“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.”
–Tiger Woods, 12/11/09
At approximately 2:30 AM EST on December 27, 2009, Thanksgiving night, Tiger Woods crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a hedge, fire hydrant and tree just outside his home in Isleworth, Florida. According to initial reports, his wife Elin used one of Tiger’s golf clubs to break the SUV’s rear window and extricate him. A neighbor called 911, Woods was taken to the hospital and treated for minor facial lacerations, and later cited for careless driving. Something about the story didn’t ring true, and within days the media circus had grown so intense that Woods’ calls for privacy were drowned in a sea of speculation about marital difficulties.
Adding fuel to the fire was a National Enquirer story, just two days before the accident, linking Woods romantically with Rachel Uchitel, a New York nightclub manager. Though Uchitel denied the affair, rumors spread that Elin Woods’ use of that club was less than altruistic, and Tiger’s wild ride was a result of attempting to escape his enraged wife.
As days became weeks, more and more allegations emerged of extramarital affairs, with everyone from porn stars, cocktail waitresses and lingerie models to pancake house waitresses and stay-at-home single moms, over a dozen in all. Sponsors began a drumbeat of retreat, with Gillette suspending Woods’ ads and Accenture severing their relationship outright, though Nike, his most lucrative endorsement contract at an estimated $100 million, so far remains firm. Finally after a brief non-statement on December 2 where Woods acknowledged undefined “transgressions,” on December 11 Tiger formally apologized for his infidelities and stated that he was taking an “indefinite” break from the pro golf tour. PGA board members began to sweat: when Woods lost half a season in 2008 due to a knee injury, viewership of the PGA Championship tournament dropped 55%; when he returned to the tour in 2009, ratings went up 83%. Tiger Woods is golf in America; if he retires, pro golf retreats into the sand trap of anonymity from which he drove it.
Born Eldrick Tont Woods, the “Tiger” nickname came from a friend of his father’s early on, and stuck. Woods, who describes his race as “Cablanasian,” an amalgamation of Caucasian, Black, Native American and Asian, has a varied genetic background; his father Earl was of African American, Chinese and Native American descent, and his mother Tida, a Thai national, also has Chinese and Dutch ancestors. A child prodigy, Woods first appeared golfing on national television at the age of two, on The Mike Douglas Show, putting opposite Bob Hope. At age 8 he won the Junior World Golf Championship in the youngest age class, the first of more than 100 career wins to date. Woods won that contest six more times, and at age 15 became the youngest ever U.S. Junior Amateur Champion, going on to win the event three years in a row, setting the first of many career records.
Woods turned pro at age 20 in August 1996, and almost immediately began reaping endorsements—$40 million from Nike, just then premiering their line of golfing equipment, and another $20 million from industry giant Titleist. The following April he won his first title—The Masters Tournament, with a record margin of 12 strokes separating him from second place, and becoming both the youngest champion ever and the first African American to win the contest, making three new records in all. In less than a year he had risen to first place in the Official World Golf Rankings, the quickest ascent ever, and was named PGA Player of the Year at the end of his rookie season, another pair of records. He has won 71 PGA Tour events, 14 major pro golf championships, and been named PGA Player of the Year a record 10 times.
Woods dominated the sport at the turn of the millennium, with a scorecard of consecutive wins unequaled in a quarter century. A minor slump in 2003-04, when he temporarily lost top world ranking (he held that spot for all but 32 weeks of the first decade of his pro career), was followed by a career resurgence and continued domination of the game. Credited with dramatically increasing the sport’s public profile, his popularity led to record crowds and huge increases in tournament prize money, which jumped from a PGA Tour total of $65 million at his premiere in 1996 to more than $275 million today. With prize money and endorsements, Tiger Woods’ net worth is estimated by Forbes magazine at roughly $500 million, with more than $1 billion career total, the first athlete in any sport to amass that sum. He has endorsed products for Nike, Titleist, Gillette, Buick, General Mills, American Express, TAG Heuer, Accenture and Gatorade, with whom he licensed an eponymous sports drink in 2008.
On 5 October 2004, Woods married Swedish model Elin Nordegren, whom he had dated for three years. In addition to two Florida residences, the couple have homes in Wyoming, California and Sweden, and have purchased property on Jupiter Island, Florida, intended as their primary residence. They have a daughter, Sam Alexis, born in June 2007, and an infant son, Charlie Axel, born February 2009. Reports on December 7 stated that Elin had moved to a nearby residence in Windermere, Florida, leaving Tiger hiding out on his yacht, the ironically named “Privacy.” As of mid-December, the couple remain together, but tabloid sources state that Elin is discussing a renegotiation of her prenuptial agreement with lawyers, and a trial separation is planned for January, after a Christmas vacation in Sweden with her family. She is expected to file for divorce.
