Like the thief who isn’t at all sorry he stole, but who is very, very sorry he’s going to jail; Tiger Woods apologized this morning. Sort of. Certainly, his apology was for his behavior; for letting people down; for exposing his wife and family to exposure and hounding by the press. He apologized to his sponsors, his fans, his fellow players and even to the game of golf. He admitted wandering from his childhood priniciples and from the guidance of Buddha. He did not apologize to the people who he used and abused. He said not a word of apology to the women who he took for granted. He did not apologize to his daughter for showing her that her own expectations of love and fidelity in the future may be a fraud.
Was it enough to say these matters are private; that actions would speak louder than words? Is it enough that his hours in the coming months will be spent in counselling rooms instead of on the golf course? Somehow I doubt he’ll be spending all of his time away from the game.
I’ve lived through infidelity in marriage. I know about the pain. I know about the causes. I know about the aftermath. I know you can actually rise above it too, but that forever there is a gulf of wonder and worry about whether or not you’ll ever be quite that gullible and unknowing again. I know you promise a lot of things when you’re desperate to save the things that didn’t feel like they had anything to do with your actions at the time. I know the feeling and the belief that you can have it all and no-one will know; the end justifies the means; your personal happiness is more important, at least for the next hour, or the next day. That is, until it all gets exposed, and the walls come crashing in.
Tiger was right – he did this himself. He didn’t mean for this to happen. But what exactly did he not mean to occur? Why, the penalty clause, of course. The loss of contracts, the loss of respect, the loss of being godlike to the masses of children and golfers. He misses being able to feel the high of knowing that everyone wants you, and you get to pick and choose your way through the gluttony and the gold. Will he change? Will Tiger Woods go back to the guy he was when we all first cheered for him on the fairways? Was he ever really that Tiger Woods, or was he just an illusion, crafted by the money, the talent, and the shields of power and privacy invented to keep him on the dais? We hate having our idols destroyed, but we love being a part of their destruction. We also love seeing the Phoenix rise from his ashes. Will we be seeing Tiger rise again? He’ll be back – and as he said;
“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 do return, I need to make my behavior more respectful of the game.”
I think Tiger has plenty of respect for the game. He’s shown he plays plenty of games rather well. What I think we’d all like to see is a Tiger Woods who respects people more than those games.