How Does Tiger Say I'm Sorry? Let Me Count the Ways

04/26/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Jim Moret Chief Correspondent, 'Inside Edition'; attorney; author, 'The Last Day of My Life'

The dictionary defines apology as:
"An admission of error accompanied by an expression of regret."

Let's see how Tiger's prepared statement stacks up. (Calling the well-orchestrated and controlled media even if it is a news conference seems disingenuous to say the least). I chose to look directly at the text, rather than the delivery, because, let's face it - watching Tiger read is hardly engaging.

It took Tiger just over fifty words, to issue his first message of contrition. In all, his statement included more than thirty references to blame, responsibility or sorrow. At fourteen minutes in length, that's roughly one expression of apology every thirty seconds.

Is it enough? Nope. Tiger himself admitted that it will be his deeds not his words which will ultimately reshape our opinions of him.

"I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in."

Tiger spoke directly about his wife Elin, who was so publicly humiliated by her husband's dalliances. The most recent revelation, of course, came this past week, when one of Tiger's many alleged "other women" claimed the golf great had gotten her pregnant twice at the same time Elin was carrying each of their children.

It wasn't until several minutes into the speech when Tiger finally addressed just what he did that brought down his endorsement empire along with the stock value of his many corporate sponsors over the past three months:

"The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame."

What I found oddly refreshing, was Tiger's sole acceptance of responsibility. He did not blame others (not the other women whom he never actually mentioned at all, other than to obliquely refer to his "temptations" nor did he hold his enablers accountable) Tiger did not blame his behavior on alcohol or drugs either. While he admitted he was in "treatment," the words "sex addiction" were never uttered. What Tiger copped to was more basic and pervasive in our celebrity-obsessed culture: the sense of entitlement. Tiger essentially admitted to being a narcissist and abandoning the core values he pretended to live by in each of his ads. In short, he thought he was better than the rest of us, that the rules didn't apply to him. He was wrong. But he should be commended for his candor and honesty in admitting these transgressions without playing the Blame Game.

Tiger did more than say he was sorry, he also promised redemption. In short, Tiger promised to change his wicked ways.

"It's now up to me to make amends, and that starts by never repeating the mistakes I've made. It's up to me to start living a life of integrity."

But Tiger wasn't done saying he was sorry. In case we all missed it, he said it yet again.

Tiger ended on a hopeful note, because those always seem to be the stories the public likes. He left the door open for saving the marriage and family he shattered by his own irresponsible actions.

Will it be enough? No statement ever is. Tiger himself recognized that his actions did and shall continue to speak louder than his words. If anything, his performance on Friday might have advertisers thinking that his public speaking skills also need a makeover if he is once again to become a favorite endorser.

If Tiger's words ring hollow, he will be held accountable. But Americans love a comeback. Maybe along the way, Tiger will find we're not so different after all.

Saying you're sorry? Tiger, we counting on you to mean it.

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