Apology comes up short

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

For a guy who has made his living famously by recovering from crooked drives that put him in tricky places, Tiger Woods blew this one.

His 200-yard, crazily-curving drive in the wee hours of Black Friday, a drive that found both the water and a tree, will turn out to be the worst of his life.

As a general rule of thumb, when you find yourself having crashed your SUV and laying bloodied on the street at 3 a.m. with your bikini-model Swedish wife standing over you with a golf club in her hands, it's best to just chip it back to the fairway.

Trying the impossible recovery almost always just leaves you deeper in the bush.

Come clean. Apologize. Move on.

Wednesday, Woods came up short of coming clean about his alleged "transgressions" in his latest statement -- posted on his website -- after his first clumsy attempt at explaining away the extraordinary events of Friday.

"Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions," Woods said in the statement.

Fair enough. But that is not going to stop the media onslaught.

Are you kidding? It is just too incredible a story.

It has been an astoundingly quick fall.

Tiger Woods' every Nike-logoed move was scripted and buffed and sheened to remove any trace of personality or controversy. He was made out to be a Teflon Superman of singular purpose, to be the perfect golfer and pitchman.

From there, we careened to a middle-of-the-night episode of mayhem where the dress code was a T-shirt and bare feet and the soundtrack a pleading voicemail (allegedly) from a man who knows his carefully-crafted world is about to shatter.

He's human, after all.

The media has gone after this story like Woods after a Green Jacket. He is the world's most famous athlete and one of its most famous people. But there is more to it than that. He gave so little of himself publicly, other than when it served to hawk his corporate partners' wares or channel money to his foundation, that there was a level of frustration in the media which perceived him as uncooperative and painfully bland.

When the window into Tiger's real world opened, it was opened by a golf club-wielding wife.

Hello, world. The media which he held at arm's length were suddenly immersed in his most personal and embarrassing details.

It's the perfect storm on today's media landscape: the world's most famous athlete, the richest in history; alleged indiscretions with a Las Vegas cocktail waitress; a beautiful, scorned wife; and a late-night wreck in one of America's most privileged, gated communities.

Woods has found himself at the point of the double-edge sword in a world inhabited by a populace that now thinks nothing of devouring each other's most personal details on social networking sites, in a world of cellphone cameras, images, voicemails and "sexts" that have the half-life of plutonium in cyberspace, of TMZ and the tabs and a mainstream media ready to pile on.

It cuts both ways in these times. There is an insatiable interest in celebrity and, in turn, 24/7 multi-media marketing schemes on behalf of the famous. They make incalculable fortunes from their fame and the price of human frailty is accordingly high.

Everything now is about the spin. David Letterman came clean, face-to-face on national TV and seemed to perform the remarkable feat of emerging as a sympathetic figure after revelations of his sexual indiscretions with staff members of his television show.

Woods has hidden behind impersonal statements on his website, grudgingly offered after new revelations.

I'm guessing most of the public just wants to see him contrite. America loves second chances.

It will be a different story on the home front and that is definitely between Woods and his wife.

For a guy who has experienced his greatest professional moments as a front runner, he is now going to learn how to live his personal life trying to make up lost ground.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos