* Tiger Woods all but took a 3 iron and beat himself about the head on Friday morning in apologizing rather profusely for his poor conduct in his personal life. The raw intensity of Woodsí apology was stark; other than actually opening a vein, Iím not sure what we could expect him to do. Iím sure this episode of Woods-on-Woods assault wonít be enough for some folks, but thatís just the way it is with those who appoint themselves to sit in moral judgment of others. But if you are the type of person who wanted a strong, head-on acknowledgment from Woods that heíd behaved like a scoundrel, then I think he delivered.
* Of course, some will criticize Woods for being rehearsed and scripted or overly prepared. Thatís just the way it works. What was he supposed to do, come out there and ramble and be disorganized and fail to connect on the message he was trying to deliver? Of course he was going to be organized and prepared. Sheesh. Iíve already heard someone mention that Tiger should have cried ó though he may have gotten choked up once. But because he didnít cry, some are waving him off as a fake, because he wasnít really speaking from the heart ó so it made everything he said seem fake. Whatever. If Woods has wept openly, he would have been ripped for faking it and dismissed as a cheap actor. Thereís no way to make everyone happy. Thatís the bottom line.
* And as for the anger Woods directed at the tabloid media and other media for aggressively reporting on his family and for (according to him) falsely reporting that his wife had physically attacked him: good for Tiger. Woods is fair game. His family is not. I like it that heís firm on establishing and maintaining those boundaries. The boundaries wonít be respected, not in this crass, trash-culture society. But I respect Woodsí declaration.
* That said, Woods went a little over the top in directing comments to his wife in a public setting. She wasnít there. Whatever it is that Ms. Woods wants to hear from Mr. Woods to save their marriage Ö well, surely the most meaningful and valuable efforts to that end will occur in private, no? This was an unfortunate instance of Woods playing to the crowd instead of dealing with private matters behind closed doors, away from cameras. But maybe this is just part of his full-court press to win her back. I donít know. Like I said, itís their marriage. Iím only talking about it because he chose to discuss it publicly on Friday.
* Woods didnít owe me an apology, because I view him as a golfer, and only as a golfer. My interest in Woods has pretty much been confined to what he does in a golf tournament, especially the four majors. Iím a sinner and a flawed human being, so Iím not sure why I would venture to nominate myself as an authority on how Woods has conducted himself away from the golf course. His personal life is just that; his relationship with his wife is between them. Donít get me wrong; I donít condone Woodsí behavior. By his own account, itís been disgusting. And I sincerely hope that Woods and his wife will be successful if they make the attempt to repair their marriage. But Iíve never viewed Woods as anything more than a world-class athlete who provides entertainment.
* Woods made sure to offer ďa special apologyĒ to parents who ďpointed to meĒ as a role model for their kids. This was a nice gesture, and certainly appropriate given the purpose of Fridayís appearance. And if there are kids out there who did look up to him, then he absolutely owed them an apology. But I also hope that those who made the predictable mistake of pointing to Woods ó or any athlete ó as a role model have finally learned a lesson. Athletes are goal models. They inspire all of us with their talent, their dedication to reaching maximum athletic achievement, and their ability to handle excruciating pressure. Those qualities are great to point out to kids. The stories of how an athlete overcame adversity and persevered to reach the top of the mountain can be a source of motivation for young athletes. But Iím not sure why so many of us insist on attaching a halo to ballplayers, golfers, assorted jocks. Iím not sure why so many of us canít just accept these people for what they are ó great athletes ó and insist on casting them as great human beings, too. Iím not sure why so many parents think that athletes ó who are complete strangers ó exist to help them raise their kids.
* Along those lines, Iím glad that Woods acknowledged that he needs to be more of a gentleman on the golf course. He should be nicer to fans. He should put his attack-dog caddy on a leash. He should eliminate the cursing. Ē I need to make my behavior more respectful of the game,Ē Woods said. Thank you for saying that.
* Woods immediately got the attention of the media steroids police when he angrily denied using performance-enhancing drugs, dismissing the accusations and rumors as ďcompletely and utterly false.Ē Careful, Tiger. Donít go down that road unless you are prepared to withstand years of scrutiny and investigation and the possibility of people crawling out of holes to tell different stories about you. This will make the steroid cops dig harder to find out if thereís any dirt with Woods. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Iím just saying: a lot of these adamant denials havenít worked out so well. Just ask Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, Floyd Landis, etc.
* At first I was a little surprised that Woods didnít offer a timetable for his return. But then again if Woods is serious about his therapy (for sex addiction) and if he realizes that redemption is a long and difficult process, and if his priority is to save his marriage and be there to help his kids get through this tough stretch, then golf should be way down on his list of priorities. So it makes sense to throw the golf schedule out. It actually makes Woodsí appeal for forgiveness seem more genuine.
Thanks for reading Ö