Game Time: Buddhism Announces That It Has Dropped Tiger Woods
So there you go. Tiger Woods is sorry. Or so he says.
If we can sift through the 15 minutes where time stood still in sports bars around the country, if we can somehow ignore all of the "hostage crisis"-level coverage this is getting on CNN, ESPN, and the Oxygen Network, then we can all step back and see this for what it is -- one guy (a billionaire athlete, granted, but still...) who cheated multiple times on his wife (a blonde Swedish knockout, granted, but still....) and got caught.
Happens every day. I don't condone it at all, trust me. But as I sat there watching the enormity this had all taken on, thinking about Tiger Woods being treated in Mississippi for a month for an addiction to sex (and the millions of men wondering "Ok, so this is an addiction that I have?"), and now watching him apologize to a nation as though he had just detonated a nuclear warhead in the middle of Times Square, all I could think was "Is this all necessary?"
In the end, the only ones that truly require an apology are Elin and the kids. Tiger can apologize to his sponsors and his close friends if he wants, but he doesn't need to do that on national television. Call them all personally. Visit them. Hell, fly them to Florida on your private jet and tell them face to face how sorry you are, Tiger. (To be fair, maybe he has; I don't know, and really I don't care.)
The fact of the matter is your crime, Tiger, is being naive enough to think you wanted to (or needed to) get married. Because if your "sense of entitlement" had been brewing for that long, what purpose did marriage serve? In the end, if you have no wife and kids, none of this an issue. You save yourself a trip to Mississippi, and really all you become is Derek Jeter with community college-level admissions standards. That's all. (Which makes it all the more crazy that Jeter decided to turn in his bachelor card in the midst of watching Tiger flame out.)
The sheep in the media will follow Tiger through the figurative gates of hell this afternoon saying how he appears sincere and rehabilitated and asking "what more could he say or do?", so forgive me if I'm not that guy. Step back and ignore the message in his speech this morning, which was "I intend to change, please believe this," and you'll see a guy who hasn't changed at all (and I'm not talking about his robotic mannerisms or condescending demeanor).
Tiger Woods is, was, and always will be about two things -- precision-level control of his image and environment, and ruthless aggression. I don't mean aggression like "physical harm" aggression; I mean the desire to mentally, figuratively reach into your chest, tear your heart out, and then discard it like an empty Coke can. It's what's made him the most feared athlete when it matters in the world. It's what also MAKES him the guy who would schedule his "apology speech" right in the middle of a golf event sponsored by a company that stopped believing in him (the Accenture Match Play).
Tiger Woods, changed man? Please. If I may break down excerpts of his speech today (my comments preceded by "SP"), indulge me...
"Many of you in this room are my friends. Many of you in this room know me. Many of you have cheered for me, you worked with me, or you supported me. Now every one of you has good reason to be critical of me."
SP: Ok, so NOW we have good reason to be critical of him. We didn't before, but now we do. So any of you who have criticized Tiger in the past, you were wrong. You better get your shots in now before adult swim is over because I'm sure soon it will not be OK anymore to criticize the chosen one.
"Elin and I have started the process of discussing the damage caused by my behavior. As Elin pointed out to me, my real apology to her will not come in the form of words. It will come from my behavior over time."
SP: Or if you're Kobe Bryant, it will come from a $4 million ring. Continue....
"I am also aware of the pain my behavior has caused to those of you in this room. I have let you down. And I have let down my fans. For many of you, especially my friends, my behavior has been a personal disappointment. To those of you who work for me, I have let you down personally and professionally. My behavior has caused considerable worry to my business partners, to everyone involved in my foundation, including my staff, board of directors, sponsors, and most importantly, the young students we reach. Our work is more important than ever."
SP: Notice no mention of any fellow golfers on the PGA Tour who frankly are hurt directly in the money clip more than anyone outside of Tiger's immediate family by Tiger's absence from the golf scene. Yet another indicator of the "ruthless aggression" I spoke of earlier. You're either with Tiger or against him, and frankly hundreds of trips down the eighteenth fairway on Sundays after four days of owning all of you fools is a little much to overcome. You're all against him.
"Thirteen years ago, my dad and I envisioned helping young people achieve their dreams through education. This work remains unchanged and will continue to grow. From the Learning Center students in Southern California to the Earl Woods scholars in Washington, D.C., millions of kids have changed their lives and I am dedicated to making sure that continues."
SP: TRANSLATION: "See, I'm not such a bad guy!"
"But still, I know I have bitterly disappointed all of you. I have made you question who I am and how I could have done the things I did."
SP: Actually, quite the contrary, Tiger. None of us knew who you were before. To your point made earlier in today's "apology," you are a private person. So with all due respect, all you did was clarify and confirm who you are. Thank you. Continue....
"I'm embarrassed that I have put you in this position. For all that I have done, I am so sorry. I have a lot to atone for."
SP: Other than explaining the fetish with greasy spoon waitresses, I would disagree. Just get back out and swing the clubs again, please. Ultimately, that's all we really care about.
"But there's one issue I really want to discuss...."
SP: Uh oh, Tiger's getting the look on his face like Hulk Hogan would back in the day before he was getting ready to "HULK UP" and drop the big boot....