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Almost on daily basis we are usually involved in describing and assessing the personalities of those who are within our vicinity. However, there is a need to realize that these daily arguments on why and how people usually behave the way they do are same to what psychologists of personality usually do (Surowiecki, 2009). Moreover, our informal ways of assessing personality most of the times tend to concentrate  a lot on individuals,  whereas the personality psychologists on the other hand embarks on using personality conceptions applicable to everyone. Research on personality issues has however resulted to development of several number of personality theories capable of helping to explain why and how some personality character traits develops (Nevid and Rathus,  2005).

However, since there are different  personality theories, there is also need to exactly understand what is personality. Thus personality would be adequately defined as a makeup of the characteristic patterns of feelings, thoughts  and behaviors that contributes to someone uniqueness. In addition, personality also tends to arise from within a person and fairly remains to be consistent within the entire of someone’s life (Fisher, Corona and Bandini et al 2009). However, some of the personality fundamental characteristics include: consistency whereby there is always order and regularity which is generally recognizable to behaviors. In essence, most of the people will tend to act similarly to a variety of situations. Personality has also been demonstrated as a psychological construct, however research suggests a possibility of influence by biological needs and processes. Personality however doesn’t just affect how we respond in our surroundings; it also leads to people acting in particular ways (Surowiecki, 2009). Moreover, personality is also portrayed  in just more than behavior mainly because it can be seen also in our close relationships, thoughts, feelings, as well as other social interactions.

Tiger Woods Background

The character of my choice is a real life personality whom using two contrasting personality theories I will be in a position to explain his personality character traits. The character to be discussed in this term paper is thus Eldrick T. Woods  commonly referred to as Tiger Woods who is an American  golfer whom his  achievements in the golfing game ranks him among the highly prosperous golfers of all time. Formerly, the number one golfer in the world  he is also the best paid professional golfer worldwide from his winnings as well as endorsements earnings (Fisher, Corona and Bandini et al 2009).

Born in the year 1975 in Cypress, California Tiger Woods golfing career is however nothing else apart from a spectacular one. His father however started teaching him playing golf when he was only a year old. However, his skills were very excellent and impressive such that at a tender age of three years he got an opportunity to appear on the show that was facilitated by Mike Douglas in the year 1978. The young Woods’ appearance in this show interested Bob Hope who was a legendary comedian to put up a contest (Surowiecki, 2009). Moreover, at the same age of  three years, Wood’s shot a 48 over 9 holes at a particular course within his hometown. The impressive skills of Woods made him at the age of  five to appear on  a television show referred to as “That’s Incredible” as well as in the Golf Digest magazine respectively (Nevid and Rathus,  2005).

Moreover, after six consecutive junior championships win at ages between 8 and 15, Woods proceeded to be the youngest golfer in history to become the United States Junior Amateur Champion, a feat he repeated in  the following two consecutive years, also which made him the only golf player to win the championships more than once. Also at the age of 16 Woods managed to  compete in the Los Angeles Open which was one of his very first event of PGA Tour. Woods proceeded to win the U.S. Amateur Championship at the age of 18, becoming the youngest golfer to achieve this feat (Nevid and Rathus,  2005). Tiger Woods then proceeded to enroll at Stanford University where he studied for two years whereas at 19 he also defended the Amateur Championship title he had captured the previous year successfully, which he also proceeded to defend for three consecutive times.

Woods so far has managed to win fourteen major golf championships, becoming the second best golf male player after the leading player Jack Nicklaus who has won it for 18 times. He also has the highestPGA Tour wins and major wins among other active golfers. Moreover, Woods was the youngest golfer to attain the career Grand Slam, as well as the fastest and youngest to capture 50 wins in a  tour of tournaments (Surowiecki, 2009). In addition, Woods has been the second golf player, after Jack Nicklaus, to attain a career Grand Slam for 3 times. Throughout Wood’s illustrious career, he has managed to win 46 PGA Tournaments, 10 Majors, as well as a combined wins totaling 36 from the World Cup of Golf, Asian Tour, PGA European Tour, and  other events that are unofficial. Woods has also started a number of charity organizations, such as the Tiger Woods Foundation he founded with his father which is a charity for benefiting children.

