Tiger Woods is “profoundly sorry.”
He is “deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt” that his “infidelity” caused. He asks for “forgiveness.”
Woods is turning his “focus” on being a “better husband, father and person.”
For Tiger Woods’ fans, this is all good news in the statement he just released on his Web site.
It’s good news after nothing but awful news the last 14 days.
The announcement leads us to believe Woods hasn’t lost his family yet, that he’s working “to repair the damage” he’s caused. There’s hope in the message for those who want to see him save his family. There’s hope of healing and redemption.
The downside for Woods’ fans is that he will be taking an “indefinite break” from professional golf.
There’s a potentially steep downside in that for the PGA Tour.
When Woods doesn’t play, the game’s not the same. This won’t help the Tour as it tries to secure a new TV contract and renew title sponsorships in a bad economy.
Really, though, this may be a case of short-term pain that’s well worth the long-term gain.
We don’t know how long Woods will be gone. It seems apparent he won't be back for the PGA Tour event in San Diego, where he traditionally makes his season start in late January. That wouldn’t be an indefinite break. It would be a normal break.
Whatever time Woods spends away, it’s good for Woods and the PGA Tour if he returns as “the better father, husband and person” he says he is trying to become. The downside is the likelihood that it will take longer than a couple months to do that work.
Still, this message is good news, and it would resonate so much more powerfully if he looked at us when he said it.
Woods has serious credibility problems. Statements issued on the Web alone won't change that.
As much as Woods supporters fiercely argue that he shouldn’t have to make a public appearance to confess and apologize, the act would go a long way in starting his rehabilitation in so many minds.
Sports Illustrated’s Phil Taylor said it well this week.
“Does Woods owe the public further insight into his private life?” Taylor wrote. “Of course not, but this is not about what Woods owes us; it is about what he wants from us going forward. Does he want the same thunderous reception from the gallery as he approaches the 18th hole that he has enjoyed? Does he still want to be admired as a pioneering role model, and not just appreciated as a great golfer? If he cares about those things, he will have to earn them back by being honest with us and revealing at least some of his pain. That is his public penance. The public, in a way, is like the spouse who has been cheated on. If you want to repair the relationship, you need to do more than just say you're sorry – you have to let us look you in the eyes and make our own judgments.”
Maybe that’s coming.
Maybe we’re finally nearing the bottom of this awful story, but there’s no guarantee with media outlets continuing to dig. The appetite for the scandal is staggering. The depth of the allegations is equally staggering.
The story still needs a bottom, and here’s hoping Woods moved us closer to it with his statement. Here’s hoping he’s on his way to turning this story around and leading us all out of this mess.