Let’s face it, we are not going to get the answers we want from Tiger Woods or anyone else. We are not even going to get the opportunity to ask the questions. Woods was quite clear about that. What he said behind the podium in 13 minutes or so is everything the outside world will hear from him on this ugly matter.
So, we can do one of two things: We can keep demanding a public account of the events by Woods in front of a hungry media – or even Oprah – or we can simply move on. The former is never going to happen. So, we might as well opt for the latter. We are beating a dead Escalade by demanding more than we think we deserve.
Be clear, we are not entitled to any answers to any questions from Woods. When he says this is a private matter, he is entirely correct. He owes us nothing. The one and only reason he would go public at all would be to restore or, at the very least, control the damage done to his image and reputation. In that sense, Woods used the media the same way he has used it from the first time he stepped in front of a camera or conducted an interview. He tells the media what he wants it to know, not the other way around.
In that respect, the public confession – please don’t call this a news conference because it wasn’t – was an effort to use a television camera to show the world just how sorry he really is. Unfortunately, the camera that showed the straight-on shot of Woods – the one that was supposed to depict his sincerity – went on the fritz, and that strategy employed by Woods’ handlers backfired miserably.
Still, the event served its intended purpose. It was tightly controlled and regimented up to and including who was in attendance. The people there were handpicked and only three media members were allowed in and none were granted the luxury of asking any questions. Woods said exactly what he and his handlers wanted to say and in no way did he deviate from the prepared script.
Now it’s time to leave this alone. If he is an addicted person – he hasn’t actually said he is – then let’s back away and allow him the time and space to recover. If he is putting faith back in his life, then let’s respect that wish and give him room to practice his faith.
He seems intent on coming back to golf a changed person. In recovery, you are asked to change playgrounds and playmates. If so, you can bet that Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley will be removed from his speed dial, along with a dozen or so named and unnamed female companions. And you can’t help but wonder why his IMG agent, Mark Steinberg, and Woods’ caddie, Steve Williams, have not lost their jobs. It’s awfully difficult to believe that neither knew what was happening around them.
Besides, not only what Woods has been doing away from the golf course is objectionable, his behavior inside the ropes is less than savory. He swears, throws and slams clubs, and is likely the most fined player on the PGA Tour for using profanity on camera – and in front of young children who used to look up to him.
Tom Watson publicly said that part of Woods’ comportment needs just as much improvement as his nightlife does. Whether he comes back with completely changed stripes remains to be seen but he’d be well served to embrace the public upon his yet-to-be-determined return to golf instead of rejecting it, as has been his habit since he turned professional. No one on the PGA Tour hates signing autographs as much as Woods does and that’s an attitude he’d do well to turn around.
Yes, it’s true that the game is not the same without Woods during the 18 weeks or so a year that he tees it up in a regulation tournament. The rest of the time, we are on our own, no matter how many times Golf Channel shows hour-long major championship highlights when Woods wins. Funny, we’ve never seen a replay show when Shaun Micheel wins.
We now have no idea when – and if – Woods returns to championship golf this year. Nothing he said on camera gave any pundit any more of a notion at which tournament Woods will make his re-emergence. If he goes away for treatment for 45 more days, the same length of his first visit, you can rule out The Masters because he simply won’t have enough time to prepare the way he insists he be prepared.
So his comeback will be just as big a surprise as was his tightly orchestrated public apology. We are not likely to know when it will be until the Friday afternoon before the following week’s tournament, the deadline the PGA Tour imposes each week for players to enter events.
In the meantime, let’s talk golf. Leave the rest to TMZ and The National Enquirer, right where it belongs.