Swedes keep lapping up juicy Tiger tidbits

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Swedes keep lapping up juicy Tiger tidbits

Amid new reports that Elin Nordegren is set to sign a sponsorship deal with the rival of one of golfer husband Tiger Woods’ strongest corporate supporters, Swedes continue to swoon over every new revelation in the ongoing drama.


On Wednesday, celebrity news website reported that Nordegren is “very close” to signing an endorsement deal with the Puma sportswear company.

Puma is one of the largest competitors of Nike, the sporting goods giant which has long sponsored Woods and has said it will continue to stand by him despite his current troubles.

As the Woods’ infidelity scandal continues to unfold, Swedes have feasted on tabloid reports of the star golfer’s self-described “transgressions” against his Swedish wife, with the intense US news coverage fascinating a country unaccustomed to media prying into the private lives of public figures.

In a country where humility, reserve and understatedness are practically national traits, the twists, turns and revelations into the golfer's infidelity are "so un-Swedish and ... decadent," columnist Ann Söderlund wrote in Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet recently.

Newspaper pages in the US and Sweden have been splashed with juicy reports about a scorned wife swinging a golf club at her unfaithful husband in their surreal world filled with million-dollar homes and yachts and spiced with cocktail waitresses and nightclub hostesses.

Maybe that is why Swedes are "so interested, so engaged, so fascinated" by the story, Söderlund suggested.

Little information in the scandal has emerged from Sweden, with the Swedish media mostly picking up news reports from the US and British press and celebrity websites.

Yet ever since Tiger Woods admitted "transgressions" in his marriage almost three weeks ago, tabloids Aftonbladet and Expressen have had a field day with the story, regularly putting it on their front pages.

"The only thing competing with the (Woods) infidelity drama in Swedish tabloids was the finale of (Swedish) Idol," columnist Niklas Ekdal wrote Tuesday in newspaper of reference Dagens Nyheter (DN).

Both the scandal and the singing contest were a sign of "the mass-mediatized future we are headed toward," he lamented, saying Tiger's generation, or "Generation T", was accustomed to "instant gratification and maximum performance with minimum effort."

"Tiger Woods thought he could have his cake and eat it too. On the one hand, earning millions with a Mr. Clean advertising image according to American standards, while on the other, having the socializing habits of an Italian prime minister."

DN's correspondent in the US, Michael Winiarski, meanwhile explained in a recent report to Swedes -- unused to the paparazzi scrutiny into public figures' private lives -- the US obsession with the scandal.

He described how "hour after hour... relationship experts, finger-waggers, weepers and D-list celebrities" lined up on American networks to comment the latest revelations on the Woods family.

Meanwhile Söderlund, who lamented the sensationalist coverage of the story, took sides early on and praised "how Swedish Elin acted when it became obvious her husband had cheated."

"While Hillary (Clinton) and Posh Spice chose to keep silent, diet and become feminist doormats, Elin stood with both feet firmly planted on the ground and realized the shame was Tiger's, not hers."

"She refused to simply be treated like shit. And that, my friends, is why I thank God for girls like Elin," she said.

She concluded by quoting fellow Swede and pro golfer Jesper Parnevik, who introduced Elin to Woods and said when the scandal broke: "I hope she uses a driver next time rather than a three-iron," in reference to the cause of the strange car accident that kicked off the scandal.

Sweden's TV4 recently hosted a panel discussion on the subject of infidelity in light of the scandal, and a poll on the channel's website asked viewers "What Should Elin Do Now?"

Of the 2,565 who voted online, 63 percent advised their compatriot to leave the dethroned golfer, 11 percent said she should forgive him, and 26 percent thought she should "pull out the driver."


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