As State of the Union addresses go, this one’s going to be quite short at 5 minutes. At least it’ll give the millions who will tune in something to chew on when they duck out for lunch soon after Tiger Woods speaks from Ponte Vedra Beach.
Right now, the question that needs to be answered is why Friday? Why, as his agent said, could it not wait until Monday? Is it because he’s playing Phoenix? It’s unthinkable that he’d come back before 200,000 highly charged, seriously liquified fans in the biggest party the Tour throws in any year.
Is there a surprise coming?
We’ll see, but for the now, people seem strongly dissatisfied that he will not be taking questions. The risk from Woods’ point of view is that a reporter will ask something like, “Tiger is there any truth to the rumor that you had…” and fill in the blank. Or that someone presses him on the link to the Canadian doctor.
The 5 minutes was described in the press release as Tiger speaking “to a small group of friends, colleagues and close associates to discuss his past and his future, and he plans to apologize for his behavior.” Why not just gather those people at the clubhouse at Isleworth, with no cameras?
Because that’s not how these things work in the world of disgraced public figures. And if, as the statement further says, that this is only the beginning of a process, well then, there may well be more apologies in different settings later.
Whatever the case, the sense is that he needs to face the music, the full symphony, even if when facing those uncomfortable questions he responds by saying, “I’m not going to get into those kinds of details. Did I make mistakes? Yes, and they were profound. But I’m not going to get into the details.”
People want to see him take it, face it, own up to it, stand in there against whatever the press may want to throw at him with the same conviction and courage he’s shown when facing a 15 footer to win the U.S. Open.
Much as he might like to, Tiger can’t control the message forever. At some point he’s going to have to cede that ground.
But Tiger’s whole life has been built around power and control, real and imagined.
Now, certainly he lost control of his personal life. If he has sought, as reports suggest, treatment, experts in that area will tell you that the most crucial part of recovery is first admitting that you are powerless over whatever compulsion has had hold of you.
It’s also necessary to make amends to those you’ve hurt.
Try making amends before millions of people.
Of course Tiger’s performed and performed well before millions of people many times before.
But this had best not be a performance Friday. No one wants to see the tightly managed and manufactured version of Tiger Woods.
People want to see the real Tiger. But does anyone really know who that is?