A More Likeable Tiger
Anyone who reads this blog knows you don't come here to read about golf too often.
I'm no golf fan. By connection, other than the fact he's one of two or three guys on the pro tour who actually looks like he knows where the gym is, I've never been a Tiger Woods fan. Hard to be appreciative of an athlete who plays a sport you don't really admire.
All that said, I'm more of a Tiger fan today than I was before he faced the international media at Augusta yesterday. More of a fan of the man, anyways.
To me, the important moment came when he was pressed about whether his betrayed wife would be at The Masters this week to cheer him on. He refused to go there. Many a politician who has strayed to the dark side has then come out and told the world how his Mrs. supports him despite everything he's done. Well, Woods never said that, and when it came to his wife's plans, the fact he wouldn't answer meant he understood that while prying eyes can focus on him, his wife's privacy is her business and deserves to be protected.
That showed some understanding of what he's done and the damage he's caused to the lives of others. Apparently, those 45 days of treatment actually helped him because at that moment he was thinking of somebody else, not just himself.
And the rest? He talked about his game, PEDs, his golf injuries, his injuries from that nasty night last fall and a number of other things.
Did he get into detail about mistress No. 5, or his texting habits? No. What fool would? And nobody asked him anyway. Did he explain the precise details of his treatment? Of course not. No doctor would suggest he should, let alone any lawyer. He described his behavior as "terrible" and "horrible," and showed an understanding of the damage he'd done to his family.
He showed remorse for his actions. There were no excuses or rationales and no crocodile tears. He apologized to his fellow professionals. He promised to behave better on and off the course, and to those in the media who let him act like a boor for years and get away with this, please feel free not to protect the world's greatest golfer from here on in.
I've seen many of these "I'm so sorry" pressers over the years, from Tie Domi to Mark McGwire to Michael Vick to John Edwards - the list is so long we'll stop it there - and quite frankly, Tiger's effort yesterday was about as sincere as you get. Did he have financial reasons to speak publicly? Of course he did, and does.
Frankly, given that it's been all about his personal life, I've never felt entitled to answers. Hell, he went further than I would have, and did it sooner than most would have. Imagine how much better off McGwire would be, for instance, if he'd done just what Woods did yesterday, but did it five years ago.
To me, the book is now closed on Tiger Woods and what he did. It's now about what he does. He can't be a hero or a role model, but he can try to do no more harm and attempt, through charitable and community works, to contribute to his sport and society in a positive way. Actually, he can do that in ways most of us couldn't possibly imagine.
And what if he strays again? It'll be splashed all over the tabloids and the cost will be heavy, heavier than its been this time. But you know what? Others have erred again. This is a sport that has welcomed back John Dally time after time after time. Baseball had Steve Howe. Hockey had Bob Probert. Football, well, again, the list is too long.
Remember. Tiger Woods may not play golf like any other human. But that doesn't mean he isn't human.