An Open Letter to Tiger Woods' Mom About the Creepy Nike Ad

BlogHer Original Post

Dear Tilda Woods,

I've been thinking about you this week, wondering what it feels like to be Tiger Woods' mother as he returns to the Masters and to his role as a product spokesperson. I have two sons of my own -- and my 21-year-old is a jock who soaks up a good amount of my time and resources with his athletic pursuits -- so I can imagine that your feelings are complex. You think it's going to get easier when you get them out of school, but it's only an new beginning, isn't it?

I've been wondering what you think about the new Nike ad, because the world is abuzz with commentary. The reviews aren't that great; you probably already know that. Mostly, viewers are using the word "creepy" because the ad features the voice of your deceased husband, Earl Woods. His audio clip was lifted from a 2004 documentary, when he was actually discussing how his parenting personality was stoic and cerebral compared to your more expressive, emotional style. Nike edited out the parts about you, spliced in "Tiger" to make it sound like Earl was talking to your son, and created a new Dead Man Talking approach to advertising.

While you, Tiger's mother, are quite alive.

That must be all sorts of weird for you. I'd be pissed, actually, if I ended up on the editing floor, when I was being the one talked about. And who would be better to talk to Tiger now than you? Why is Earl still getting all of the attention?

Well, Tilda, I just wanted to say that I would much rather hear your words addressing Tiger in that ad. Regardless of what you want to say to him, I would rather hear your truth than an edited commercial fantasy.

Frankly, it would be awesome to hear Tiger's mother call him out. I'd even wear pink plaid golf clothes for the chance to hear you really lay it on the line as someone who knows what was invested in Tiger and how he squandered it. For you to remind him of what he seemed to have forgotten about respect, commitment, plain old decency. I'd love to hear some of that fire that Earl talked about in the documentary. Tell him, mama!

But even if those aren't things you want to say to him, I'd still rather hear your thoughts than Earl's splices.

During Tiger's February press conference, you whispered beaming words of encouragement and support, and I understand that too, even though he has exhibited some incredibly bad behavior. I am tight with both of my sons, too. It's not that they can do no wrong in my eyes, but publicly, I would kill dragons to protect them, and when they are vulnerable because they are trying to be better men, I've got their backs.

Perhaps you are simply thrilled that he's working again. None of my friends want to think they've launched their kids, only to end up with them back in the basement. That Nike money, maybe it's so good you don't mind the whole Earl-speaking-from-the-grave gimmick.

Think about talking to Tiger's agent, though, or get one of your own. Nike could do a series of ads, follow up the Earl spot with one or two from you. You don't even need to appear on camera! Breaking the fourth wall makes the Earl commercial extra creepy, because as a viewer it feels like a dead man's voice is coming from inside me, and that is unsettling. But if you gave Tiger a what-for, that would be a vicarious thrill. (Maybe a third commercial with Elin? Now that would be something! Just an idea.)

Perhaps most of all, you are simply happy to see Tiger on the green again. I know my heart soars when my son sprints on to his beloved soccer fields, and everything else fades away when we see our children do what their bodies and souls love to do.

Best of luck to you, Mrs. Woods. Hope to hear you on your own Nike ad soon!

Contributing Editor Deb Rox blogs like a freaking butterfly and stings like a Tweet.  Her best hole-in-one included a windmill and two gnomes, and it was a thing of beauty that no tiny pencil could fully capture.


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