The contrasting personality theories used to discuss Tiger Woods personality

Moreover, in order to adequately to discuss the fictional characteristics and personality of Tiger Woods the discussion will be based on two contrasting theories of personality. Thus among the existing five the ones to be used are the psychodynamic and humanistic theories of personality. Psychodynamic theories of personality explains behavior of humans in terms of how they interact with other various personality components (Surowiecki, 2009). This theory of personality was founded by Sigmund Freud. Freud drew on thermodynamics which was the physics of the day  to come up with the term psychodynamics. Since thermodynamics involved conversion of heat to mechanical energy, Freud also suggested that it was possible to convert psychic energy into behavior. This personality theory usually place central importance on psychological conflicts that are  dynamic and unconscious.  On the other hand humanistic theory of personality emphasize that individuals have the free will in playing an active role to determine how they behave. This theory also focuses mainly on the subjective experiences of people in contrary to definitive, forced factors responsible for determining behavior. Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow were proponents and founders of this personality theory (Nevid and Rathus,  2005).

In the psychodynamic personality theory Freud categorizes the  human personality into three main components such as the id, ego, as well as the super-ego. The id component usually acts depending to the pleasure principle, thus it demands an immediate satisfaction of its requirements irrespective of the external environment. There is also the ego which emerges in order to adequately meet the demands and wishes of the id depending on the outside world, which then adheres to reality principle (Surowiecki, 2009). There is also the superego or conscience responsible for inculcating societal rules and moral judgment upon the ego, this then forces id demands to be not only met in a realistic way but also morally. However, the personality development  is as a result of  the embodied  social/parental ideals that are established at childhood.  Therefore considering the psychodynamic theory of personality, an individual’s personality thus relies mainly on the interactions dynamics among the three components.Freud suggested that there are five stages involved in psychosexual development of a personality. He also held that the personality of an adult depends on early experiences in childhood (Barash and Lipton, 2001).Fixations that usually develop at the childhood stage contribute to adult behavior and personality. Also it is believed that an individual’s personality advances via a series of different stages, whereby some conflicts often arise at each stage of development. Succeeding in any stage these development stages is usually depended on successful overcoming the encountered conflicts.

Maslow who is one of the proponents of humanistic theories of believed that all individuals who are interested in their own growth always strives towards self-actualization. Many of these individuals usually demonstrate a certain trend in their personalities dimensions. Humanist theories mainly emphasizes on the individual experience and free will importance in the personality development (Surowiecki, 2009). Thus its theorists and proponents emphasizes on the self-actualization concept, which can be regarded as an innate urge for growth personally that end up motivating someone behavior.

Moreover, the Humanistic theory is the least testable or scientific and it views each person as unique, viewing and deriving the world from various perspectives. This theory examines the import which people places on the aspect of being sincere to the choices they make as well as  how those choices relate with their aspirations (Fisher, Corona and Bandini et al 2009). Therefore the humanistic theories mostly concentrates on how the external stimulus is likely to affect someone’s behavior, with minimal or no emphasis on the individual’s personality traits or even what motivates someone’s behavior (Nevid and Rathus,  2005). Thus the humanistic theory can be regarded to have been derived from the existentialist philosophy which states that life of someone is determined by the choices he/she but not by fate. This theory allows someone’s personality to be influenced by other people who ends up placing conditions on someone thus  altering his/her self esteem negatively.

The fictional personality of Tiger Woods

            However, in recent years Tiger Woods has been on the spotlight not only on his impressive performance on the track but as a result of his transgressions and infidelity against his wife and family. Moreover, as more details about scandals of Tiger Woods continued to emerge, it was inevitable  to ask questions such as why such a successful man accept to cheat on his own wife, Elin Nordegren as well as family hence betraying them to such an extent. Infidelity may however  result from numerous reasons, that may range from the individual’s personality to other arguments advocating for how  natural extra-partner relationships are as well as how unnatural monogamy is (Surowiecki, 2009). It is also evident that personality factors may be responsible in influencing infidelity behaviors, this is due to the fact that people with similar personality are not likely to have incidences of  interpersonal conflicts.

