Tiger Woods Visits Jimmy Fallon
This is the full version of the show above.
Well, looks like he’s on the comeback trail if not the interview circuit. If he can get back his A game and stop spitting and cursing and losing it while he’s playing golf, then Tiger is back as a threat. Otherwise, he’s just going to make some games interesting for a hot minute, and that’s all. Which is a shame. Tiger is not just a name. He was able to back up and deliver who he was once upon a time.
Until he wins some games, not any more.
Since it was Woods’ first late-night appearance since 2009, Fallon immediately alluded to the golf star’s tumultuous year and a half with a deadpan opener: “What have you been up to?”
Woods laughed and answered honestly: “Playing bad golf.”
Uhuh. Ain’t that the truth. Still wondering when he’s going to play good golf for a change and break out of being Number Five in the world.
But Fallon was just getting warmed up. He then proceeded to heap praise on Woods for having the “courage” to appear on a comedy show in light of the golfer’s scandal-plagued personal life. The talk show host thanked Woods for providing his writing team with so many jokes, admitting that “we laughed at your pain.”
“Thank you for having the courage to come on a late-night comedy program, because it must have been a painful and awful situation, the whole thing you went through,” Fallon said. “But from a comedian’s standpoint and my monologue writers, thank you! So much! It kind of wrote itself. I mean, balls, shafts, holes, foursomes. It really writes itself. Thank you! Thank you!”
Woods smiled, laughed nervously and acknowledged the appreciation: “You got it,” he said.
This is all PR; I have no doubt that all this was planned, also in conjunction with a video game he just released, “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters.” If anyone thinks that this is a new Tiger Woods, I’m here to disabuse you of the notion. It’s the same Tiger Woods, but the arrogance is way gone. He’s got to earn his good wishes all over again from that most vicious mistress of all, the public. The hard, chastened way.
The public–his fans–are his bread and butter, and that’s who’s really paying for that $60 million mansion which is, in Fallon’s words, Woods’ own personal country. He’s reportedly converted it from a family home into his own glorified bachelor pad when his marriage went south. He’s got to keep those remaining product sponsors happy by making money for them. Going right into the lions’ den of late night comedy–and Jimmy Fallon was tame and effusive compared to someone like David Letterman, whose wife still hasn’t forgiven him for his transgressions with the disappeared intern, Stephanie Birkitt, who may still be on paid leave of absence from the show. Or Jay Leno. Or Jimmy Kimmel. These guys could be absolutely merciless. Unfortunately, Fallon was probably the better choice for Woods, because like the L.A. Times critic disgustedly wrote, Fallon didn’t exactly talk with Woods, he talked at him, doing almost all the work for him. And that’s probably what Woods wanted. A lot less disclosure and a lot more gush for the living legend that he is.
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Fallon thanks Woods for all the comedic fodder he’s provided, then lists all the wonderfully hilarious double entendres golf provides, then describes — to the man who owns it — all the stuff he’s seen about his house, then tells Woods that his golf game has improved.
What we hear from Woods is simply illuminating: Thanks… Uh-huh… Ha-ha… He doesn’t wear any of his Masters jackets because they aren’t “cool” to wear like that (even on St. Patrick’s Day). Oh, and his caddy’s name is Steve.
Woods is notoriously taciturn and naturally a difficult interview. But it would have been nice if Fallon, who was exceedingly polite and wary of stepping on Woods’ toes, put in the extra effort to get something out of his guest. He should have asked a good question.
Yeah, tell me more about that. Like he’s now dealing with the fact that single fatherhood is hard? Oh, boo-flipping-hoo. This will really make the women go, awwwww. You know, parenthood is hard, period. All that used to be up to Elin in the good old days of their traditional marriage, but that’s what shared custody does: sharing the weight sometimes brings guys down to earth. Woods says that being a dad is both tough and enjoyable. The jealousy that he still reportedly feels about Elin’s single life and her new lover(s), his acting out emotionally, as well as his learning to care for his children on a daily basis, and adjusting his life to being there for them may be putting him off his game as well. However, if I were him, I wouldn’t continue to use this excuse for being off-game or that he cannot play more games on the tours, because it looks as if he is blaming his own children from holding him back, and that he is not taking responsibility for his own failings on the course.
And that ain’t right.