Tiger Trying To Rewrite Rulebook With Conditional, Contrived Apology
This is not the way the game is played. Tiger Woods is going to finally pop his head back out of the hole he has been living in, and rejoin the world Friday morning. His agent said he'll talk to "a small group of friends, colleagues and close associates." Also, to a small pool of reporters.
He plans to apologize and start to make amends. He will not take questions.
Now hold on a minute. If he's trying to make amends, then why is he apologizing this way? It is an insult to everyone he's apologizing to.
No questions? Friends and colleagues only? Sorry Tiger, but real apologies don't come with conditions and demands from the person saying he's sorry.
This is yet another fraudulent moment in Tiger Woods history, carefully choreographed by his agency, IMG. It's the same company that choreographed client Mark McGwire's pathetic apology.
Let me say that I don't think Woods owes us an apology for having sex with consenting adults. I have never seen how this is any of our business. Yes, he has sold us cars and watches based on a false image.
But he has spent most of his time promoting himself not as a grand human being and social leader, as his father promised and Jim Brown has pleaded with him to do, but instead as a great golfer.
The fact that Woods has been a despicable human being really doesn't alter that.
But I know a lot of people want that apology. It's part of the rules of the game we play with our celebrities. First, we see a guy swing a golf club amazingly well, and then we assume he must be a wonderful human being. We build him up that way, and he accepts all the money and love from the image.
We turn him into a rock star, and then when he acts like one, we get worked up mostly out of our love for celebrity gossip. We vow to never forgive. Then, he apologizes, and we turn back into mush.
We're not too discerning in picking our heroes.
The thing is, no one is forgiving McGwire. This is a turning point in the game. The apologies are piling too high, and McGwire's was just too crafted and transparent. He left until he wanted to re-emerge and had something to gain by saying he was sorry.
So maybe the rules are changing. McGwire cheated the game. Woods, as I've already said, had consensual sex. But somehow in the game they've been lumped together into the misbehaving-celebrity pile.
I truly don't think most people are even that upset about Woods. It's a faux-outrage, but the closure part of the game requires an apology anyway. Now, after McGwire, the apology might have to be heartfelt, too.
That could be where Woods' plan falls off. I mean, he has been gone for three months. What took so long to feel sorry? Please don't say his sex-therapist needed that long to get it into is psyche.
The truth is, Woods never wanted to apologize and figured he was bigger than the celebrity game. But sponsors left him, and lately even his peers on tour have shown that they are done waiting.
His good friend Mark O'Meara said the other day that he wouldn't have handled things this way, but that he still backs Tiger. And last week, Tom Watson said that Woods needs to take ownership of what he has done, and suggested that Woods is now hurting the game.
So unfair, but so true.
Woods is taking a chance that he will be forgiven, but it's awfully calculated for an apology. He has a few legs up on McGwire. For one, he didn't cheat the game or the fans.
Even bigger is that he's still going to play. In the celebrity game, forgiveness comes with home runs and birdies and gold medals. Look at Kobe Bryant, for one.
Woods is expected to play the Tavistock Cup, an exhibition in late March in his own gated neighborhood, for his return. Then, he'll likely make his first PGA Tour appearance at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, across town from Woods' Orlando home.
Meanwhile, the strategy also is to put a gag on the media, which he complained about three months ago. To allow a select-few in Friday and not take questions is to put reporters back under his thumb, where they have been for years.
The reporters should stay away.
So the strategy for amends is all set. Figure that on Friday he'll say he was wrong, he's sorry, he's trying to make himself better and he needs some space to work on his family.
I suspect that married women are the demographic most put off by Woods' many affairs, and the way he treated his wife, Elin. Porn stars, Waffle House waitresses, and all. So look for Woods to appear on Oprah sometime soon.
I think he'll be forgiven, but he's trying to rewrite the rules here with a cool, controlled, contrived, calculated apology with limits and demands.
But this is all part of what made Woods the man he is.
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