The revelations of Woods’ irregular private life have tarnished his squeaky-clean image, and may further erode his professional standing and endorsement contracts. According to a mid-December NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, only 15% of Americans still retain a positive image of Woods, down from 85% in 2005. In 2000, Woods polled higher, at 88%, than anyone has ever polled in an initial Gallup survey; his precipitate drop is yet another world record he holds, though not one he’ll likely want to claim.
On December 15, 2009, The New York Times broke the story that a Canadian doctor under FBI investigation for providing illegal performance-enhancing drugs to athletes also has ties to Woods, potentially casting a cloud on his professional accomplishments. Dr. Anthony Galea was arrested October 15 and charged with illegal trafficking in human growth hormone. Galea is the doctor who treated Woods for his 2008 knee injury, though whether he also dispensed illegal drugs is unknown.
Born 30 December 1975 at 10:50 PM PST in Long Beach, California, Woods’ chart is a classic make-and-break tale of Deep Space activity. The Sun at 8 Capricorn exactly opposes a Quasar at 8 Cancer, an anomaly which promotes pervasive manifestation, success and notoriety (swimming phenom Michael Phelps has his Sun opposed Tiger’s and exactly conjoined the anomaly; see my bio of Phelps in the March 2009 Daykeeper Journal).
Far and away the brightest objects in the universe, Quasars spotlight whatever they touch, like setting a beacon on a hilltop. They tend toward success, achievement, and attaining of goals, and the native fortunate enough to be strongly connected to one stands out in a crowd, easily receiving recognition and reward for his or her efforts. Venus at 28 Scorpio also exactly conjoins a Quasar, the likely source of his huge financial windfall, but also ultimately his downfall, in so publicly revealing his romantic entanglements. A square to the informational Pulsar at 7 Libra indicates media attention and a quality of newsworthiness to Woods, who has been in the media spotlight since age two.
Woods’ Sun is also in aspect to several Black Holes: sextile one at 7 Scorpio, trine another at 7 Virgo, inconjunct a third at 9 Leo. To date, these have functioned as worthy adjuncts to the Quasar, enabling such Black Hole-ruled arenas as record setting and the acquisition of massive amounts of attention, energy and income. They have also enabled him to compartmentalize the naughtier bits of his psyche and behavior, hiding them away in alternate dimensions where they remained outside his public persona. But the Quasar ultimately reveals all, the good and the bad, and its intense focus has now been brought to those parts of himself that he’d prefer not to show. Further, Tiger’s progressed Sun at 13 Aquarius is currently enmeshed in the singularity of a Black Hole there, the first major galactic progression he has experienced, and this seems to have flipped the parallel reality switch on his natal Black Hole functioning, with a vengeance. Everything the Quasar has brought him in 30 years of public appearances is now threatened, and the loss could be complete, and devastating. In particular the dramatic swing in his public image can be traced to this progression, as it tends to invert current conditions in an up-is-down, black-is-white volte face, where circumstances change in the twinkling of an eye into something wholly unrecognizable from what pertained before. The progressed Sun also opposes a Maser at 13 Leo, another volatile Deep Space anomaly which creates controversy, dispute and contention.
Saturn at 1 Leo also conjoins a Black Hole, at 3 Leo, indicative of someone who channels massive amounts of energy into career. These individuals are often highly successful, but this success can be impermanent, and is subject to dramatic, sudden, and complete reversal. The Midheaven at 23 Gemini exactly conjoins a newsworthy Pulsar and another highlighting, achievement-oriented Quasar at 26 Gemini, while opposing the Galactic Center at 26 Sagittarius. GC contacts often indicate global recognition, fascination, or importance.
Also conjunct the Midheaven from the Ninth House side is natal Mars, which at 17 Gemini exactly opposes yet another Black Hole and natal Neptune at 12 Sagittarius, denoting a general tendency to be less than forthright about sexual matters, if not outright deceptive, as well as a vivid fantasy life and an internal sense that what one does sexually is somehow invisible to others. Mars is also conjunct asteroid Achilles at 21 Gemini, and sex/Mars has proved to be the golden boy’s Achilles heel, a congenital weak spot which provides his undoing. The elevated Mars at the Midheaven spells potential notoriety and high public visibility (MC) via sports (Mars), but also, unfortunately for Tiger, sex. The Black Hole opposition promotes the string of professional records and titles, as whenever a record is set or broken there is a reality shift, but it also has serious implications for sexuality.
