The Tiger Woods Question

With Tiger Woods’ personal life among the most talked about tempests in the public teapot, we have been asked by many sources about the odds of car accidents, golf accidents, and above all, male marital infidelity. Leaving aside the question of whether those in the public eye cheat more or less than others, and frankly, giving Tiger the benefit of the doubt as to his behavior, we can say something about American men in general, a group even the best golfer in the world belongs to.

As many of you know by now the odds an ever-married or cohabiting man has cheated during the relationship are 1 in 4.76. How common is that? Well, it is more likely than it is a man will attend a Major League Baseball game in a year (1 in 6.07), or a woman smokes (1 in 5.43), or an adult is afraid of mice (1 in 5). Pretty common.

As of this writing we know that many people know this statistic since it has been widely reported on many sites such as Yahoo Shine and quoted by many media outlets.

We know something more about 9,835 people who as of this writing have visited our site and checked the detailed Odds Statement page for the cheating odds.

This page has some buttons users can hit to put Odds Statements of interest in their completely private “My Book of Odds.” One is an “interesting” thumbs-up button, which allows users to collect those Odds Statements they like or want to use for calibration or comparison to other Odds Statements. Fifteen people have hit that button.

There is also our iconic red spot button which means this Odds Statement relates to me. Hit it and the statement is added to the “Odds Like Me” list on the private “My Book of Odds” page. Hit enough of these and a person can create a personalized version of the Book of Odds, containing only Odds Statements which describe aspects of themselves. How many people have clicked the “Add to Odds Like Me” button? Zero.

If we assume the 9,835 folks are all over 15 and are distributed by gender and marital status just like the rest of the US population, this sample would include 4,751 males (1 in 2.07). Of these, 2,654 would be married or in committed relationships (1 in 1.79). And of these we can expect on balance that 557 fellows will have cheated on their partners.

Of course these assumptions could be wrong. Perhaps this sample is biased to include more cheating men than average or more women curious about their exposure. The main point wouldn’t change though. However many cheating men are included in the sample, given the chance to identify this Odds Statement as applying to them, as of this writing, no one has.

Whatever may or may not have transpired in Tiger Woods’ life, when asked the implicit question—does this apply to you?—no one as of 3:30 Eastern Time on December 3, 2009 has answered the Tiger Woods question in the affirmative.

They have taken, it seems, the advice of Shaggy. Just say, ” It wasn’t me.”

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