Tiger's hope to repair his tarnished image got off to a good start with the seemingly heartfelt, 13-minute statement he wrote and expressed in front of a small group of family, friends and colleagues. The whole world was watching (despite the fact that the pool camera malfunctioned in the middle of his statement and the second camera carried his statement to its conclusion but only focused on his back and the audience), and now all can debate the sincerity of his words.
And perhaps the most telling sign that he is truly serious about restoring his integrity as a good person, husband and father, is that he will continue therapy and will leave tomorrow for more treatment. He did not announce exactly when he will return to golf. He said he will return to golf one day. And that he has "not ruled out that he would return this year." That to me shows a crucial commitment to patching up his marriage, getting the professional help he said he will continue to need and continue to work on himself and repair his image.
Tiger's statement was a combination of admitting he did wrong and apologizing to his family, friends, colleagues and business associates, for disappointing them. He said he was wrong and foolish and that he stopped living by the core values he grew up with, that he only thought of himself and that he got to a point where he thought that normal rules did not apply to him... that because he had worked so hard in his career, that he deserved to enjoy the temptations. That to me sounds like he has done some true soul searching and realizes he has let fame and fortune change his 'core.' One can't start repairing a problem until one recognizes a problem and Tiger revealed that he has a problem.
And most of us who cover golf assumed that he was a descent guy at one time. And now it seems as if he will strive to become that descent person again.
Tiger also expressed anger towards the media for reports of domestic violence which he denies and for chasing after his wife and kids. He sounded irritated with media reports suggesting he used performance enhancing drugs. He also talked about the fact that he drifted away from Buddhism the last several years which teaches restraint and how, in therapy, he is learning how to combine his spiritual life with his professional life.
And by continuing the treatment and not having a start date to return to the game, Tiger is showing what his priorities are -- to prove to the world that he can indeed become a good person.
Tiger has earned more money than he will ever need. He can continue to win golf titles because he has the talent and mental toughness to do so. But more than the championships and the money, the most important thing any champion strives for is respect. Tiger needs to earn back the respect of his wife, his family, his colleagues and his fans. He said: "As Elin pointed out to me...my real apology to her will come from my behavior over time..."
His actions will do the talking from now on.
Ann welcomes your comments. Visit her web site at www.annliguori.com