Moreover, those who cheats on their wives look at themselves  as more active and social in comparison to the non-cheaters and their partners. Extroverts as depicted in the psychodynamic theory of personality may tend to have high chances of cheating to achieve stimulation as well as preventing boredom (Nevid and Rathus,  2005). Thus since extroverts are highly sociable and outgoing then for Tiger Woods it was a matter of self-satisfaction irrespective of the presence of a wife. This is clear on the psychodynamic theory which tends to relate the personality development with stages of growth hence such things are innate in someone. Hence since Woods happiness was to be found in his satisfaction from other women then cheating on his wife was an effort of looking out for increased compatibility with other women leading to cheating with multiple partners. Thus the question why Tiger Woods chose to cheat likely remains a mystery to many people for a while, until the point he may choose sharing his personal motivation to do that (Surowiecki, 2009). Moreover, his personality has played a great role in the way he behaved and handled the entire situation, in fact it was not a single case of which it may be termed as accidental  but as it was reported it was a series of women who claimed to be in sexual relationship with him. This indicates that he is such an extrovert at the expense of his wife, this in mainly because during all these incidences he kept his wife in darkness leading him to apologize to his wife and family when it was too late to repair his relation with his wife which resulted to divorce (Fisher, Corona and Bandini et al 2009).

On contrary Woods’s appeal is not ultimately based on his capabilities physically but on his mental abilities, as well as his extraordinary ability for discipline and focus. Therefore Tiger Woods always stayed putt and never melted under pressure (Barash and Lipton, 2001). In other words, Tiger is portrayed as the embodiment of so many virtues such as dedication, single-mindedness, and hard work. Indeed in 2008 when Woods was playing on one leg and ended up winning the U.S. Open, this was a clear indication of his extraordinary capabilities to completely blocking out interruptions and focusing on the issue at hand thus he possessed an embodied approach not only to golf but also to life (Nevid and Rathus,  2005).

Therefore the shock which is associated with  the Woods infidelity scandal was largely an indication of fundamental attribution error  simply put as FAE.  This mainly occurs when other people end up overestimating someone’s personality traits as well as  underestimating other variables such as context (Surowiecki, 2009). This thing also frequently happens when you may be encounter somebody in a pub and generally assume that he or she  is always outgoing and talkative sometimes without  considering that the conversation has been preceded by the beer taken. However, the drunk extrovert may be very shy on different as well as sober situations.

For instance, FAE had a lot to of things to do with the personality of Tiger Woods. This is mainly because majority of people just watched Tiger Woods playing golf on television thus  they could not help but just stare in amazement. He looked supernatural, as well as an exemplar of self-control and steely focus. This led us to assume that these mentioned traits were Tiger Wood’s fundamental attributes , and that they were not just as the golf course by-product.  If it were true then he must have been always be in possession of characteristics such as focused and controlled, this is due to the fact that he is so much controlled as well as focused when swinging a golf ball on the track (Surowiecki, 2009).

Needless to mention, we were however wrong  on our judgment. This shows how sometimes we are mistaken to generalize peoples, character traits from a game or other situations that may tempt us to prejudge. However, this leads to the conclusion that  assuming that Tiger Woods was so much disciplined was therefore itself an  impossibility scientifically. Self-control, is however,  a scarce mental resource, whereby being very well focused and controlled on the golf course may actually make people to be more likely indulged somewhere else (Fisher, Corona and Bandini et al 2009).

In light of Tiger Wood’s  recent controversy, letting his off-field antics determine how he should behave indicates a very clear indication of how the humanistic theory dictates someone’s personality (Nevid and Rathus,  2005). This is mainly because even though his actions of infidelity could have been caused to some extent by the psychodynamic aspects it is highly probable that this would have been to a lesser extent compared to how the environment in which he was consistently involved in would have otherwise contributed.  Therefore  the nature of his profession and the people he was interacting with could have at least contributed to these traits. This in fact indicates a fictional character of him because all a long no one would have ever imagined him to be involved in such kinds of actions (Surowiecki, 2009). This may as a result of his continued portrayal as a very perfect person morally.

