Full transcript: Sarah Hampson on the Tiger Woods affair
12:53 Globe and Mail: Sarah Hampson takes your questions here at 1 p.m.
1:00 Globe and Mail: Thanks for joining us today Sarah. I'll get us started just by asking for your reaction to Tiger's announcement today.
1:04 Sarah Hampson: Well, I was shocked but also, sadly, not surprised in a way. I was shocked because I think I, too, wanted to believe in the Boy Wonder and Snow White, his beautiful, blonde, former-nanny wife. He had this perfect image - and I think that as much as we like to bring down celebrities, we like to build them up.
1:05 Comment From Kevin: With the precedents for celebrity athelete divorce settlements set so high eg. Michael Jordan- do you think we could see something like that here?
1:12 Sarah Hampson: Too early to tell. With his statement on his website, he is obviously making it clear that he wants to repair the damage with his wife. He wants to be "the husband and father that my family deserves." The question I guess is about his wife, Elin, and whether she is prepared to stay in the marriage. You have to wonder at his behaviour - he allegedly started his affair with the former cocktail waitress, Jaimee Grubbs (unfortunate last name, no?) almost three years ago, just before birth of his first child. And as each day passes, more alleged mistresses are coming out of the woodwork. Radar onLine is reporting that Tiger paid for the tickets to Australia for the New York party girl, Rachel Uchitel, who has denied the affair up until now. This could get much worse. And I, like many, feel sorry for Elin, who has a rather sweet image as a loving mom and supportive partner, scandal-free and pure as driven snow, except of course for allegations that she clubbed her husband with a 7-iron.
1:12 Comment From Guest: Hi. Just a comment... I'm not sure that the media fascination with celebrity affairs is necessary, but I do find it fascinating that our memory for such events is so short (in the case of Clinton and so many others... not that it's really our place to judge). I'm also amazed that more of us don't use these examples in the media to turn the lens inward, examine the potential causes of infidelity, and really have a dialogue about those issues. What are your thoughts?
1:14 Comment From Guest: Americans love to build up their celebrities and sports figures into God like status and then take delight when the fall. I think Tiger's an example of someone who has just too much money. I think you can have too much of anything including money. With all that money I would imagine Tiger had women chasing him all the time. I think any normal guy would cave into that temptation.
1:14 Comment From Tim: The more women who come forward or are revealed, the more this will cost him if his wife decides to end the marriage.
1:20 Comment From guest: I just don't understand why people set themselves up for a fall by claiming to be a role model-I hate to say it but I can't see how someone exposed to so much temptation could stay on the straight and narrow- It takes an iron character methinks
1:24 Comment From Melissa: Personally, I feel that he should own up and set the record straight. The longer he goes without having some sort of press conference to let everything out, the longer the media is going to speculate about what led to the crash and the longer it is going to weigh on both Tiger and Elin.
1:24 Sarah Hampson: I think that the media fascination with these kinds of stories stems from the very human content that so many of us share. Look, infidelity in marriage is a huge problem. And there's something in Tiger's behaviour that suggests he felt above it all. I mean who would leave such an incriminating trail of evidence - racy text messages and voicemails ? He was making himself very vulnerable but obviously he didn't think he was. He perhaps couldn't imagine that his lover, the former cocktail waitress, was going to proudly talk about her affair.
1:24 Comment From Monica Lewinsky: Do you honestly believe this story is valuable content?
1:26 Comment From Bill: Why don't we leave the guy alone to sort out his family business?
1:26 Comment From Guest: STOP REPORTING ON THIS. NO ONE CARES. IT IS NOT NEWS.
1:27 Comment From Sarah Hampson: The temptation he must have faced is a very real issue, I agree. Many women are drawn to celebrities and practically fall over themselves to tempt them. I was in Vegas last year doing a story on a big celebrity and I was stunned at the number of beautiful women who were offering their services, so to speak, to the man I was writing about. And his interest back - the sense of freedom (and entitlement) he had to have any woman who pleased him was equally stunning. So yes, Tiger had the world at his feet. And our interest in his fall from grace is perhaps partly because we knew he couldn't be as perfect as we had hoped - and been led to believe - that he was.
1:31 Comment From Sarah Hampson: Now that the story of his infidelity is out, and he has publicly admitted it, he has made the first step to owning it and being able to say enough is enough. The worst mistake was in letting the gossip websites lead with news on it, which is what happened over the last few days. I think some media will let it go now. The great story was in the mystery about what happened, his silence, and the potential damage to his image. What he needs to do to sort out his family life is up to him.
