The Magazine Cover Jinx Hits Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods’s image as a clean-living sports icon is in tatters – adding irony to the front cover of Golf Digest magazine’s January issue, which went to press before the sex scandal broke.

Tiger Woods on the cover of Golf Digest advising Obama

This is another chapter in a long history of magazine covers signaling a major trend change. For example, Business Week picked Enron as the most successful business in American just before it disintegrated. Being on the cover of Sport Illustrated has seemingly jinxed athletes and teams many times.

Magazine cover appearances may signal the Peak of Hubris for the fallen idols.

Link: Best man speech could draw Tiger Woods out of hiding – Times Online.

The magazine features a mocked-up picture of Woods acting as caddie to President Obama, to illustrate an article headlined “10 Tips Obama can take from Tiger.” The feature, now causing some embarrassment at Golf Digest, suggests that the President, struggling to turn around a recession, could learn the art of “the quick recovery” from the famously adept golfer.

“Woods is a good role model…because he has always been able to pull himself together after setbacks,” it notes, also observing: “Woods never does anything that would make himself look ridiculous.”

I doubt that Obama will be getting any advice from Tiger.

Leadership in the U.S.

Thomas L. Friedman at the NYTimes.com offers some suggestions for McCain and Obama. Excerpts below.

Link: Op-Ed Columnist – No Laughing Matter – Op-Ed – NYTimes.com. Thomas L. Friedman

We have been living on borrowed time and borrowed dimes. President Bush has nothing to offer anymore. So that leaves us with Barack Obama and John McCain. Neither has wowed me with his reaction to the market turmoil. In fairness, though, neither man has any levers of power to pull. But what could they say that would give you confidence that they could lead us out of this rut? My test is simple: Which guy can tell people what they don’t want to hear — especially his own base.

Think how much better off McCain would be today had he nominated Michael Bloomberg as his vice president rather than Sarah Palin. McCain could have said, “I’m not an expert on markets, but I’ve got one of the best on my team.” Instead of a V.P. to re-energize America, McCain went for a V.P. to re-energize the Republican base.

So what would get my attention from McCain? If he said the following: “My fellow Americans, I’ve decided for now not to continue the Bush tax cuts, because the most important thing for our country today is to get the government’s balance sheet in order. We can’t go on cutting taxes and not cutting spending. For too long my party has indulged that nonsense. Second, I intend to have most U.S. troops out of Iraq in 24 months. We have done all we can to midwife democracy there. Iraqis need to take it from here. We need every dollar now for nation-building in America. We will do everything we can to wind down our presence and facilitate the Iraqi elections, but we’re not going to baby-sit Iraqi politicians who don’t have the will or the courage to reconcile their differences — unless they want to pay us for that. In America, baby sitters get paid.”

What would impress me from Obama? How about this: “The Big Three automakers and the United Auto Workers union want a Washington bailout. The only way they will get a dime out of my administration is if the automakers and unions come up with a joint plan to retool their fleets to get an average of 40 miles per gallon by 2015 — instead of the 35 m.p.g. by 2020 that they’ve reluctantly accepted. I am not going to bail out Detroit with taxpayer money, but I will invest in Detroit’s transformation with taxpayer money, provided the management and unions agree to radical change. At the same time, while I will go along with the bailout of the banking system, it will only be on the condition that the institutions that got us into this mess accept sweeping reforms — in terms of transparency and limits on the leverage they can amass — so we don’t go through something like this again. To help me figure this out, I’m going to keep Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson on the job for a while. I am impressed with his handling of this crisis.”