December 03, 2009

Tiger's Tale

I will admit to being one of the many who have been curious about Tiger Woods' personal situation and what really went on around the recent accident; whether his wife was really chasing after him with that golf club rather than trying to rescue him. Nonetheless, I think the statement below, placed on his web site yesterday, is eloquent.

While it will not stop the speculation nor keep reporters from trying to ask him about the incident, perhaps it should. Without specificity, he indicates he did something/some things that were wrong and implies this was related to the accident. The language leads one to believe he had an affair, and the reason for being even this explicit probably has to do with revelations in US Magazine (I've always thought that name is strange, it's about THEM, not US). I expect he'll have nothing more to say on this subject unless forced to in a court of law (as Rachel Uchitel may take legal action against the National Enquirer and/or its source).

I do think it's time for the p.r. pundits to shut up. They have been all over television, mostly claiming that Woods has reacted poorly to the event from a p.r. point of view. They have been critical of his decision not to talk to the police, but he was under no obligation to, and the opportunity for his police interview to be leaked was great. While his first statement could have come a bit sooner, I think he has handled it as well as he can. Yes, maintaining his position as a great athlete and effective endorser is important, but he is a person who has had to deal with the emotional and family implications of the event along with his injuries.

The real issue for his public is that it has been clear since his return to the game that something was amiss. There have been numerous occasions of bad behavior on the course. Whether related to his personal situation or athletic frustrations, if being admired and being paid as an endorser are important to him, he needs to find a resolution to this problem.

I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.

Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives. The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious. Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.

But no matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. I realize there are some who don't share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one's own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions.

Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. I have given this a lot of reflection and thought and I believe that there is a point at which I must stick to that principle even though it's difficult.

I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology.

Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post has a very different view that's worth reading.

Christine Brennan in USA Today also would not agree with me as her thoughtful piece demonstrates.

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