For instance, at one time when addressing children in Tiger Woods Foundation which he founded himself told the children that his personal objective was to change life of one person every day that he lives. He also reiterated that the importance of his project was to help the children in developing positive beliefs, habits, traits and conduct (Nevid and Rathus,  2005). The consistency of his message was continued by his advocacy for the necessity of incremental change to be occurring in each and every person. Therefore the change was supposed to be mandatory in order to achieve the ultimate goal of becoming a role model to other people. Thus according to Woods it was necessary to practice what you preach whereby he reiterated the need for looking at oneself objectively as well as trying on improving on the individual basis (Barash and Lipton, 2001). Therefore coming up from this truth teachers and educators would have the ability to develop positive values in their students as well as acting as their role models.

This depicts the fictional character traits of Woods since irrespective of acknowledging the importance of practicing what you preach he ends up doing the contrary. Despite reiterating the necessity to be role models to the young children Woods knew very clearly that he was not a faithful person as later it would be revealed (Surowiecki, 2009). This may however resulted to a lot of agony to the students who might have been taking as their role model of which there was a great number. Imagine someone you have been thing as the most straight forward person later realizing that he is exactly the opposite of your expectation. However, his portrayal as a responsible person was also clearly seen where he took an indefinite off from professional golfing to concentrate on becoming a god husband, father and person (Nevid and Rathus,  2005).

Moreover, the emotional control is one of the aspect clearly illustrated by the psychodynamic theory of personality. For instance, when seeking for a talented pool of sportsmen to help in building and growing a company you are supposed to look for those who posses strong control of their emotions. People who are capable of controlling their emotions have the ability to work under pressure and produce. Thus they are capable of blocking out interruptions and summoning their energy to deliver when required. Therefore whenever you ever think about control of the emotions you can definitely relate it to sports when you are expected to lead the team you are playing for to victory (Surowiecki, 2009). Tiger Woods is such kind of a person in Golf because he has the capacity to summon all his energies and concentrating on the issue at hand.

Therefore, using the psychodynamic theory of personality we are then capable of identifying some of the major emotional control traits that greatly contributes to the personality of Tiger Woods. These traits include: tough mindedness, self confidence, contentment, autonomy and composure. Tough mindedness is indicated by his characteristics being resilient, unsentimental, realistic, hard, durable, and possibly callous and insensitive (Fisher, Corona and Bandini et al 2009). He was capable of functioning normally in unpleasant and difficult situations without being deterred by obstacles, setbacks or disappointments. Woods is also able to accept criticism of any level, without becoming easily upset, as well as recovering quickly in case things do not go his way. These traits of Woods personality were clearly seen when the news of his infidelity and transgression were spread all over the world as well as being on the media spotlight. Woods also posses strong traits of self confidence  that determines  they are successful in all what they attempt to do as a result of their certainty to perform (Nevid and Rathus,  2005). His self confidence traits are also evident in the way he successfully copes with challenges he encounters without being easily discouraged. Tiger Woods also has the ability to handle well unexpected situations as well as making decisions with assurance for instance when the news of his infidelity broke he openly decided to take an indefinite break from professional golfing a decision not many people would have taken (Barash and Lipton, 2001).

Woods is also contented, gratified, cheerful, joyful, and happy he seems to be exceptionally content with most of the things that were going on in his life. However, his trait of contentment seemed not to perfectly abide with his behavior of infidelity an indication of lack of contentment from his wife a sign of the influence of his behavior by the people around him as a result of the humanistic theory of personality (Surowiecki, 2009). He managed to cope with situations that are most challenging well as well as having an outlook that is optimistic in life. Autonomous is another character trait of Woods, this is mainly because he is individualistic, independent, self-reliant, self-governing and  possibly insubordinate (Fisher, Corona and Bandini et al 2009). Most of the times he usually prefers functioning independently as well as been accustomed to do whatever they are engaged in their own way therefore he would rarely seek for others opinions, mainly because tend to favor their own opinions and decisions. Moreover, he also portrayed the personality trait of composure because most of the times he is always calm, tranquil, emotionally mature, placid, peaceful, unperturbed, serene and composed. He has the ability to remain composed as well as dealing with stressful conditions in a very calm as well as objective manner. This is due to the fact that he rarely allowed their feelings  and emotions to affect  their performance negatively, and he was not easily frustrated or discouraged by problems they encounter. He was also not fond of  becoming upset over misfortunes or mistakes he encountered (Barash and Lipton, 2001).

