Eugene Cho

tiger wood: the rise, fall, and…

It began with an accidental car accident (my words). Seemed innocent enough. And eventually, it became ridunkulously stupid all the media coverage an accidental car accident was receiving. Time to move on.

And then the drama began to unfold.

And while I haven’t been following the story, it’s hard NOT to hear something about the story. I don’t know if you’ve been tracking it. I’ve avoided blogging about it until tonight when I read about his decision to indefinitely take a break from professional golf.

Just wanted to share some quick reflections and ask you a simple question for your feedback:

*  Celebrity borderline infautation and worship. We all do it on some level…even in the church.
*  Tiger is a mere mortal. We’ve all fallen short of the glory of God. But man, makes me respect Joseph, Daniel, and Esther in the Old Testament. People looked, pierced, combed, and hunted for stuff to bring against them…and really came up with nada. I know I’m not perfect. I have no stone to cast…but I still want to pursue living above reproach – and lean on the grace of God.
*  You could have everything in the world but if those closest to you don’t respect and love you…you have nothing.
*  I share this all the time with those who are married or desire to be married some day: Marriage will bless or curse everything you do. It’s sacred and the substance of so much.
*  When you’re on top, everybody wants a piece of you. When you’re on the bottom, everybody wants a piece of you. So be careful and wise who gets a piece of you.
*  Recently, I’ve been examining my heart for others and I ask myself these simple questions – especially when I’ve experienced pain, tension, or envy in my relationship:

Do I truly want this person to prosper? Do I want the best for this person? Do I truly want this person to flourish? Do I truly want this person to be restored? Do I truly want God to bless this person?

Here’s the kicker. If I can’t positively answer the questions above, the problem isn’t the other person…it’s me. All that to say, I hope the best for Tiger Woods, his wife, Elin, and their family.
*  In the end, golf really isn’t all that important which is why his decision to take an “indefinite break” from professional golf is a good decision.

So, here’s my question to you:

If you are one of Tiger’s closer friends, what advice would you give him? What advice would you give Elin?

My advice: I would simply remind them to look at one another, look to their children, look to their closest and trusted community, look to their covenant of marriage, ask for forgiveness, forgive, restore one another, and look to the One above…and work and receive grace (daily) towards all these things.

Here’s Tiger’s announcement on his website about his decision:

I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I’ve done, but I want to do my best to try.

I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What’s most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.

After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.

Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period.


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15 Responses

  1. randall says:

    Recently, I’ve been examining my heart for others and I ask myself these simple questions – especially when I’ve experienced pain, tension, or envy in my relationship:

    Do I truly want this person to prosper? Do I want the best for this person? Do I truly want this person to flourish? Do I truly want this person to be restored? Do I truly want God to bless this person?

    Here’s the kicker. If I can’t positively answer the questions above, the problem isn’t the other person…it’s me. All that to say, I hope the best for Tiger Woods, his wife, Elin, and their family.

    I think ideas like this can change the world. Really.

    And I have no idea what I would say to Tiger Woods but I have great admiration for his choice to step away from golf.

  2. I’m fascinated by Tiger’s decision as it seems to go against the grain of so many celebrity decisions regarding commitment to marriage. Even though it is sad to see the pain his choices have caused, I truly hope it works out for them and that restoration is possible.

    To Tiger and Elin, I would say this:

    Forgiveness is not an easy or simple process. I am encouraged to see Tiger attempting to prioritize your family, but the proof of your commitment will come in your willingness to humbly admit wrong, seek counsel, healing, and accountability, and then spend a long time consistently rebuilding the trust he broke with them.

    It is possible, and you’ve definitely taken a great first step, but it will be a very, very hard process to complete if you want to truly heal the relationship – not just cover up the indiscretions and move on. Should you reach this point, you will then know yourselves and be very grateful for each other in ways you could have never imagined.

  3. Ken G. says:

    Been there, done that, but I can’t remember what I said to my friend when I found out he crossed that line about 4 years ago. If I was Tiger’s close friend, I’m sure I would take the same approach.

    I was friends with both him and his wife. We’ve shared many meals together in each others home, traveled together, conducted business together, and prayed together. It was painful to watch his life unravel and painful to see so many people (friends, business associates, etc.) abandon him.