1:32 Comment From Melissa: How much could this cost Tiger, if the allegations are true?
1:32 Sarah Hampson: As for this issue of being a role model, interestingly, we were as complicit in making him an icon of all-Amercian values as he was. The urge to brand people is part of our culture - not always a good idea, as we discovered. We are the ones setting ourselves up for a fall - disappointment.
1:34 Comment From Paul: From my point-of-view people care and are interested because Tiger Woods is a household name with a squeaky clean image (except for his occasional outburst on the course. Even my 85 year old mother is now commenting on his lack of morals with such a young family.
1:34 Comment From Guest: its too bad. I hope his marriage will survive and strengthen and that he will be a better, more humble person as a result. Everyone suffers from the human condition.
1:34 Comment From Kevin: Yeah that's what really surprises me - how stupidly he behaved. If you're in the spotlight so much you'd think he'd be more concerned with hiding his affair(s). If the voice mail message really is Tiger speaking, I'm amazed this wasn't revealed sooner.
1:34 Comment From Guest: Tiger should have just kept his mouth shut. The want displayed by pretty much every journalist out there to get details of his private and personal life is palpable. He has no responsibility to tell anyone anything. I love Tiger Woods the golfer and the celebrity that fights tooth and nail for his privacy. He's a class act, and any indiscretions are his and his family's to deal with. What business do we have invading his privacy to know more? Why do we (any member of the public) deserve to know anything? Why is the truth important? If he'd stayed quiet this would have died its own death and the consequences of his actions would have been felt by those around him. Any further public knowledge of this matter is irrelevant to him and to us.
1:36 Sarah Hampson: Tiger was on his way to being the world's first billionaire athlete. And most of his earnings comes from endorsements, not prize money, which accounts for only one-tenth of his income. So if sponsors worry about this tarnished image, all that could fall away.
1:37 Comment From Paul: If I was an exec at Nike, Gillette and his other sponsors, I would be definitely be holding focus groups asap o find out if he is going to hurt their brands … in which they pay Tiger HUGE amounts of money to endorse.
1:38 Comment From J Money: I certainly wasn't as complicit as Tiger was in anything. He held himself out to be something that he wasn't.
1:38 Comment From Randy Shoop: This is and must be talked about for a little while. We are manipulated by the press, PGA and many companies who sponser Tiger through advertising. The Tiger fans have been taught that the reason Tiger wins is because Tiger is a near God. Tiger wins because of natural talent and practise but as a person he is no better or worse then the rest or us. A hard pill to swallow but true.
1:38 Comment From Guest: It's pathetic to see the Globe quoting Radar online and TMZ with a straight face. Even the CBC was quoting TMZ the other night. Any thoughts on the fact that maybe this story is a clever ploy by Tiger himself to reveal the poor state of journalism for what it is today?
1:41 Sarah Hampson: Tiger had to speak out at this point. That is very clear. His lover, Jaimee Grubbs, forced him. She clearly made a calculation - better to spill and make the most of it now than worry about the fallout for her lover, who was clearly not about to leave his marriage and make her his new wife. There was little emotion in her affair with him, it appears. She was after the reflected glory from being his girlfriend and for whatever money she could get for telling her story - presumably. What's sad is that he didn't think that she would be so transactional about her liaison with him.
1:42 Comment From JJ: Tiger has always been under a lot of media scrutiny. How is it that mainstream news had not reported on his multiple affairs earlier?
1:46 Comment From Paul: With all due respect to Tiger, he is proving that he really isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer by not thinking his affairs would eventually catch up to him. They always do, and are usually very expensive in many ways. Golfer Greg Norman settled with his ex-wife for $300M a few years ago. I suspect Tiger is worth a lot more on paper than Norman.
1:46 Comment From SK: Leaving aside all the moral issues (and there are many), I just can't understand how these guys can think they can leave voice mail and text messages on the the cell phones of 24 year old waitresses and think they won't come back to haunt them. It's unbelievable to me.
1:46 Sarah Hampson: The dilemna newspapers and other news outlets have about the hollywood websites, such as RadarOnline and TMZ, is that they are often right. They are often wrong, too. Which is why we are careful about using them as a source.
1:47 Comment From Guest: why didn't he just pay off these women to keep quite. It's not like he doesn't have the money and it may have worked
1:50 Sarah Hampson: Tiger was in the spotlight, but that doesn't mean that the media is going to follow him for any improper action just because they want to bring him down. This story was so big because of his silence over what actually happened. He left a huge vacuum for speculation to fill. And listen, Tiger barefoot in his SUV at 2:30 in the morning, running into a fire hydrant outside of his home? That is a mystery that's hard to ignore. When he complained about the extent of tabloid scrutiny in his statement on his website today, it seemed so naive to me. What, he didn't think anyone would be interested in the strange incident? What kind of bubble does he live in?