Moreover, credibility as well as  image are very important when it comes to the companies’ using  celebrity role models in order to effectively market their products.  This is mainly because as a matter of fact the image of such celebrities is capable of being tainted within a very short time (Surowiecki, 2009). For instance,  take the issue of events that concerned Tiger Woods in the recent past. While by law Woods remained innocent till when he individually opened his mouth and spoke to admit his infidelity and transgressions then  a number of companies such as Accenture, Gillette, AT&T, and Gatorade started pulling their endorsement deals (Fisher, Corona and Bandini et al 2009). This is as a result that these companies were afraid of the bad image and publicity the consumers are likely to associate with Woods together with his sex scandal. However, it is only a few of these companies that openly admitted this was the reason why they made that decision to distance  their companies from Woods but as a consumer I can say that this was not the right way the companies were supposed to do mainly because the consumers are the one’s responsible of determining the extent to which they rate the celebrities irrespective of their private life (Nevid and Rathus,  2005). Some of the consumers are just interested of the track performance of the celebrity such as Tiger Woods exemplarily performance in professional golfing hence they have no issue with the way he conducts his personal life as well as his performance is what they expect from him.

On the other hand the  credibility is nowadays the most recognizable way through which agencies are evaluating the ability of a celebrity to be its representative or an endorser. This is mainly done by  recognizing that the same consumers are responsible for formulating their individual personal opinions, this is also directly related to the role which media plays in the formation of a celebrity personality just out of a single incidence (Surowiecki, 2009). This is however overestimating the outcomes of the situation by magnifying it more than it is supposed to be. Moreover, before the Woods infidelity scandal it looked in the media as if he was a supernatural being who could not wrong as well as being referred to as the greatest professional golfer in the game’s history. Tiger Woods can still continue to be acknowledged for his golfing skills but the media revealed and highlighted all his unpleasant details of his infidelity and transgression (Surowiecki, 2009). This led to the notion that for anyone who had no chance to have an idea of who Tiger Woods was as an individual or what he has done in the professional golfing to be made believe that he has always been immoral. This is from the fact that after the coverage in the media of his personal life the entire of the world noticed that Woods committed adultery (Barash and Lipton, 2001).


In conclusion, the Tiger Woods personality is sort of a fictional one combined of both the good virtues an transgression. Using the two contrasting personality theories we have managed to identify that the both sides of Tiger Woods have been greatly contributed by the humanistic and psychodynamic theories of personality. This clearly indicated how a greater part of his personality is as a result of his innate character traits as well as how the environment and people around him has influenced his personality (Nevid and Rathus,  2005).

However, for most of the celebrities many of their character traits and personality are usually portrayed by the media. Therefore the journalists should be helping us to clearly understand the real picture of the celebrities. For instance, the Tiger Woods’ recent infidelity and transgression has to a greater extent revealed so much about his personality. Therefore media provided news about Woods transgressions in context such that we are capable of  understanding the real meaning of such media coverage and interpret for ourselves (Surowiecki, 2009). Character of a person thus comes in degrees whereas not in absolutes. Therefore the strength of someone’s personality is determined by our character traits that can be measured on their consistency of expression  as well as the resistance of such traits to compromise forces. Thus by just simply knowing about the infidelity or  transgression with no knowledge about the broader aspect of the individual’s behavior over circumstances and time usually leave many of us with very little information to allow us make conclusion about Tiger Woods imperfection (Fisher, Corona and Bandini et al 2009).















Barash, D.P. & Lipton, J.E. (2001). The myth of monogamy: Fidelity and infidelity in animals and people. New York, NY: W H Freeman/Times Books/ Henry Holt & Co.

Fisher, A.D., Corona, G., Bandini, E., Mannucci, E., Lotti, F., Boddi, V., Forti, G.,  and Maggi, M. (2009). Psychobiological correlates of extramarital affairs and differences between stable and occasional infidelity among men with sexual dysfunctions. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 6(3), 866-875

Nevid, J. S., & Rathus, S. A. (2005). Psychology and the challenges of life: Adjustment in the new millennium (9th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Surowiecki, J. (2009). Branded a cheat. Available at:

[Accessed on 19 February 2011]








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