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Posted at 12:17 PM ET, 02/19/2010

Did Tiger HAVE to drag in the school kids?

By Valerie Strauss

I was hoping he wouldn’t do this in today’s mea culpa speech, but, alas, he did: Tiger Woods HAD to remind the public that he really is a great guy because his foundation helps needy kids get an education.

He doesn’t seem to have learned the one lesson that many other people did from his sordid fall from grace: Nobody--not adults and especially not school-aged children -- should look to a celebrity as a role model for a value system.

This is not to say many celebrities don’t have fine values; I'm sure many do. But the truth, as my collegue Tracee Hamilton wrote in a December column, is that we don’t know what the truth is about these people.

We see in their public lives what they want us to see (except in the instance where the National Enquirer stakes you out and reveals your secrets, à la Woods and John Edwards). Successful sports figures are great because they have a particular talent. That’s it.

Very early in today’s speech, just after telling people that his marriage wasn’t anybody’s business but his own and his estranged wife’s, and well before giving his full apology, he went for it:

“My behavior has caused considerable worry to my business partners, to every one involved in my foundation, including my staff, board of directors, sponsors -- and most importantly the young students we’ve reached. Our work is more important than ever. Thirteen years ago my dad and I envisioned helping young children achieve their dreams through education. This work remains unchanged and will continue to grow. From the Learning Centre kids in Southern California to the Earlwood scholars in Washington D.C., millions of kids have changed their lives, and I am dedicated to making sure that continues.”

Translation: I’m not entirely despicable! I help children get an education! Redemption through the school kids!

How I wish he had left the Learning Centre kids and the Earlwood scholars out of it. They have no place in a public apology for serial affairs from a married golfer with two children.

What Woods was suggesting later in the speech is that he hopes that just perhaps he can, again, become a man worthy of being a role model to young people, as he once was before all of his base behavior became public.

Pity that he still doesn’t realize that he never should have been seen as one in the first place.

CBS’ David Feherty, who has covered Woods on the golf circuit, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that he was impressed with the golfer’s “vulnerable statement” and that “the vast number of people just want their Tiger Woods back.”

If all those people want is a great golfer, that’s fine. If they want Woods to be anything more, they are delusional.


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By Valerie Strauss  | February 19, 2010; 12:17 PM ET
Tags:  Tiger Woods  
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Im with you Val - he's full of BS

Posted by: rockettonu | February 19, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Tiger Woods like many other's have did the same thing, they have to say to themselves I was wrong, and I will Never to do again, or If/When I do, Don't Get Caught, the only reason that he is coming forward is because he GOT CAUGHT, if he had not be CAUGHT he would still be doing the same thing. He know's it the public know's it, Solet's move on.

Posted by: onesugar | February 19, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

It's like my grandpappy used to say, don't get married til you're REAL REAL REAL REAL tired of being single. Tiger's clueless wife needs to file for divorce ASAP. This is insane.

Posted by: uncivil | February 19, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Sure, bash Tiger. First of all this situation isn't any of our business. It shouldn't even be news. Would you permit the world to intrude on your marital problems? We should mind our own business.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 19, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure he wouldn't have escaped your consternation in any event. It's a lose-lose for him and he's taking hits, apparently from every sector; even education wirters.

Posted by: xrvax | February 19, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

There's actually an important local education angle that makes this more interesting to DC.

Tiger Woods Foundation in Anaheim, CA is a very admirable organization for middle schools and high schools, aimed at putting kids onto a track that ends with acceptance to and then success in college.

Tiger Woods wants to open a second such operation, in Washington DC, expanding on the small programs his foundation is already operating in the area. Many on Capitol Hill were hopeful and remain hopeful that redevelopment of the Hine Jr. High site includes a place for the Tiger Woods Foundation to offer this program to all the kids in the DC Metro area. The annual Tiger Woods Open PGA Tournament (when it returns to DC in a couple of years) had the potential to raise millions of dollars every year to support this expansion of Tiger Woods Foundation efforts in the DC area.

Now, with all this, the future is murky. You might be right that today, Tiger Woods had no business dragging the kids into it. Soon, however, I hope Tiger Woods Foundation renews its commitmen to grow a big, useful project in DC (and I hope, locate it at Hine Jr. High).

Posted by: Trulee | February 19, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I agree. Mentioning the students was a disservice to the very students Woods professes to be helping.

Can he just go away for a while from public eye? All this media coverage and media manipulation leaves a very bad taste in everybody's mouth.

Posted by: Netcomment | February 21, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Okay if he was wrong for mentioning children aren't you also wrong for mentioning that he mentioned children. Please give me a break. He was wrong for what he did in his personal life but the public and media want to make it our business so I guess he has to apologize to EVERYONE - including children.

Posted by: rlj1 | February 22, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

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