Tiger Woods Left Mississippi Too Soon

Constance McMillen, an 18-year-old senior at Itawamba County Agricultural High School, reads her many messages from Facebook and Myspace concerning her desire to attend her senior prom with a same-sex date and in a tuxedo, March 11, 2010, at her father's house in Fulton, Miss. AP Photo/Matthew Sharpe

Of all the advice Tiger Woods supposedly was fed during his sex addiction rehab stint at a high-priced clinic in Mississippi, courage apparently wasn't on the menu.

Had Woods stuck around the Magnolia State, he could have gotten the lesson for free.

Constance McMillen, an 18-year-old lesbian student at a high school in Fulton, Miss., returned to class Thursday amid a firestorm surrounding her wish to bring her girlfriend to the prom.

Earlier in the week, the Itawamba County school district nixed the prom altogether, saying the controversy had become too big a burden.

How sad that educators, instead of teaching young people a valuable lesson about inclusion, decided to squash the issue altogether.

Then again, maybe they took their cue from Woods, who turned invisible for nearly three months after his Nov. 27 car crash outside his Florida mansion, which ignited endless rumors, quickly proved to be true, of extramarital affairs.

When Woods surfaced, he did apologize to his family, friends, colleagues and most importantly, his sponsors, but he refused to take questions. Not difficult when you hand-pick your audience with adoring reporters and other sycophants to witness your televised "I'm sorry."

Woods took the time during his public apology last month to implore the media to respect his privacy, but so far has done little in the way of facing all the people he embarrassed.

"Every one of these questions and answers is a matter between Elin and me, issues between a husband and wife," Woods said.

Totally valid. Totally weak.

Even better, Woods has spent months with handlers hired to massage the negative attention. Rumor has it he's close to scoring Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush's pitchman for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to do his PR.

And if anyone believes his possible return to golf at the Masters suffices as facing the music, let's not forget that despite Augusta's magical aura, at heart it's still an all-boy's club, inaccessible to women.

Doubtful you'll hear Woods - a man whose behavior indicates he views women as cheap toys in a vending machine - call for that ban to be lifted. Back in 2003 when there was a strong push to overturn the just-for-men rule, Woods told reporters: "It would be great if we could just play a golf tournament again, but that's not the reality of it."

Some things never change, Tiger.

Minus the money and entourage of admirers, Constance McMillen didn't flinch in the face of a few hundred peeved teenagers. She returned to school and called for the prom to be reinstated.

McMillen told "The Early Show" Friday the mood at school was "hostile" and "silent" since the prom's cancellation.

Still, the teen has no regrets over her stance. "That's how I was raised," she said. "I don't know how everybody was raised, but that's how I was raised, to always be yourself and be proud of who you are.

"And it's like they're asking you, like for prom, you can be gay, just don't be openly gay, just hide it for a little while."

Unless a decision is made soon, it's likely the nation will soon forget McMillen's courage and the school district's ignorance.

One PGA golfer put it best when asked his opinion of Woods' possible return to the links: "You want my honest answer? I could give a f---."

Sadly, that's more likely the response Constance McMillen will receive as she pursues her simple desire to bring her girlfriend to the prom.

Watch "The Early Show's interview with Constance McMillen


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  • Sean Alfano

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