1:51 Comment From Courious: From a womens perspective, I would like to hear what advice you or other women would give to Elin in this very dragic situation for her and family.
1:53 Sarah Hampson: Paying off the women, hmmm. At this rate, there seem to be quite a few alleged Tiger babes out there. And is money the only thing they want? Hey, Jaimee Grubbs was on a reality show once. Maybe she is angling for some celebrity of her own. Sad comment, but there you have it - celebrity is what everyone seems to want no matter how he or she gets it.
1:54 Comment From dpepin: so, so disapointed
1:54 Comment From Guest: Well the bottom line is that while Elin is feeling a myriad of things right now, she has two children to think about. If she's like most women who are also mothers - that becomes the bottom line - protecting them. As Tiger said the other day - which was sensible, she didn't ask for this, and I think she'll handle herself as gracefully as she can. This may not be popular to say, but I hope they can sort it out.
1:56 Comment From Looper: All these obtuse comments expressing surprise at Tiger's cavalier and careless behaviour are surprising to me. When you're a guy in Tiger's position, with a young family and a squeaky clean image, you know at some point you're going to get caught. Given that this was probably tearing him apart on the inside, consciously or unconsciously, he wanted to be caught to bring this thing to a head. At least now it's out there and he can move on.
1:57 Comment From Paul: I will find it interesting how he is treated by the fans at the first tournament he plays in next year. He is rarely heckled, but that could change … especially by female patrons.
1:58 Sarah Hampson: Thats's a good question about what Elin should do. People always wonder why a husband would stray when he has such a beautiful wife at home. But while we like to think that male infidelity has something to do with some inadequacy on the part of their existing partner/wife, the sad truth is that it does not. If it were just a matter of not being pretty enough, thin enough, a good enough mother, well, Jude Law wouldn't have cheated on Sienna Miller, Christie Brinkley wouldn't be divorced, and on and on. What should a wife do? That depends a lot on what her husband is willing to do to address his issues with infidelity.
1:58 Comment From Cooler Head: There's nothing America loves half so well as redemption.
1:58 Comment From Paul: For the record, Tiger has not said anything yet. His writings on his on website are not his, but those of his legal council.
1:58 Comment From Adrian: I dont watch him play golf and then think about what a good man and nice husband and father he is. He's a great golfer that is all that really matters, and to add onother bits of info about his personal life is irrelevant
2:01 Comment From Guest: What is so unfortunate is that had he stayed in his house, instead of trying to flee the wrath of his wife, his wife and he would not be publicly humiliated. The only mistake I see that he made was leaving the closed doors of his home, now there is a great deal of face saving to be done by his wife. What he has done is more common than not, especially with his situation, and the consequences should be dealt within the privacy of one's marriage.
2:01 Comment From Mothra: Everyone's human. Even zillionaire athletes like Tiger. As a woman and a cheated-upon former spouse, I would say he gets one mulligan. If he can atone and stay faithful after this, I would do anything to keep the family together. The second time? I hope she cleans him out.
2:01 Sarah Hampson: No one is equating his skill as a golfer with his lack of "performance" as a faithful husband. We are interested in the scandal because of the sterling nature of his brand, and how he has helped create it - and now ruin it. I found myself wondering about his psychic duplicity earlier today - he knows he is cheating, but he willingly participates in advertising campaigns that promote him as this good, perfect guy? Is that a problem of denial or hubris?
2:01 Comment From Adrian: I like Tiger because he is a good golfer, I think this affair is blown totally our of proportion.
2:02 Comment From Mothra: Sarah, I'd say hubris... and a classic example of believing your own press...
2:03 Comment From John Lusted: which ad campaign promotes him as a good perfect guy?
2:03 Comment From Rose: Don't you think this is just the tip of the iceberg? TMZ is revealing all day that Tiger has a penchant for cocktail waitresses.
2:03 Sarah Hampson: Yeah, I agree: hubris.
2:05 Comment From Pat: How does Tiger sleep at night when he makes millions per year on endorsements based on a false image?
2:05 Comment From Rose: I believe his problem is that he hasn't yet hired crisis managers. By letting it fester it will just get worse. A week of silence, the fact that he wouldn't be interviewed by the police, is only fueling the fire.
