The golf talent of Tiger Woods “had me
at hello” way back when he turned up as
that tiny boy on television hitting incred-
ible shots on “The Mike Douglas Show”
in the ‘70s. The innocent charm of Tiger
Woods had me at “Hello, world,” late in
1996 when Woods winningly introduced
himself to the world of professional golf.
Then, late last November, he said
goodbye for 78 days, a period during
which he didn’t “have” much of anything
Almost overnight, Woods lost his
charm, innocence and credibility because
of a one-car accident that turned his life
into a train wreck. The insults were much
greater than the injuries, especially when
Woods acknowledged on his website the
undisclosed “transgressions” that set the
table for a moveable tabloid feast.
Friday, Woods tried to start all over.
He stood in the Sunset Room on the
second floor of the clubhouse at TPC Saw-
grass at the PGA Tour’s headquarters in
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The environment
was militarily controlled. In front of a small
group that included his mother, PGA Tour
Commissioner Tim Finchem and former
Stanford golf teammate Notah Begay III,
Woods read from a prepared statement.
There were reporters in the room but they
weren’t allowed to ask questions.
“I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible
and selfish behavior I engaged in,” said an
emotional Woods, reading from prepared
text. “I have let you down. I have let down
Woods wore a suit coat and slacks,
no tie. There were several pauses but no
tears. His wife, Elin, was not in the room.
His delivery was almost robotic. He said he
had been in therapy. And that clearly showed.
sociation of America declined the Woods’
camp’s invitation to select three of its
members to be in the room because of the
prohibition-in-advance against questions.
Several of Woods’ peers, when asked at
the WGC-Accenture Match Play Champion-
ship in Arizona, bristled at the timing of
Woods appearance. “It’s selfish,” Ernie Els
told one golf magazine. Why, the players
wanted to know before the statement, did
Woods have to upstage their tournament? It
was later learned that Woods had a deadline
to return to his continuing rehab. Afterward,
their reaction was more subdued.
account for that which they do not alter.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes once said,
“Apology is only egotism wrong side out.”
Friday in Florida Woods apologized to a
lot of different people for a lot of different
Only time will tell what can be altered
and what can’t. Only time will tell whether
the egotism that caused his troubles will
turn out to be the wrong side out or the
first step toward making us all want to
welcome him back into our trust with a
cautious hello. l