Tiger Woods eventually came out of hiding and faced a certain element of the media when he read out his well prepared statement at the US PGA Tour headquarters in Florida on Friday.
Humbled, broken and humiliated he may have looked and sounded, but I’m still not convinced by this latest performance. I found the timing and the nature of the whole event incredibly arrogant and Woods did little to convince me he will be any different or more humble and respectful when he eventually returns to golf.
Will his on course etiquette change? Will we see an end to his spitting on the cousre, his swearing and throwing of clubs in temper, his point blank refusal to sign any autographs for kids? One thing for sure is that nothing is likely to change with the American PGA not taking him to task over any of this, given their pandering to him in allowing him to disrupt the current Match Play Championship.
His performance at his stage-managed event with hand picked guests on Friday left me wondering if he really gets the point. It said to me that he is still a control freak and even in this period where he should be more contrite, that the whole show has still got to be run to suit him, and just him.
He still seemed self obsessed and at times tried to play the ‘look what a good guy I’ve been in the past’ card when he stated facts about his father and the foundation they set up.
Would the kids and fans he later claimed to have let down be the same ones he marches past without so much as a glance towards, let alone an autograph signed for, after every round?
Anyone who expected to perhaps see Woods bear his soul would have been disappointed, instead he used the event as a platform to get his own points across. He attacked the media for intrusion, attcked them for fabricating stories about his wife beating him up and him using performance enhancing drugs, and bizarrely claimed to have refound Buddhism.
In fairness to the media all that they have been doing is filling in the gaps left in his stories, the same gaps that still remain today after this statement.
He is right to say that it is private business between himself and his wife, as it is no one elses business. But when you don’t give the media the story they want, be prepared for them to keep digging.
He is surely not that naive not to be able to work that one out?
I do agree with him that the press following his wife and kids around is out of order, but what does he expect when he is not giving them anything? To ask them to leave them alone is fair enough, but to expect them to get off his back under these circumstances isn’t on, asking people not to do their jobs just because it dosen’t suit him is yet another example of his arrogance.
The fact that he chose to do this in the middle of WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship could be interpretated as a way of getting one back over Accenture for dropping him in the aftermath of the scandal.
It wasn’t lost on his fellow pros, with the likes of Ernie Els, Paul Casey and Oliver Wilson all being critical of the timing. For me his effort to thank the players for understanding this sounded a bit shallow.
Sir Nick Faldo echoed this with his comment that Woods is paying the therapist who apparently only gave him a small window of opportunity between treatments to release his statement, suggesting that Woods is the man really calling the shots. Describing it, Faldo said “I don’t buy that one.”
Of the American PGA Tour, in allowing him the use of their HQ in the middle of the match play shows just how desperate they are for him to return and how it would appear that they still can’t say No to him.
The Golf Writers Association of America were less sympathetic towards him though. On hearing that they would only be allowed three seats (later increased to six after negotiations) and that no questions would be allowed to be asked, they boycotted the event saying “To limit the ability of journalists to attend, listen, see and question Woods goes against the grain of everything we believe”.
In concluding, the overall impression that I was left with is that he regrets getting caught and losing his aura of superiority more than anything else. He hand picked the audience to ensure that no awkward questions could be asked. In what was supposed to be an apology, he spoke more about himself than anyone else.
He also used it as an opportunity to say what didn’t happen, rather than what did happen. An opportunity to attack the press and then ask for privacy, an opportunity to clear his name over other accusations.
That to me isn’t a grovelling apology, it is more like the actions of an arrogant man who is still full of self importance and still thinks that the world revolves around him, sadly the American PGA seem to be confirming to Woods that is does.