Tiger: The First Swing

It was an event unlike any we’ve seen since Magic Johnson announced he was HIV-positive. Every network was tuned in. Every eye or ear eager to hear what Tiger Woods would have to say after nearly 80 days in hiding.
It was an odd setting, a stark room with a lone podium before an eerie blue curtain. The heads in the audience were merely that for much of the event – heads – until the primary camera broke and we were given a glance at a few of the people sitting before him to his right.
It lasted longer than most expected.
And I think it was better than most expected.
Tiger Woods said what he had to say. He hit all the salient points, used all the necessary words. He took ownership of his actions and apologized to everyone who may have been hurt or disappointed.
He was contrite, and yet defiant at times – staring into the camera when he apologized to the children of the Tiger Woods Learning Center (very appropriate), and top the parents of children who had held him up as a role model. And when he flat out told the media to “stop following my wife and kids.” (Agreed!)
He was not the Tiger I last saw in person a couple of years ago. But how could he have been? Everything that guy was is gone.
He was emotional. He was swagger-less.
Today was step one is trying to recover what he can.
I criticized him for not agreeing to take questions from the media (and for trying to control every aspect of the event), but now I know why: He’s not ready. Not even close.
He said he’s going back to rehab, and I believe he will be ready soon. And when he does I think he will submit to an interview by one of the major, respected journalists, Roberts (who cut her teeth in sports), Bob Costas or Bryant Gumbel.
And then he will play golf. (I think he’ll be back on Tour in ’10)
Until then, he’s back practicing golf. He’s running.
Most important, he’s working on Tiger.
He talked about being a man of integrity. We’ll see.
He talked about having more respect for the game. We’ll see.
Tiger’s always been about hard work and preparation. Today he laid out for us what we should expect of Tiger 2.0.
Now let’s see if he, in the language of his sport, sticks it or whiffs.

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