Tiger Speaks

Tiger Woods broke his silence earlier today, making a statement at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse. In an awkward display, Tiger apologized for his behavior, admitting to cheating, vowing to improve himself, and asking for the media to respect his family’s privacy.

Like a deer in headlights, Tiger took to the podium and spoke for 14 minutes before departing to return to rehab.  Luckily, a camera “malfunction” forced the feed to come from a side view of the embattled superstar, ending the robotic display he was putting on.

A quick analysis of his performance (afterall, that IS what this was):

  • While all of these golf “experts” swear that these were Tiger’s words, not those of a PR firm, I’m not buying it.  Mike Tirico, just because ESPN allows you to anchor golf coverage, spare me your “inside information”.  Rick Reilly? Please, you ceased relevance years ago, so save the analysis for ESPN the Mag.  You’re not much better in front of a camera (click links above to see him ruin SportsCenter).
  • Let’s be honest; Tiger didn’t write that speech.  In fact, when watching it, it appeared that he had been reading the statement for the first time on the air.  He awkwardly stumbled through parts of it, and it wasn’t because of emotion.  He’d pause and then look at his notes, realize his sentence wasn’t ended and try to power through.  One would think that if you were going to make a speech, you’d read it over a few times and be comfortable with it, right?
  • While there have been mixed reviews on his statement, let’s get one thing straight: No matter what he said, he was damned.  Damned if he glossed over the affairs, damned if he didn’t.  The golf community is up in arms because he didn’t announce his return to the tour, the pop community is up in arms because he didn’t divulge what steps his family is taking next.  But if he did, he’d be blamed for putting golf ahead of his problems or pandering to the media, looking for forgiveness.  So let’s not criticize what was said too much.  He’s in a no-win spot, and he gave us the obligatory apologize America apparently needed.  Let it be.
  • Finally, Elin wasn’t there.  Does this mean they aren’t working things out?  Who cares?  It’s their life, their problem, not ours.  In fact, I respect the fact that no matter what’s going on, she didn’t show up to feint support for the guy who cheated on her numerous times.  She can give him a chance to prove he’s changing, but she didn’t play the role of the “Politician’s wife”, showing up as the pathetic, weak woman who is standing by her husband because that’s what she’s supposed to do (see Edwards, Elizabeth, and Sandford, Jenny).  Kudos Elin, call me 🙂

My issue is with everyone criticizing Tiger and his scripted statement.  Listen, he’s a golfer, an athlete, but he’s human.  We’re so quick to tear someone down, but who built him up in the first place?  Let’s be honest, he’s not sorry for what he did; he’s sorry he got caught.  If the media hadn’t broken the story on Thanksgiving, maybe Elin wouldn’t have snooped on his phone, and he wouldn’t have gotten caught.  So let’s not kid ourselves here.  He’s sorry that his life got turned upside down.  Is that wrong? Yes.  Is what he did wrong? Probably.  Does it change my view on him as a golfer? No, and it shouldn’t change yours either.

What is he to us? A golfer.  He’s not our father or brother.  What he does on the course is all that should matter to us.  We pay to see him play golf, not for his personal life.  Does he need to be a saint to play golf? No.  Is he one of the best to ever grace a golf course? Absolutely. So to all those holier than thou people out there complaining about what he says/does, you’re just kidding yourselves.

Fast forward to a Sunday afternoon, with Tiger in the final pairing of a tournament; who’s going to win?  Who are you tuning in to see?  Certainly not Phil (tits) Mickelson or Sergio Garcia.  He didn’t “disgrace” his sport.  He didn’t cheat the sport.  There’s plenty of athletes who have betrayed their sports and they haven’t been villainized, so why should Tiger (See A-Rod/Big Papi)?

Bottom line: Tiger’s doing what he thinks he needs to do, be it for himself, his family, or the public eye.  But in the end, none of it matters.  He did what he did, he’s doing what he’s got to do.  Let’s just wait patiently for his return to the course, where he will reign again.  We’ll see who’s hating him when he comes back and wins a couple more majors.  I know I’ll be waiting.

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