Today’s news, that a Tiger Woods doctor is under a criminal investigation over doping, officially starts a new open season on the hunt for evidence that Woods himself is a doper.
Arriving at a definitive answer will probably be impossible.
Unfortunately for him there’s no way to prove that you’re clean. Ever. It’s just not the kind of thing that can be proved in the negative.
Of course, even before today, there have been murmurs about Woods.
The best article we’ve seen on the subject is from Steve Sailer at Taki’s Magazine, and it was written back in May.
Normally, Tiger Woods is the most private of superstars. Early in his career, Michael Jordan taught him how to politely answer press questions without saying anything. Pro golfers are typically extremely boring interviewees who never want to stir up controversy (until they retire, when they blossom into cranky old codgers with dirt to dish on everybody), and Tiger is blander than most.
With Tiger, everything is focused on winning. For example, I’ve never heard of the lovely Mrs. Woods being photographed at any movie premieres or fashion shows or other glamorous events that you might think the beautiful young wife of a zillionaire might patronize. A couple of winters ago during the offseason, Tiger extended a rare invitation to a couple of other pros (I think Charles Howell III was one of the two) to stay at his Florida mansion with them. Touring pros live luxuriously (often driving Ferraris), but the two grinders were looking forward to finding out what life is like for the world’s other 0.00000001%. It turned out to be less glitzy than they’d imagined: their host said goodnight to them every evening at 8:30 pm and was on the rowing machine every morning at 5:30 am.
A commenter on my blog pointed out this article in Men’s Fitness from 2007, when Tiger Woods was 31. It’s surprising because, after reading it, I would never have expected Tiger to give his Las Vegas weightlifting trainer permission to talk to the press about Tiger’s workout regimen. In the article, Tiger sounds reasonable and moderate about his weightlifting, but his trainer, Keith Kleven, sounds rather like all the musclehead trainers we’ve been hearing about in connection with steroid scandals in this decade.
Ok, so he’s a dedicated exercise buff. Not really that weird. Also, credit to Sailer for making that observation about the isolation, and lack of media attention paid to Elin.
However, Sailer links to a 2007 Men’s fitness piece that certainly sounds interesting in light of today’s news:
Looking back, we grew used to all things Tiger. Then one day, he was different. He was married—to a stunningly beautiful Swedish former model. He lost his father. And suddenly, so it seemed, he was ripped. No longer gecko-thin, he was a broad-shouldered beast with sculpted forearms and lats that seemed ready to burst from the back of his expensive golf shirts. “Pound for pound,” says Keith Kleven, who’s trained Woods throughout his pro career, “I put him with any athlete around.”
Now, through a mixture of a unique weight-training regimen, distance running, and late-blooming genes, Woods is about as fit as any athlete alive, and he’s as physically different today from his early pro years as a sumo wrestler is from Chuck Liddell. When he joined the Tour out of Stanford in 1996 [at age 20], Woods carried only 158 pounds on his 6’2″ frame. [More like 6’0.5″]. Today, he weighs between 182 and 185—a gain of nearly 30 pounds. In ’96, his waist measured 29 inches; today, it’s 31.
Again, it’s possible he just decided to a fitness buff all of the sudden, though the whole “late-blooming genes” sounds doubtful.
Still, there’s no actual evidence, just circumstantial descriptions about his exercise routine, and how his body did a dramatic change midway through his career.
What will be interesting to watch is how aggressively the media goes after Woods. The media went after Barry Bonds hard, but then, the media always hated Barry Bonds, and seeing his downfall was a vincation. Tiger Woods has imploded, but reporters have no particular reason to dislike him.
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