2:05 Comment From Guest: His wife should take the money and kids and run. She's still young enough to have a happy life with someone else. And she's set for life money wise. Why stay with tiger now and face more scrutiny
2:06 Comment From Rose: Public relations 101. Admit you mistake, say your sorry, make restitution, and public will forgive.
2:06 Comment From Paul: Tiger has lived a charmed life since he was a teenager, and has been touted as a "special athlete and person". Hard not to think of yourself at a different level when constantly put high on a pedestal.
2:07 Comment From Ottawa: maybe Elin wants to stay, she is supposed to love him no matter what. aren't they supposed to work through this as a team together?
2:08 Comment From Glenner: My question is, when all the dust settles, and the Media circus cools off, how will this affect his golf next January....will it be a constant problem for a golfer whose mental prowess is one of his greatest strengths?
2:08 Sarah Hampson: His image as a clean-living guy is the foundation of much of his endorsements. He is Boy Wonder, the golf prodigy as a child who has gone on to beat all sorts of records. He is a member of the white-guy civility of golf, a country-club sort of sport.
2:10 Comment From Rose: Sarah, as the Generation Ex writer, what do you think Tiger should do to repair his image?
2:10 Sarah Hampson: The mental prowess is what fascinates me, to be honest. Golf is all about performance under pressure - that just-the-right-touch putt with a crowd watching. And here he is - out of control. It will be very interesting to watch how he behaves when he emerges from his gated community and faces his audience on the course and in the media spotlight. It is will be test of his calm.
2:13 Comment From Bizz: We are all human & we all make mistakes. He was tempted by the fruit of another and couldn't resist. Tiger, like us all deserves a second chance. No one is without faults...No human is perfect, even Tiger...
2:13 Comment From Glenner: Be interesting to know how his PGA tour colleagues are dealing with this...after all he's the one who has driven the sport to such lofty heights and they've all benefitted money-wise. I guess John Daly is not too squeaky-clean either, but does anybody really care?
2:14 Comment From brian silva: Tiger is resilient. He will bounce back. Remember, this dalliance has been going on for many months. Now that he has come clean, the world should come clean and forgive him. After all he is human and a phenom. So, there have been and will be copious amounts of temptations down the road.
2:14 Comment From Ottawa: most of us would fall to our desire to be with a beautiful women. lets give him a break. nobody will care in January anyway
2:14 Comment From Rose: I noticed that much of his statement was about dissing the media. This strategy won't help him.
2:14 Comment From Guest: he's a golfer, and as a golfer, he has no equal.
2:15 Sarah Hampson: I think he made the right step with the comment on his website - even if it was crafted by publicity flaks. "I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect," his statement read. I think people can accept that. But how he - and his wife - act now will determine his image. Who knows how she will react? She seems very loving, however - and if she forgives him, she will help his image. The wife can redeem the husband.
2:15 Globe and Mail: That's all the time we have for questions. Thanks to everyone who participated today.
Click on the 'play' button in the grey box below to replay the conversation:
After days of rumour and intense speculation, Tiger Woods admitted Wednesday he let his family down with transgressions he regrets "with all of my heart."
While celebrity infidelity is hardly rare, particularly in professional sports, the private life of the world's most famous golfer is making headlines around the globe.
What does the future hold for Tiger now that his squeaky-clean image is tarnished? What does the public fascination with the story say about our need to deify certain celebrities? Should we expect them to be perfect?
Today at 1 p.m. ET, return to this page for a live discussion with Globe Life columnist Sarah Hampson on the Tiger Woods story. If you would like to leave a question for Ms. Hamspon in advance, please use the Comments area on this page.
Ms. Hampson began her career in journalism in 1993, when she started to write for magazines as a freelance contributer. For her work in publications such as Toronto Life, Report on Business, Chatelaine, and the now-defunct Saturday Night, she won several National Magazine Awards, including three Golds. She has also written for publications in England, including The Observer.
In 1999, The Globe and Mail invited her to write a weekly Interview column, which still runs today. The tally of interviews now numbers over 500. She has talked to a wide range of interesting people. Among others, she has sat down with the eccentric (Karen Black, Criss Angel, John Waters), the delusional (Steven Seagal), the beautiful (Sophia Loren, Faith Hill, Jane Seymour) the iconic (Hugh Hefner, Jane Fonda, Burt Reynolds) and the reclusive (Leonard Cohen; poet Anne Carson).
In 2007, she joined the staff in the Life section of The Globe and Mail. That year, she began Generation Ex, a column about the social phenomenon of divorce. She also writes Currency, a bi-weekly column about the way we spend money.
Her book about mid-life post-divorce, A Place to Land, will be published by Knopf in the spring, 2010.