The XX Factor

How Tiger Is Different From Mark Sanford

Jess, I think you make an important point about Tiger’s (supposed) comeback: He doesn’t have to appeal to women. Golf’s audience is overwhelmingly male . Nike is his biggest source of endorsement income, and while the company has distanced itself some, I can’t see the company dropping him entirely , especially considering they quietly stuck with Kobe Bryant during his scandal. As a sports fan, I’m eager to see him back on the course, and “forgiving” him isn’t really an issue. Yeah, I liked the idea that Tiger was a stand-up guy, but I didn’t have a lot invested in it. He’s an athlete. He’s the best in the world at taking a little white ball and smacking it into a cup, and making it as exciting and dramatic as one could possibly make a sport with so little action.

I’ve been thinking of the Sanford comparison myself. Whenever we have a political sex scandal in this country, we hear that the wise sages in Europe don’t hold their politicians to such lofty standards and we’re Puritanical for doing so. Well, maybe. But I think that at least sometimes, politicians should be held to different standards than celebrities. Look at how bizarrely Sanford behaved during the revelation of his affair, from the “Appalachian Trail” mystery to the weird press conference about weeping over his soul mate. That gives me a considerable amount of insight into both his character and mental state, and it tells me that he’s not someone I want in a position to make decisions on the behalf of an entire state.

So, I wish Tiger well on the course, whether he’s got Elin in the gallery or not. Just don’t run for office.

Mark Dadswell/Getty Images. Photograph of Mark Sanford by Davis Turner/Getty Images