With Black Hole Mars there is a strong attraction for the taboo or forbidden, a tendency to keep the sex life hidden or veiled, with an insatiable sexual appetite craving multiplicity and variety. Often there is an obsessive or compulsive quality to the sexual nature, with a marked kink, sexual twist or perversion evident.
One of Tiger’s alleged mistresses, Mindy Lawton, a waitress at an Orlando Perkins restaurant, has described their affair as follows: “Sometimes I looked like a rag doll after we’d made love. He really did like it quite rough. He wanted to spank me and loved pulling my hair as we had sex. He also liked me to talk dirty to him, but hair-pulling was what really turned him on…. He had such a big sex drive and wanted it fulfilled.” Lawton states that their 2006 affair lasted about a year, during which time the pair met regularly for sex, either at Woods’ home or in the back of his SUV, parked in a church parking lot. Woods has also been linked with porn stars Holly Sampson and Joslyn James, presumably not exactly white-bread partners.
Uranus on the Black Hole at 6 Scorpio and combined with asteroids Lie at 4 Scorpio, Hybris at 7 Scorpio and Pecker at 9 Scorpio, all in sextile to the 8 Capricorn Sun, is another indicator of unorthodox or unconventional (Uranus) sexual expression (Pecker), and a firm desire for unrestricted freedom in zipper issues [see my profile of asteroid Pecker in the December 2009 Daykeeper Journal], as well as the hubris (Hybris) of such a noted celebrity thinking he could maintain so irregular a private life with anonymity and impunity. Asteroid Lie here not only reveals the intent to deceive, but its exact conjunction with yet another beacon-like Quasar indicates the ultimately futile nature of that desire. Centaur Nessus, noted for inappropriate sexual activity, opposes the Sun from 1 Cancer, and squares the largest supermassive Black Hole of which we are aware, at 1 Libra, creating a huge pull on Woods’ psyche.
Neptune at 12 Sagittarius is exactly conjunct asteroid Aphrodite, significator of casual romantic involvements, and within orb of the Black Hole at 10 Sagittarius. This combination of amour and deception figures prominently in the Woods saga, and its exposure has propelled him into an alternate reality (Black Hole) where the national icon has become a noted bad boy.
Pluto at 11 Libra is squared the Sun, suggesting a transformational crisis at some point in the life, and an individual who is more than usually secretive or obsessive. Pluto is also exactly sesquiquadrate (135 degrees) to natal Mercury, itself exactly atop a media-oriented Pulsar at 26 Capricorn. This potential for devastation (Pluto) via some form of communication (Mercury) was displayed by the first hard evidence of Tiger’s infidelity, a saved voicemail message (also Mercury) left for another alleged mistress, Jaimee Grubbs, a Las Vegas cocktail waitress who claimed to have had an affair with Woods. Grubbs released this recording after Woods denied any involvement: “Hey, it’s Tiger. I need you to do me a huge favor. Can you please, uh, take your name off your phone? My wife went through my phone and may be calling you. If you can, please take your name off that and, um, what do you call it, just have it as a number on the voicemail. Just have it as your telephone number. You have to do this for me. Huge. Quickly. Bye.” Grubbs asserts that she has more than 300 text messages from Woods, many of them intimate in nature, and it was the release of this voicemail which prompted Woods’ initial, half-hearted apology on December 2.
Two other minor asteroid pairings shed light on Woods’ character—Nemesis at 24 Sagittarius and Narcissus at 25 Sagittarius indicate an obsessive self focus (Narcissus) which brings undoing (Nemesis). Batchelor and Icarus combined at 3 Aquarius suggests a rash, reckless, unheeding (Icarus) continuation of the single life (Batchelor) after marriage. Nemesis and Narcissus are also conjoined the 22 Sagittarius Moon, indicating a fatal fascination for women, and the likelihood of deep emotional issues involving self image.
Many of the alleged mistresses have names which coincide with or approximate asteroid names, and these appear prominently in Woods’ nativity. Asteroid Rachele, for Rachel Uchitel, whose National Enquirer story provoked the altercation with Elin Woods and Tiger’s car crash, lies at 26 Scorpio, conjunct romance-ruling Venus and the spotlighting Quasar at 28 Scorpio, and exactly sextile media-ruling Mercury. The Quasar with Rachele makes this first exposure of infidelity with a woman named Rachel more than apt, as it focuses attention on the problem and highlights this example, one of many. Asteroid Grubba, for Jaimee Grubbs of voicemail fame, falls at 14 Leo, conjunct the volatile, controversy provoking Maser at 13 Leo, and now opposed Woods’ progressed Sun on the 13 Aquarius Black Hole, bringing awareness (opposition) of his extramarital activities.
