As you saw in my post earlier this week, I weighed in on the 4 things I thought Tiger needed to accomplish in his apology. Let’s see how he did.
1) Express believable self-awareness. I give Tiger Woods high marks on expressing believable regret and embarrassment, but self awareness? Not sure about that. His explanation of his own sense of entitlement was helpful, but it lacked resonance. I’m not saying he should make up false reasons (reminds me of when I was a kid and used to invent sins to confess to the priest, just to satisfy him). But his statement lacked intimacy. If you are appealing to a mass audience, and trying to crawl your way back into their hearts and minds, you have to infuse every statement with very real emotion, and paint a vivid picture. “I worked hard, and felt I was entitled” didn’t do it for me. This statement would have been perfect if he was talking about a shopping addiction. It doesn’t work for a problem of extreme infidelity. The correct response probably lives one layer beneath that one –How does “working hard” equate to serial infidelity?
2) Make us see a little bit of ourselves. I would love to know your thoughts on this, but I didn’t feel a connection to him at all, on any level during this statement. In fact, his explanation triggered even more judgment from me, I’m ashamed to admit. Apologies are tricky business, and ultimately have to tap a sense of empathy in the listener without asking them to do any extra work. We all commit sins on a daily basis (envy, greed, sloth, lust), it shouldn’t be that hard to make his transgressions feel personally familiar on some level. But somehow he missed it.
3) Remind us of how much we love golf BECAUSE of Tiger Woods, without actually coming out and saying it. I am most disappointed about this piece of the apology. As the daughter of a devoted golfer, I was hungry for that moment of “I can’t wait to finally have this behind us, and see him back on the golf course.” That moment never came.
4) He needs to mean every word he says. Here, I actually give him good marks. I think this is a man who was VERY involved in writing his own statement (how else can you explain the strange flow of it, the clunky organization?). What the statement DIDN’T lack was real emotion and feeling. That was as raw a Tiger Woods as I’ve ever seen.
The reference to Buddhism and how it will help him on his journey to recovery was interesting, though I didn’t entirely understand it. But I do think it added some much needed depth to the statement. Ultimately, I question whether this statement came too soon in his recovery. If it wasn't meant to signal his return to golf, what was it signaling? My hope is that Tiger Woods seizes this opportunity, and becomes a more three dimensional personality in the public eye. We’re seeing signs of life, but he’s still got a long way to go.