They say confession is good for the soul, so in an effort to do some soul cleaning, I've decided to sweep out some of the last remnants of my recent curious interest in Tiger Woods.
Unless you live under a rock or a snow drift, you've heard all about the thirteen and a half minute "statement" by Tiger Woods. It's been everywhere, broadcast all over the world, followed up by analysis by everyone from crisis management experts, to media gurus, to well, folks like you and me.
If I had thought that Tiger's admissions and apologies were meant for me, I probably would have made the time to hear what he had to say. But the fact is, none of this was for me...or for the average golf fan...directly anyway. He apologized to specific people, namely his wife and family, and I don't doubt for a second that he truly is sorry. Like I said before, confession is good for the soul.
What is interesting to me is that the whole thing seems like sort of a slight of hand - I'm not sure anyone really got what they wanted...but I think it worked. Those from the general public who felt Tiger owed us all an apology didn't get it (whether they were entitled to one is a whole other story)...it seems he spoke at us, but not to us. He did publically acknowledge his regrets and mistakes to those directly in his life, which I'm sure he has already done in private. And then he took a few moments to throw a few jabs, sneaking in a little disgust with the rumors and stories. Based on what I've read from other people, I'm half surprised that he didn't finish it all by saying "Am I done now?".
It is my humble opinion that Tiger knew he had to do this, but he wasn't going to give anyone the satisfaction of thinking they forced him to do anything...so it was all an illusion of sorts - say the right things to make everyone think that they are all getting what they want but hoping that they follow the act and not the words.
He knew he just needed to get it over with. If he had chosen to stay quiet the questions would have followed him everywhere. It doesn't matter if this was "none of our business", this wasn't going to go away. Tiger and his people knew that. They also knew that once you put it out there, the whole speculation game is over and it doesn't take long before someone else's controversy will fill the headlines...welcome to Damage Control 101.
I'm not really sure I buy the whole theory that people like to put others up on a pedestal only to see them knocked down (I personally think it's the people that never wanted to see them up there in the first place that are the ones taking the swings), but I do believe that even as fickle as humanity can be, many people have compassion for the emotionally bruised and battered. By Tiger acknowledging his infidelity and admitting that he thought he was bigger than the rules (or something like that), he showed a vulnerability and honesty that will no doubt draw some people's sympathy and cause them to champion his "recovery".
Tiger "the brand", also needed to be pulled out from under the bus. When some sponsors actually separated themselves from Tiger was when I realized this whole mess couldn't just be swept under the rug. It made me wonder if those with a lot of dollars and time still invested in TW may also be feeling some of the effects of "guilt by association"...I imagine they are. I believe that Tiger felt he owed it to them to redirect the focus back on him and offer thanks for their support. Sponsors who may have once appeared to be supporting the "adulterer" have been let off the hook and are perceived as an innocent bystander. Way to take one for the team, Tiger.
I'm just glad it's over now. I would imagine there are "Tiger Watch" websites and clocks ticking with how much time is left until we see him on a golf course again. We've heard Doral, and I hope that's right. Just like this "statement", once he plays his first event after his "leave of absence" I imagine things will start to get back to normal. Even if you're not a Tiger fanatic, like me, I think you have to admit that when he's playing, professional golf gets a shot in the arm.
Many have said that regardless of what he said last Friday, the true measure of Tiger Woods will be in his actions. Unfortunately for him, from this point on, that means both on and off the golf course whether he (or we) likes it or not. I guess that is the price of fame and public opinion. The golf media will also be tested...will they be able to keep the focus on golf or will they try to eblow back into his non-golf world...my guess is, if they try it won't be pretty.
My final confession is that even though I feel like I can look beyond the current debates and "analysis" of Tiger, if at some point there was a book from someone inside Tiger's camp that explained how this all went on for so long completely under the radar, I'd have to read it...it's the one thing that completely baffles me...how was it possible in a world of cell phone cameras, video cameras, and twitter, that Tiger wasn't exposed years ago? And how did he or whoever convince all of these women not to talk?
I guess maybe I'll always be a little curious on the "how", but I can honestly say that I hope the next thing I read about Tiger is when we will see him on the course again.
Now, go back to the home page and read Sam's post this week if you haven't already...it's good stuff!!
Filed under: Sam Johnson, TIger Woods, Golf, Cathy Erickson, apology, confession