out there—and let’s just be selfish about this—is when he’ll play golf again. And it didn’t sound to me like Tiger Woods will be at Augusta National in April. It didn’t sound as if he’s thinking of himself first as a golfer, which is how most of us think of him.

Though a great many of the people following this still are titillated by the number of paramours Tiger had and how he hooked up and whether he’s addicted to sex, it sounds as if he’s determined to atone for what he’s done and become a better man. For those who don’t find that good enough or revealing enough at this point, well, maybe they have their own issues.

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