Tiger Woods in press conference: ‘I have let down my fans…for all that I have done, I am so sorry’ (with video)
Gosh, not only did Tiger Woods set up a closed news announcement with only people he thought wouldn’t give him any guff – he came out from behind a curtain like some Wizard of Oz character. The ‘audience’ for his Tigerness looked like they were attending a wake, silent, heads down, hands folded. What did the handlers say? No sudden moves, you’ll spook him? Given that there were theoretically reporters in the room, where were the notepads and pens and digital recorders? (I guess reporters were in a pen somewhere)
But that’s just the framing.
Tiger entered the room alone in a coat with an open-collared shirt. Speaking to his friends in the room, and also to his business partners, he declared strongly that “everyone of you has good reason to be critical of me” and said up front that he was “deeply sorry.”
And from there…well, I have to say that coming with something of a jaundiced eye toward the framing of this event, I think Tiger did a good job, and said the right things.
First, I think it was right of him to tell people to leave his family alone as he did. Singling out those in the paparazzi who have chased down his mother and children in particular, Tiger asked that they leave his wife Elin and his kids alone, while not stating outright that he had a guarantee of privacy and freedom from scrutiny.
But he went farther than that, stating outright that his wife did not attack him as so many have declared.
“Elin never hit me that night or any other night,” he said. “There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage, ever.”
Then, I think that the best thing Tiger did was to speak about the mentality that drove him into the ‘cheat[ing]‘ that he outright acknowledged he had committed. He said, “I convinced myself that normal rules didn’t apply” because of his fame, wealth, and success. And when you think about a lot of Tiger’s fan base – consider, for instance, that the first statement on his accident was published not at ESPN or Sports Illustrated, but at CNBC, this is a valuable reminder. The Wall Street and country club crowd that idolized Tiger in so many ways really needs to be reminded in this day and age that ‘the rules’ really do apply to them, too.
Outside of that, Tiger explained how he would try to change himself through a combination of his Buddhist faith and extended in-patient therapy – not golfing. He acknowledged that he needed to respect the sport that has made him so famous.
“I do plan to return to golf some day, I just don’t know when,” he said. “I have not ruled out this year.”
So, it sounds like he won’t be playing in the Masters for those who were eager to know.
Closing his statement with a plea that, “I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again,” Tiger then had a lengthy embrace with his mother. That touching moment was followed up by a series of kind of silly-looking bro hugs with some more of his close male friends.
I don’t like a lot of the framing of this event, and that so much of what was said was directed to people in the room – why should a public spectacle be made of Tiger’s effort to make amends to the people closest to him?
Nevertheless, a lot of what Tiger actually said in his statement strikes me as a model for what public people caught doing bad things should consider in future scenarios.