Compassion vs The Cynic

By Rex HoggardFebruary 25, 2010, 4:50 am

As mea culpas go, Tiger Woods’ odd 13 minutes at the Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. podium last Friday covered a lot ground, from domestic abuse to performance-enhancing drugs to therapy.

Not exactly light reading even for a Stanford alum, so if Woods’ delivery seemed a bit scripted one should consider the content.

There is no playbook for public apologies, but if there were Ari Fleischer, the former White House press officer turned sports image healer, would have penned it. A request to Fleischer’s New York-based office for an interview was not returned, but there was a line on his Web site that seemed apropos: “Ari Fleischer Sports Communication can help you handle the bad news and take advantage of the good.”

First the good news, Woods said he will return to golf one day. And the bad, he’s not sure when that day will be.

Everything in between that buried lede is open for debate, dissection and double-guessing.

Woods is not the first public figure to run afoul of an adoring public, and a closer inspection of other mea culpas suggests that his apology was a success in form if not function.

Consider the public apologies issued former President Bill Clinton, Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant and Mark McGwire.

To be clear, the other mea culpas were results of broken laws (Bryant), broken league rules (McGwire and Rodriguez) and broken oaths of office (Clinton). Woods betrayed his wife and kids and no one else despite the incessant pleas from blog-dom. His crimes are of his own making, but he must answer only to himself and those closest to him.

As for McGwire, who enlisted the services of Fleischer last year when he finally decided to come clean, his apology was concise (463 words) and contrite with just a hint of an excuse, “I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”

We can only assume Barney Frank regrets living in the junk bond era, but that’s a different column.

McGwire closed his statement with a familiar theme in the public apologies we examined – a plea to friends and fans for forgiveness.

“I've always appreciated their support and I intend to earn it again,” McGwire said.

Rodriguez went with a personal touch, foregoing a release and instead sitting down with ESPN’s Peter Gammons in the wake of a Sports Illustrated story about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

A-Rod offered similar excuses – “When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure,” he said. – contrition, offering five “sorrys” in his first three sentences, and an appeal for forgiveness.

Woods followed a like path, from “good morning” to “thank you,” Woods’ mea culpa went about 1,500 words, included six “thank yous,” three “sorrys” – the same number of times, by the by, he used the word “private” – four “friends,” nine “Elins” and, perhaps most interesting, just two “golfs.”

If this was a step in a rehabilitation process, which many seem to think it was, than golf, rightfully so, is an afterthought.

Instead, Woods – like those who preceded him at that uncomfortable podium – fixed his steely glare on the future, but not before addressing the sordid reality of the present.

“It is private, and I intend to reclaim my family life for my family. It's nobody's business but ours.”

No, that line was not delivered by Woods on Friday, but one would be forgiven if those words were attributed to the world No. 1. Actually, that was part of Clinton’s four-minute speech delivered in 1998 in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Woods took a slightly more indignant road then the embattled Chief Executive, saying: “My behavior doesn't make it right for the media to follow my 2 1/2-year-old daughter to school and report the school's location.”

It’s an understandable plea but one that will be equally ignored. Sadly, it is the ugly cost of fame and untold fortunes whether Woods chooses to believe it or not.

In all cases, these mea culpas were humbling, particularly for men whose uber-confidence had likely driven them to distraction and destruction.

Dr. Phil calls it owning it, and it may have been the hardest part for all of the tarnished stars.

“I'm pretty tired of being stupid and selfish, you know, about myself. The truth needed to come out a long time ago,” Rodriguez told Gammons.

Woods’ reasoning was even more telling for a player who was once compared to Gandhi and Buddha by his father, Earl, an outrageously lofty claim that was always going to be a tough two-ball opponent for the young man.

“I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them,” Woods said.

Clinton, Rodriguez & Co. were not fresh from therapy when they made their public apologies, but the central theme of each speech and statement was the same – forgiveness.

Bryant’s appeal went directly to the woman he was accused of raping: “I want to apologize directly to the young woman involved in this incident. I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year.”

While Woods closed with an emotional: “Today I want to ask for your help. I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again.”

There are no report cards capable of grading these types of apologies. A cynic will dismiss the well-crafted statements as simply words, while the more compassionate will applaud the painful honestly. Either way you may disagree with the messenger, but not the message.

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.