    The jest of what I told him was this…

    “Brother, I love you, but I hate what you did. I’m going to stick by your side closer than before, keep you accountable to attend counseling, call you to ask the tough questions, be in contact with your wife to make sure what your saying to me is consistent with what she sees. I’ll help you get you through this. And when you’re restored and have balance back in our life, I’m gonna kick your ass! You’re not going to get a free pass from me, but it makes no sense to abandon you like everyone else has when its times like this you need friendship, support, accountability, and prayer.”

    His wife dropped the divorce paperwork and they appear to be happily married and enjoying their life together.

  4. […] Very interesting thoughts on the rise, the fall, and yet to be determined…. life of Tiger Woods […]

  5. JRY says:

    Seems like the covenant of marriage that they entered into has been exploded. His actions have broken the terms of the Covenant. so…looking to the covenant would have to be looking at what type of covenant could be re-established. This is a very real possibility, but not without a myriad of miracles. It would also be important for both Tiger and Elin to disconnect the the two distinct steps that are often linked (especially in church circles): forgiveness and restoration of trust.

    the indefinite break from golf is likely the only environment that restoration of covenant could be possible, so kudos for taking that step…still a long road that may end in restoration or the discovery of irreparable damage to the critical relational element of TRUST.

  6. pjchris says:

    My husband and I went through a somewhat similar (thought not as extreme or public) circumstance. I asked him this same question today -what would you tell him? His simple reply was “Get help”. Mine was “you really can’t say ‘sorry’ enough to make it better. It takes time”. In this world of instant fixes and do-it-yourself-ers, I guess our advice would come down to this, you can’t do it alone and there are no quick fixes when trust is broken.

  7. Bob says:

    I think this move by Tiger is a step in the right direction. It is still about him and saving face than about a marriage. A mistress on the side is culturally excusable for a man of such power. His wife benefits from his material wealth. The marriage was over emotionally over years ago. Feel sorry for the kids though. He got out of golf because now there is more shame in being an addict and a laughing stock. You have to be addicted to power and devote everything you have to maintain it to play at this level. I recommend the 1st step of AA Admit that you are powerless over this addiction and come clean.

  8. eliseanne says:

    Some rambling thoughts to add to the wonderful things others have said…
    i would remind Tiger that he needs to work on his/the issues, even if he wife does not want to. Her willingness for reconciliation cannot determine his. Does that make sense? So if she does not want to or is not ready to forgive, that does not mean that he has the go-ahead to not work on reconciliation. He needs to receive healing himself, and then continue to love her and the children, always ready for peace and reconciliation for whenever she is ready. If it does end in divorce, then I guess the love he needs to keep having is a godly, caring love that seeks to establish shalom for their family.

  9. medina says:

    Huge mistakes, but he is finally becoming a man. We need to step out of his way, out of his life and let Tiger lead it.

    • Kim says:

      Amen, thank you! Sorry, but it kind of bothers me that anyone would express judgment about a person they have never even met. We don’t really know what’s going on with Tiger as a person or with his marriage, only a few facts. I wish this society would stop judging everybody. Be slow to speak, quick to listen. Humility, people!

  10. Dave L. says:

    I’d say – ‘get lifelong help for your addictions(my judgment), really examine your vow of marriage and what that means & whether that’s really the right lifestyle for you, and prepare for a long uphill slog to regain trust of your wife and to trust yourself against these behaviors.’ Had he not been married, he would have been seen only as the George Clooney of golf – but it’s the re-commitment (in all it’s forms) to monogamy that will be a much harder test than reworking his swing.

  11. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by eugenecho: My thoughts on Tiger, marriage, family, and golf. In the end, Golf isn’t all that important:

  12. Miah says:

    Just the other day I heard them discussing on ESPN what was going to happen to all of Tiger’s money,when he would be coming back, and what impact his absence would have on the tour. This is a sad day–though I can’t say that it should surprise me–when we care more about a man’s money and return than we do about his life, his family, and the emotional hurricane they’re now going through. Some analyst even went as far as to say that he isn’t doing this (taking a break) for his family, he is doing this to save his own image. Wow. Whether this is true or not is not important to me; what is important is this: That Tiger will realize how important his family is to him, and that NOTHING-no power, money, fame, sponsorships–is as important as family. Above all, I pray that he realizes that nothing in this world fulfills, loves, and forgives like our God. My heart and prayers go out to him and his family.

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It appears I brought a little Seattle to the NYC. Drizzle fest. 24 hour gathering with a small group of leaders from around the country. Learning. Listening. Asking hard questions. Head exploding. Heart trying to have hope. As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
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After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
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Forget my street cred.
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She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it.

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