More than ever before
What's much more damaging is the potential illegality of his multiple majors.
Tiger Woods cheating on his wife is ultimately between him and her.
But Tiger Woods potentially cheating on the game of golf is definitively between him and all of us sports fans who have cheered him, revered him and marveled at how he is so much better than everybody else on the PGA Tour.
Maybe now we know the reason why.
Maybe Tiger Woods is simply the Barry Bonds of golf – and Jack Nicklaus is Hank Aaron.
The latest saga in Tiger's meteoric fall from grace came Tuesday when the story broke about one of Tiger's doctors being arrested and suspected of providing performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to elite athletes. According to the New York Times, the FBI is investigating Canadian physician Dr. Anthony Galea, who was found with human growth hormone in his bag at the U.S.-Canada border in late October.
I know, I know, nothing has been proven and we're supposed to give Tiger the benefit of the doubt. We're supposed to assume the best in our professional athletes, right?
Sorry, but that philosophy went out the window six mistresses and seven steroids scandals ago.
The PGA Tour, for once in its life, should be proactive on an issue involving performance-enhancing drugs. Commissioner Tim Finchem should immediately announce a full-scale investigation into Tiger's relationship with this controversial doctor. And if it's found that Tiger has been using illegal PEDs, all of golf's governing bodies should strip him of his major titles. Nicklaus, like Aaron, should not have his monumental milestone (18 major victories) surpassed by a cheater.
Remember the before-and-after pictures of lanky Bonds as a young baseball player and then the bulked-up, hulked-up Bonds after he began using that BALCO-manufactured "flaxseed oil"? Well, look at pictures of Tiger as the skinny young golfer and compare them to the thicker, bigger, sculpted, chiseled Tiger of today.
Doesn't it make you wonder?
Why should we blindly assume the world's top golfer is immune to cheating when top athletes in nearly every other sport (baseball, football, track, swimming, cycling, etc., etc.) have been accused of using performance-enhancers. And, yes, some of these athletes (see Lance Armstrong, Alex Rodriguez, Marion Jones, etc.) were beloved role models just like Tiger.
And, please, you Pollyanna PGA purists, spare us the rhetoric about how your sport is so honorable that competitors would never, ever cheat the game. I've heard such nonsense for years from golfers, golf fans and Finchem, who last year had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the drug-testing era.
Seven years ago, when the U.S. Open was at Bethpage Black in New York, I wrote a column on the likelihood of golfers using steroids and nearly got laughed out of the media room.
"I don't think there's any way any golfer out here has taken steroids," Phil Mickelson said then.
"Steroids wouldn't really help a golfer," Chris DiMarco said.