Yes, six minutes with Golf Channel and a similar allotment with ESPN Sunday night didn’t seem like enough for his first interviews since his fall from grace, and yet Woods managed to give us a more telling glimpse of who he intends to be from now on than he did reading his public apology over 16 minutes a month ago.
Six minutes isn’t enough to know the new man, or if there truly is a radically different man emerging, but it was a promising start.
This six-minute man doesn’t look like he could angrily bounce a club into the gallery without appearing to care who he hits.
He doesn’t look like he could use a certain vulgar word as a noun, verb and adjective in the same sentence without caring how those words bruise innocent bystanders.
This guy looks like he might be undergoing a transformation beyond the way he views marriage. This guy sounds like somebody who might be changing his relationship with the world.
For six convincing minutes, at any rate, Woods did.
If there’s more of this new man to come, then this great journey Woods will resume when he tees it up at the Masters next month might not be something to dread after all. It might not be a repeat of Barry Bonds’ miserable march to break Hank Aaron’s record. It’s full of hope that it might be the greatest march to redemption we’ve yet witnessed in sport.
Because Woods’ quest to break one of the great records in the history of sport, Jack Nicklaus’ 18 major championship triumphs, is not a solitary journey. Everyone who loves the game, who loves sport, will walk with Woods. This six-minute man looked and sounded like somebody you could embrace when he officially becomes the greatest player who ever lived.
This six-minute man deftly dodged a question that he deems as personal but so many of us deem more than that.
What happened the early morning hours of Nov. 27 matters.
It didn’t just change Woods’ life; it changed the golf world.
Yes, something happened between Woods and his wife, Elin, to set off the crash that was obviously personal, but the crash damaged more than Woods. It damaged the entire golf industry. How and why the game was forever changed is relevant, even important.
“It’s all in the police report,” Woods told Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman.
It isn’t all in the police report, but it appears we may never know how and why the game was changed. It seems destined to go down as one of the sport’s great mysteries. Of course, Woods will protect his family, and that’s understandable, but some general accounting is due because of the way the game was injured early that morning.
There also are still serious questions about why Woods would seek treatment from a doctor who has a history of using and prescribing banned HGH substance. The game’s integrity is potentially damaged by the link, no matter how innocent the treatments were.
Still, the six-minute man set a tone that leads us to believe he might be more transparent in the future, if not in these matters, in matters he has closed us off to so severely in the past.
Frankly, even after the public apology, it was difficult to envision Woods transforming his nature, to envision him somehow becoming less guarded, less controlling, less private and more revealing. The suggestion that he might even become more of a “people person” seemed farfetched. It was easier to envision him as a man determined to aim the formidable powers of his personality at fixing a problem, at taming the unruly lust that turned his life upside down. The six-minute man is easier to see changing.
The revelation that Woods is wearing a Buddhist wrist band for “protection and strength” tells us a lot about his fragile state of mind. So did his revelation of how therapy is helping him: “The strength I feel now, I have never felt this type of strength before.”
The six-minute man looked and sounded like somebody on his way to winning more than golf’s biggest events again.
For six minutes, Woods sounded like a man who will win his redemption.
Of course, it will take a lot more than six minutes to know if Woods wins that match, but it was a sure-footed step for a guy who's counting his steps.