Tiger Woods didn’t reveal much we haven’t already heard during his 'Mike & Mike in the Morning' appearance on ESPN radio, but there was this pearl: “I can’t get better as a player if I don’t get better as a person.”
Now that’s revealing, because it speaks to his awareness of a powerful connection between who he is and what he accomplishes. It speaks to the struggles in his game the past year more than anything he’ll say about his new swing. It’s also something that will further endear him to all those people who are rooting hard for his redemption, who want to see him back better than ever.
I’ve said this before: Woods is on one of the most compelling journeys in sports. His quest to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 professional major championship victories intrigues us all. It’s important to more than Woods. The more he’s able to invite us along on this fantastic journey, the better for him, the better for us.
While skeptics will argue Woods’ Mike & Mike appearance, his first-person Newsweek column and his joining Twitter are pre-emptive strikes with the one-year anniversary of his crash approaching, I like the effort. I like the reaching out. I like that attempt to control his image better than I liked the Iron Curtain that was up for so long.
Still, Woods is such a private person, you can sense the difficulty he has letting us get too close. We are, after all, so judgmental. Some people just have a knack for opening up. Two minutes into a Charles Barkley interview, you feel like you’ve known him all your life. We’re all different, but you sense Woods feeling out where he’s comfortable letting us in and where he isn’t.
For all the folks rooting for Tiger's redemption, who want in as much as they can be on his journey to beat Jack, there’s promise they’ll get closer as he gets closer. How close? We’ll have to wait and see as this new Tiger evolves.