I’ve been waiting for a headline to hit on this topic and couldn’t help but push it forward a bit. With Tiger Woods’ dalliances now approaching double digits, it’s logical to wonder, as unseemly as it sounds, just how many kids he’s sired.
This isn’t so much a moral question as it is a statistical one–an inquiry into the law of averages. Look no further than the NBA for context. Sports Illustrated once estimated that the number of illegitimate children sired by NBA players is greater than the total number of players in the league.
Whether that’s exactly true or not, there’s little doubt that there are a lot of kids born out-of-wedlock to NBA players — A LOT. Likewise for sports stars overall. Counting the offspring of the more prolific among them has become a pass-time for some bloggers. Take this list, for example, that shows a running total of illegitimate children born to athletes broken down by categories like “Heavyweight”, “Middleweight”, etc.
Back to the statistics. We know that all other things being equal, given enough contacts over enough time, chances of conception increase. This is true whether someone uses birth control or not. Condoms, for instance, fail approximately 12 out of 100 times. To be more precise, in any given year of typical condom use, between 10 and 15 out of every 100 sexually active women will become pregnant. “Typical” condom use means what most people do (contrasted with “perfect” condom use, which brings the percentage to around 3%).
The other reason odds increase for Tiger, or anybody who is ‘working’ while he or she travels, is the diffuse nature of the sexual contacts. The more people in more places that you have sex with, the greater the chances of being with someone not using redundant birth control. Combining condom use with another birth control method increases average effectiveness to 95%, but the more people you sleep with, the less likely you are to fall in that category (to say nothing of your chances of aquiring an STD).
The chances of conception further increase if one’s dalliances are impulsive, as most are, because rushing decreases chances of properly using, if using at all, a redundant method.
I’m tempted to run a few statistical hypotheticals to come up with a roundabout percentage chance that Tiger is a daddy to more than the kids living in his house(s), but that would make light of an unfortunate situation more than I care to. Suffice to say, Tiger has been rolling the dice, and it’s altogether likely that his seed has been sown in more places than one. Probably a few.