By Mark F. Gray
Tiger Woods’ 13 minute public atonement for his transgressions makes it hard to believe that he was genuinely sincere about accepting his responsibility for violating all that he supposedly stood for. Carefully scripted apologies from a prepared statement when you have shamed your family, friends, fans, and business associates is not the way to say I’m sorry.
What the world got to see was a control freak who has lost control of who he is. So out of touch is Woods that he appeared despondent in his feeble attempt at atonement. Not since the “Cablanasian” remark denouncing his African American roots has Tiger look so unpolished in a pressure situation.
Please do not be misled by his manufactured apology either. This was less about his “family, friends, people of his foundation, and kids around the world who [he] let down” as it was about his sponsors. All Tiger has to do win back his fans is win another major or two and this twisted saga will be forgotten. However, the sponsors are another matter.
In a year where the PGA Tour is struggling to hold onto its corporate partners they needed Woods to make a statement that would justify keeping their sponsorship commitments to professional golf. When Commissioner Tim Finchem allows Woods staged epiphany from tour headquarters on a day that took away from the Accenture Match Play tournament being played on the West Coast it was clear there was another agenda at play. Tiger is bigger than the tour and they had to sell sponsors that he was cleaning himself up and he would be back to play so they get more bang for their advertising dollar.
Even with the scarlet swoosh on his chest Woods literally brought Wall Street to a halt during his statement Friday. Trading slowed to a crawl – to its lowest activity of the day – for the 13 minutes of Tiger rhetoric then immediately spiked as soon as he finished. That is his audience – privileged business executives who work for companies that are publicly traded on the stock market and sponsor PGA Tour events.
The coverage of this calculated non news conference proves just how sadistic the media has become. It was must see TV for every major news and sports operation and a topic for nearly every talk show over the weekend although it wasn‘t really news. However, that speaks volumes about the values of the media consumer who continues to over indulge on celebrity train wreck journalism. If there was Jenny Craig for media then perhaps the public would curb its appetite for dysfunctional journalism that keeps letting networks feed off a gullible audience.
Despite his attempt at rebuilding his image Tiger still remains who he is. Woods is a narcissistic control freak who has been enabled by an entourage of opportunists who still don’t know how to help him grow as a person. This is now a dead story unless there are more of his adulterous friends who appear from the shadows.
Tiger Woods is the world’s best golfer period. He is a celebrity and not a role model and doesn’t owe the world anymore explanations for his transgressions. But we can officially put to bed his father’s notion that he would impact the world the way Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. did. His orchestrated apology was par for the course.