Asteroid Holly, for porn star Holly Sampson, falls at 24 Libra, exactly opposed a Black Hole at 24 Aries and squared natal Mercury, while asteroid James, for porn star Joslyn James, falls at 4 Sagittarius, exactly conjunct another Black Hole and broadly conjunct Venus at 28 Scorpio, trine Saturn at 1 Leo. James also works as a stand-in asteroid for both Jaimee Grubbs and lingerie model Jamie Jungers, also linked with Woods. Asteroid Cori, for Manhattan club-goer Cori Rist, another of Woods’ alleged mistresses, appears at 2 Capricorn, conjunct the Sun and opposed centaur Nessus (inappropriate sexual contact), inconjunct Saturn. Three asteroids apply for “cougar” mistress Theresa Rogers, now 49, who met Woods before his marriage but says their affair continued long after. Rogers claims to have taken Tiger under her wing and taught him some tricks in the bedroom, and with asteroid Teresa at 7 Sagittarius, conjunct natal Neptune/Aphrodite, asteroid Theresia at 4 Cancer, conjunct asteroid Nessus and opposed the Sun, and asteroid Rogers at 29 Sagittarius, conjunct Moon/Narcissus/Nemesis, her centrality to the drama cannot be doubted.
When Woods crashed his car at 2:30 AM EST 27 November 2009, the transit sky was ready to cooperate with the revelation of the scandal. Asteroid Tigerlily, for Tiger, was conjunct the Sun at 2 and 5 Sagittarius, bringing the day’s events (Sun) home to him personally, while asteroid Wood at 9 Capricorn had just conjoined Woods’ natal Sun, adding further emphasis. The Sun/Tigerlily pair straddle Woods’ natal asteroid James at 4 Sagittarius and conjoin the Black Holes at 4 and 5 Sagittarius. Asteroid Nemesis, representing karmic comeuppance and undoing, at 1 Cancer was conjunct the accident’s 6 Cancer Midheaven (itself exactly trine natal Uranus, ruling accidents), denoting a prominent (MC) fall from grace (Nemesis), and exactly conjunct Woods’ natal asteroid Nessus (inappropriate sexual contact). Meanwhile transit Nessus at 14 Aquarius opposed natal Grubba (for Jaimee Grubbs) and conjoined Woods’ progressed Sun at 13 Aquarius, with asteroid Damocles (impending doom) not far ahead at 16 Aquarius.
Asteroid Aphrodite (casual affairs) at 12 Gemini was combined with TNO Chaos (disorder and disruption) and exactly opposed its natal conjunction with Neptune at 12 Sagittarius, now exactly conjoined by transit asteroid Pecker. Venus (romance and intimacy) at 24 Scorpio was about to return to its natal degree at 28 Scorpio, and traveling with asteroid Karma (the results of our actions) at 25 Scorpio, the pair also conjunct natal asteroid Rachele, opposed the reality-warping Black Hole at 24 Taurus and squared deception-inclined Neptune at 23 Aquarius and another revelatory Quasar at 25 Aquarius. What goes around, comes around.
In a preview of the rash communications that were about to be revealed, Mercury and Icarus conjoin at 17 and 18 Sagittarius, atop a Black Hole and opposed natal Mars at 17 Gemini, bringing in the sexual element once again. Uranus paired with Juno at 22 and 23 Pisces portrays the sudden eruption (Uranus) of the outraged, ill-treated spouse (Juno). Saturn at 2 Libra on the 6 Libra Ascendant and Pluto at 2 Capricorn hugging the 6 Capricorn IC square each other, indicating the potentially devastating effect (Pluto) on Woods’ career (Saturn); their angularity denotes this as a turning point of supreme importance.
What the upshot will be is difficult to say. In addition to progressed Sun on a Black Hole, Woods’ progressed Saturn also conjoins one, at 28 Cancer, suggesting sudden, major changes in career. Progressed Venus has just entered Capricorn, urging Tiger to mature in his relationship goals, and was the seat of Pluto’s last station in September, indicating profound transition and change, both in matters of romance and earnings potential. If the potential for drug use to enhance sports performance, latent in the natal Mars/Neptune opposition, turns out to be fact, then an even more precipitate fall for the golf icon is indicated.