Tiger Woods finally breaks his silence
Ever since the Thanksgiving weekend when the secret life of Tiger Woods began to unfold, dozens of questions about the world’s No. 1 golfer began to surface.
But for the last three months there was nothing but silence coming from anybody who might be able to answer any questions pertaining to the bizarre incident. And it was as if Tiger Woods had fallen off the face of the earth during that time period.
Ugly rumors began to surface about Tiger not wanting to show his face in public because it was chopped up by the three-iron his wife Elin allegedly used on him as she freed him from the auto mishap that occurred in front of his home in Florida on that fateful night and touched off the huge scandal.
There still are many unanswered questions about the strange scenario that occurred Nov. 27 when Tiger wrecked his Cadillac Escalade backing out of his driveway and into a fire hydrant at 2 a.m. Where was he going? Why did he have to be pulled out of the vehicle by his wife? Why was he out of it when she pulled him out? Where did the golf club come from? Whose idea was it to go to the rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi? Whose idea was it to have the press conference?
And a day didn’t pass when the pro golfing world wondered out loud when the player who enhanced their earning power tenfold over the last 14 years would return to his position as the world’s top golfer.
The world appeared very excited last week when the news of his “press conference” was announced. Just about every major and cable news network pre-empted their scheduled programs to televise the first public appearance of Tiger Woods since the Thanksgiving weekend.
Tiger carefully selected his audience that consisted of close friends, his mother and a few business associates.
His wife Elin Nordegren was notably absent as Tiger set the rules for the scenario by insisting that no questions would be asked after he delivered his prepared statement and even chose a representative from each of the three wire services—the Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg—who were allowed in the room.
Tiger also was given clearance from the PGA to hold this news conference at the popular TPC Sawgrass clubhouse in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. where the PGA Tour has its headquarters. He would give his prepared statement with no opportunity for any questions from the press or even his chosen friends.
The text of Tiger’s 13 1/2-minute statement was a humble and convincingly sincere apology for his actions over the past few years when he was unfaithful to his wife Elin, deceitful to the many corporations that use him as their spokesman and a disappointment to the millions of fans who recognize him as the sporting world’s All-American idol.
He confessed that he was ashamed of what he did, placed the blame solely on himself by stating that at the time of his philandering, he believed that somebody with his fame and fortune should be able to do whatever he wanted when it came to these opportunities of temptations.
“Money and fame made access to temptations easy,” Woods said from his prepared text. “I convinced myself that normal rules did not apply. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior.”
As for his return to the PGA Tour he remarked, “I do plan to return to golf one day. I just don’t know when that day will be. I don’t rule out that it will be this year. When I return, I need to make my behavior more respectful to the game. Achievements on the golf course are only part of setting an example. Character and decency are what really counts.”
There were a plethora of comments about Tiger’s statement with several of his PGA colleagues upset that Woods diverted attention from last weekend’s Accenture Match Play championship by scheduling his press conference on Friday morning at 11 a.m. EST. when the matches were in progress.
There was quite a bit of negative comment about Fox Sports.com for electing to interview ex-porn star Joslyn James, who alleged that Woods made her pregnant and she demanded a face-to-face apology from Tiger.
Many of the critics said that if anyone should apologize, it should be Joslyn James telling Tiger’s wife Elin how sorry she was for having an affair with a man she knew was married and had two small children.
James Gay wrote in last weekend’s edition of The Wall Street Journal, “The Tiger apology was pretty goofy. This was 21st-century personal humiliation, carefully managed, manicured and administered for maximum global impact. After three months of mystery, Mr. Woods was no longer laying low.”
Golf Journal John Paul Newport wrote “Woods specifically said he was ‘sorry’ three times. All three seemed transparently like stagecraft, and since Tiger is not a trained actor, the moments came off as inert and unnatural. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t sincere. I’ve seldom seen him look more vulnerable.”
Andrew Gilman, president and chief executive of CommCore Consulting Group, a crisis-management firm that helped Johnson & Johnson during the Tylenol poisonings in 1982 said, “This is just the first step and this will take a long time to fix.”
David Schwab, vice-president and managing director of Octagon First Call, a celebrity marketing arm of Interpublic Group of Cos. said, “Woods may never fully recover. Brands that relate to moms and target women will never hire him.”
According to the Wall Street Journal the public relations debacle has caused consulting firm Accenture PLC and AT&T Inc. to cut their ties with Woods. Other sponsors including watch maker Tag Heuer have pulled back on using the golfer’s image in ads.
CNN public relations executive Rick Cerrone commented on Tiger’s statement, “What I expected to see was humility. What I saw was arrogance. What I saw was anger. It was basically an infomercial.”
Tim Finchem, PGA Tour commissioner said “Tiger’s an American hero and he’s had his issues. At the end of the day, he’s a human being. We all make mistakes. And when we’re lucky, we learn from those mistakes and we get to be better people.”
As far as this Korner is concerned, we tend to agree with George Stephanopolous of ABC who said, “One of the most remarkable public apologies ever by a public figure.”
This surreal opera won’t get behind us until Tiger Woods puts that red Nike shirt on for a Sunday and returns to a game he elevated like no player ever did.
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