Over the past 48 hours, the Internet has been buzzing because of the announcement of Tiger Woods’ first public appearance since his infamous November 27th accident. All of the major sports, news, and entertainment publications have written about it. Yesterday #tigershouldsay was trending on Twitter (e.g. #tigershouldsay blame it on Nike, they told me to just do it), and this morning, “Tiger Woods” was a trending topic.
Many have questioned the timing and format of Woods’ appearance. Tiger chose to make his statement during the middle of the WSG-Accenture (Accenture being a previous Woods sponsor) Match Play Championship. Further, he opened the appearance up to only a small group of family and friends, and several members of the media. Oh, and no questions.
Former U.S. Open and British Open champion Ernie Els said it was “selfish,” continuing that “Mondays are a good day to make statements, not Friday.” Accenture came out and said that Mark Steinberg, Woods’ agent, had given the company a heads up and they had no problem with the timing of the statement. Irish golfer Rory McIlroy said, “He’s got to come out at some point. I suppose he might want to get something back against the sponsor that dropped him. No, I don’t know. It just went on for so long. I’m sick of hearing about it. And I’m just looking forward to when he’s getting back on the golf course.” (Amen!)
The point is that Tiger had to come out at some point, and no matter when it was, or how he did it, he was going to be criticized. Tiger will be under a microscope for the foreseeable future. By cheating on his wife and getting caught, Tiger chose this for himself. But let’s get to the point: What did Tiger Woods say?
I felt that Tiger handled the appearance well. He was slow and deliberate in delivering his message. His tone was somber, he was emotional and a bit nervous, and I truly felt he was being honest. Initially, Tiger said he was sorry, that his actions were irresponsible and selfish. He went on to say, “I’ve let you down,” speaking to his small audience of friends and family, “I’ve let my fans down.”
What was powerful to me was that Tiger made it a point to talk about the fact that his wife, Elin, never physically attacked him on the night of his accident. He said there had never been any domestic violence in their relationship, and that Elin deserved compliments for her attitude throughout the last several months, not blame. Tiger went on to talk about the constant media presence surrounding his wife and children, and pleaded for the press to “leave them alone.” He spoke about how he’d always tried to keep his family out of the public eye, for their own comfort and safety. Most importantly, Tiger said, “it’s not their fault,” they should not have to be followed and hassled by the media because of his mistakes.
Another powerful moment came when Tiger admitted to feeling entitled because of his money and fame, and said “it’s hard to admit needing help, but I do.” He admitted to being in therapy, and having a long way to go. Tiger said he would continue to receive therapy, because that’s how people change, by admitting mistakes and accepting assistance. He said he would leave tomorrow for more therapy (the reason for the timing of his appearance), and thanked Accenture and the players for understanding why he decided to speak today, of all days.
And the million dollar question, when will Tiger return to golf? That remains to be seen. He plans on returning to golf, but not sure when. He said, “I don’t doubt it will be this year,” and continued, “but when I do return, I need to be more respectful.”
In the end, I thought Tiger did a good job. Some people I was watching with said he was too robotic. They said he focused too much on the past and not enough on the future. They asked why he waited so long to make “this” statement. In my opinion, people will be critical no matter what, and Tiger knows it. As I said, it’s just something he’s going to have to deal with.
What do you think? Was Woods’ statement exactly what you expected? Should Woods’ have opened up his appearance to more reporters, and taken questions? Do you still have a problem with the timing of the appearance? Let’s discuss in the comment section below. There’s a lot to talk about!