By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Dec 08, 2009 at 9:03 AM
The last week, with the Tiger Woods story, was an incredible week, almost raising more questions than answers.

At the heart of it, however, is the question that is so very difficult to answer.

Should this be a public story at all?

It is for questions like this that the talkback feature at was invented. I hope everyone who reads this chimes in, because it's a question that may not have a right answer, but we'll see.

One argument says that since Tiger is such a public figure, everything in his life is open to examination by the public. The argument says that celebrities make a deal with the devil, being granted riches and privilege, but paying the price of no ability to have secrets.

The other argument is that Tiger, and other celebrities, are entitled to a private life. Unless their behavior affects their professional performance, they should have the right to keep it private.

I don't know, for sure, where I come down on this issue. I can see merit in both, and it's an issue I've been faced with over the years.

I've covered football, basketball and golf in my career. I've seen professional athletes do things that would fall into the category of questionable behavior. But I've ignored those things. One of the factors that influenced me was whether there was a third party involved, most usually a law enforcement agency. I always felt that if the cops were called, the story was fair game. Anything else and I was willing to let secrets be secrets.

What are we to make of the Tiger Woods affair? It was a story that was driven by online sites, almost exclusively. If anything, this story solidified my opinion that the daily newspaper is largely irrelevant to my life. There was nothing in any paper, including such institutions as the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that added anything to this story. Every development was driven by online organizations like,, The Daily Beast, radaronline, US weekly and the National Enquirer online.

All of those papers spent space just repeating what had already been reported by online outlets. You can bet, however, that in newsrooms around the world, there was plenty of teeth grinding over whether to run with this story or not.

The Tiger incident clearly had at least some impact on his professional career. It caused him to withdraw from his own tournament in California this weekend, a tournament that is designed to raise money for his own foundation. Obviously Tiger didn't want to face the media questions that would have bombarded him if he'd have played. In one of the statements he made, Tiger talked about the principle of privacy that he believed he was entitled to and how he felt as if that principle had been violated.

We can, and probably should, have this debate over the Tiger affair. What's the right thing to do? Just because you are able to get any kind of story online doesn't necessarily mean you should do it.

But this may also be an argument that is just so much wasted time and breath.

The fact is, I believe, that attention on celebrities, no matter what kind of celebrity, is a force of its own. If you try and ignore it, the attention will roll over you. If you fight it, the attention will leave you bruised and bloodied.

Some celebrities revel in attention, people like the White House party crashers, the Balloon Boy family and Paris Hilton. They are famous for being famous and there is nothing that could be written about these people that would upset them.

But other celebrities are famous for things they actually do, like become the greatest golfer ever. And we must decide if there are different rules for them, rules that allow them to have a measure of privacy.

Tough question.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.