Tiger Woods’ next woman is going to be a Southern beauty. She’s luscious and genteel but has her moments of sass as well. She’ll have the aroma of sassafras, yellow jasmine, flowering peach and juniper. And this woman should be good for Woods.
I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out.
The South is Faulkner country, and Woods should take the opportunity while he’s down there to absorb some of the wisdom of America’s greatest wordsmith.
“Unless you’re ashamed of yourself now and then, you’re not honest,” William Faulkner once said.
“Tomorrow night is nothing but one long sleepless wrestle with yesterday’s omissions and regrets,” is from him as well.
Men in the South are gentlemen, and, as Faulkner once wrote, “A gentleman accepts the responsibility of his actions and bears the burden of their consequences.”
The last time we saw Woods, giving a speech on TV, he was full of lots and lots of words, and anger toward the media. The sound and the fury. And too much, thinks I, that signified nothing.
“Sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words.” That’s Faulkner too, from his novel “As I Lay Dying.”
Woods isn’t dying, of course, but he’s certainly hurting and has caused a lot of hurt. But with this Southern woman, among the dogwood and pampas, the camelia and azalea, the Chinese fir and fire thorn, Woods has a chance for redemption and healing, or at least the beginning of such.
"The past is never dead," Faulkner once wrote, adding the kicker: "It’s not even past."
A novelist, Faulkner was really a great poet. And like the best poets, he innately understood our demons as well as our delights. In an interview in the Paris Review Faulkner once spoke about this conflict within all of us—and it’s perhaps particularly fitting for top athletes:
“Life is motion, and motion is concerned with what makes man move—which is ambition, power, pleasure….He is compelled to make choices between good and evil sooner or later, because moral conscience demands that from him in order that he can live with himself tomorrow. His moral conscience is the curse he had to accept from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream.”
No one has dreamed to accomplish more than Woods, and a lot of us have dreamed along with him.
So as Tiger travels down South in a few weeks to embrace that most inspirational of Southern belles, Miss Augusta National, we wish him Godspeed. We’re confident that he’s got the skills to continue to achieve greatness on the golf course. We can only pray that he’ll develop the maturity to achieve greatness in life.
And selfishly, I say this not only for Tiger’s sake, but for ours. We need our heroes.#