IT TOOK TIGER WOODS 84 days to get to the lectern, but on Friday he arrived at PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, looked into the camera, and told the world he was sorry for his transgressions. It was a public apology smorgasbord. I only watched it once, and I admit I didn’t read the transcript, but I’m pretty sure Tiger apologized to just about everyone who somehow may have felt wronged by his off- or on-course behavior.
Tiger didn’t say when he would return to golf, which is what many people wanted to know. Nor did he take questions.
As I’ve already written, I didn’t feel as if Tiger owed me an apology for the infidelity in his personal life. That’s a private family matter. In fact, in his reaction piece, Ryan Ballengee of Waggle Room expressed many of the sentiments I feel.
The public apology finally made—something it seems the entire world has been demanding for weeks—it fell predictably short for many. My theory: Many of those who are dissatisfied with the apology are angry at Tiger, consider haranguing to be a sport, or are simply critics. Others are OK with the apology.
Following is a breakdown of issues surrounding the apology, including some thoughts on people’s dissatisfaction.
The words were on the mark.
The words were mostly on the mark, but he should not have said (fill in the blank).
Overall, I think Tiger said what needed saying. He took responsibility for his actions and said he’s not above the rules. He said it’s hard to admit that he needs help. He could have left out a few things, saved them for another day, but the words, by and large, were on target.
It was staged and contrived.
It was too scripted.
This one makes me chuckle. Of course it was staged, contrived and scripted. Most public apologies are. They are unnatural and awkward. No one wants to make them. They are not spontaneous, even on Oprah. In rare instances are they off the cuff.
He was sincere.
He wasn’t sincere.
No one except Tiger knows. Many didn’t like the way Tiger looked, read, or failed to emote. Actually, I think we saw the same Tiger we’ve seen in the past. He’s not a super-expressive guy. Here’s the thing: A robotic Tiger could actually be sincere. A sincere looking and acting Tiger could actually be insincere. We don’t really know, do we? The words are a start. The deeds are what ultimately count.
The timing was bad.
The media, players, fans and others are mad.
As I mentioned above, I think anger is at the root of many people’s dissatisfaction with Tiger. Many people feel let down. America doesn’t like phonies and hypocrites. Tiger’s family man image didn’t square with what we now know. The media have long been dissatisfied with their relationship with World No. 1. And it took Tiger a long time to get to the lectern. For some, nothing Tiger does—Friday’s apology included—is going to cut it right now.
That said, he did make the apology. As Tiger might say about a mediocre round, he did what he needed to do. The public apology that people have been so forcefully demanding is now made. Check it off the list.
Now, can we all move on?
−The Armchair Golfer
(Image: Keith Allison/Flickr)