Elin Nordergen had flown on a Gulfstream G5 into New Orleans on a flight from Stockholm. She brought one suitcase, a small one, with certain traveling and identity essentials. Elin had gotten into the habit over the years to travel light and merely purchase what she needed on arrival. She took a taxi to the nearest Volvo dealer in New Orleans and bought a white 2010 Volco c70 with leather seats. Using her iPhone’s mapping, she had made her way to Interstate 10 going north, crossing over Lake Pontchartrain, eventually hopping onto Route 11 which took Volvo into Mississippi. Then she veered onto Interstate 59, going north to Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Elin was searching for the Pine Grove Gentle Path Facility where her husband, Tiger Woods, was being treated for his “problem.” Though the Pine Grove center treats its patients in groups, Tiger was given a private “cottage” residence. This did not conform to Pine Grove procedure, but the risk of media encroachment justified the special treatment. Tiger’s offer to make a generous contribution also persuaded the Pine Grove management to satisfy Tiger’s request.
Elin was leaning again a dark green wall in the cottage where Tiger was housed. Tiger was sitting on a couch, his buttocks perched on the edge of the couch, his hands on his knees, his legs to together. It was not a relaxed position, nothing casual about it. This was there first meeting since Elin had left for Sweden and purchased a house on Faglaro Island about an hour’s drive from Stockholm. Elin was wearing black sweatpants, Reebok running shoes (no more Nike for her), and a black running shirt covered in a black leather jacket. The blond hair was long as it draped over all the black. Her legs were crossed, her back leaning on the wall, her arms crossed.
“So what is this place?” asked Elin.
“You know what it is,” said Tiger.
“Well, actually, I don’t. It says clinic. (Elin made quote signs with her fingers.) Like a golf clinic, yes,” said Elin, trying not to be sarcastic.
“It’s a clinic for sexual addiction,” said Tiger.
“Oh yeah. What is that? Is that like an illness? Do you have an illness, Eldrick,” said Elin.
“Could you not call me that,” said Tiger.
“It’s your fucking name, Eldrick. Maybe you should start using your birth name. Isn’t it more honest,” said Elin.
There was a moment of awkward silence.
“So tell me about what they do here for your problem,” said Elin.
“They have group therapy, and they do shame reduction work and trauma work,” said Tiger.
“Shame reduction work? You mean they are trying to make you feel less shame,” said Elin.
“It’s part of the therapy,” said Tiger.
“You’re joking,” said Elin.
“It’s part of the process. I cannot overcome my addiction to sex without first dispensing with the shame,” said Tiger.
“They should fucking make you feel more shame. It is shame that got you to come here,” said Elin.
“But it will be the eradication of that shame that will permit me to leave,” said Tiger.
“And trauma work? what trauma did you go through, Eldrick? Tell me that? Like I didn’t have any trauma. Like the kids,” said Elin.
“Maybe you can check in with me. We can go through this together,” said Tiger.
“That is not happening,” said Elin.
“I have to talk about you and our relationship here. With the doctors, with the other patients when we are in group,” said Tiger.
“You talk about me? You better not talk about me. This is your problem, not mine,” said Elin.
“No, listen. After I described things to them, it might be the case that you are suffering from sexual anorexia,” said Tiger.
“What the fuck did you say?”
“Sexual anorexia is a pathological fear of intimacy, a fear of sexual interaction,” said Tiger.
“We have two children, Eldrick. What kind of goddamn fears do I have? None. And you don’t talk about me to them. It is none of their business,” said Elin with rising anger.
“Sexual anorexia is a serious problem,” said Tiger.
“Oh, and they are trying to blame this on me, is that it. What a load of crap,” said Elin.
“And you have paranoid tendencies, Elin. That little bit you pulled with my cell phone and texting Rachel, that was deceitful,” said Tiger.
“It’s Rachel, now? You can just say her name in front of me,” said Elin.
“It’s part of the shame reduction therapy. It is working,” said Tiger.
“They call this place “Gentle Path,” said Elin. ”Like this thing you are going through is supposed to be ‘gentle.’ They are making this easy for you. Making you think that what you have is a disease, and to come to terms with it, and then just recover, gently, easily,” said Elin.
“Yes,” said Tiger.
“Let me sum up my diagnosis, Eldrick. You are a prick. An asshole. A liar. And the last fucking thing this recovery should be for you is gentle,” said Elin.
Elin moved to the front door of the cottage. Tioger watched her as she walked. He noticed how she walked, the sway of her hips, her long shimmering blond hair.
“Do you want to make love?” asked Tiger.
Elin turned to face Tiger. She looked at him. And then she opened the door and left. Eldrick Tont Woods placed his forehead into both his hands and his body’s posture bent forward. He did not cry. Crying was forbidden at the Pine Grove Clinic.