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The Tiger Woods apology: I'm convinced

Well, that was excruciating. I’m not sure I’ve ever witnessed a more public, more extended self-flagellation.

Apologizing is an art form. There is the non-apology apology: I’m sorry if you were hurt/took offense/whatever. There is the painfully extracted, curt apology, in which the individual resists and resists and finally manages to choke out the requisite five-letter word: sorry.

And then there what should henceforth be known as The Full Tiger: “I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior.” “I have let you down.” “I'm embarrassed.” “For all that I have done, I am so sorry.” “My repeated irresponsible behavior.” “I was unfaithful, I had affairs, I cheated. What I did was not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame.” “I knew my actions were wrong but I convinced myself that normal rules didn’t apply.” “I was wrong. I was foolish. I don’t get to play by different rules.” “I brought this shame on myself.”

The man walked in looking stricken. He walked out the same way. Maybe it was all an act, calculated to save sponsorships. If so, it was an extended and, I thought, convincing one. I’ve watched a lot of apologies in my day, mostly from politicians, and most of them annoy me. This one didn’t. Imagine having to do that, not only in front of millions, but in front of your mother. Some people have taken offense that Woods lashed out at the media. I am the media, but I have to say: If someone followed my 2-1/2-year-old to preschool, I’d lash out too. The therapy talk got a bit much after a while, but the diagnosis sounded accurate: “I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to.” “I felt I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy the temptations around me.”

Since the news of his early-morning crash, I’ve been pretty easy on Woods, and certainly defensive of his desire for privacy. Maybe that’s because Woods never meant very much to me. In retrospect, in light of the apparent extent of his extra-curricular activities and especially considering his iconic status, I think I should have been harder. As Woods put it, “Parents used to point to me as a role model for their kids. I owe all those families a special apology.”

They deserved it. They got it. Enough.

By Ruth Marcus  | February 19, 2010; 11:49 AM ET
Categories:  Marcus  | Tags:  Ruth Marcus  
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Actually sorry is a 5 letter word.

Posted by: walrusk1 | February 19, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Here is the deal. No surrender on this creep. Curse him. Why?

He totally betrayed his wife and children for the sake of predatory sexual gratification. Not any sincere affair of the heart, merely parasitic and narcissistic lust with the many who perhaps hoped to enter the limelight of vast wealth and celebrity in his carnival of lust. But you know what? I don't care a rotten fig about that. It's none of my business. For his wife it may be, but none of mine. Its entirely likely that most of the vastly wealthy professional jocks on the road do the just the same.

Here is what is different about the Tiger Woods situation; he professionally marketed himself to a worldwide audience as much more that a very talented athlete but as a decent man, a family man who loved his wife and children, seeing into the future in his visionary gaze. He defrauded me too, as I believed the lie. He has made literally hundreds of millions on endorsements based entirely on a fraud. Just how is this fundamentally different from Bernie Maddof? He did much the same until his fraud was exposed. There is no excuse for him, and there is no excuse for Tiger in exactly the same way. Professionally marketed frauds, for the sake of a literal ocean of financial reward. And that is fundamentally what is wrong with our whole economy and nation today.

So, no surrender on this one. It was and is not about human frailty of the heart, which should be forgiven as we all fall short of the mark, but economic vampirism on a scale that boggles the mind. And he knew it was a vast lie all along.

Posted by: tarquinis1 | February 19, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Here's another view: who cares? Tiger's personal problems are NOT OUR PROBLEM. He doesn't need to apologize to anyone he doesn't know personally. Did Tiger cheat on ME? No, so I don't care.

Tiger should never have done this. He should have simply gone back on the golf course and played golf - and if the fans didn't cheer, so what?

Posted by: wp11234 | February 19, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Also, why is this in Post PARTISAN? TIger is not a politician.

Posted by: wp11234 | February 19, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

So when are Bill Clinton, John Edwards and Newt Gingrich going to apologize? Then how about all of those on Obama's staff that did not pay their taxes making the rest of us cover their share? How about Jesse Jackson for his failures? Bill Clinton LIED under OATH to the American people and I have yet to see his apology.

Posted by: staterighter | February 19, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Uh, Walrusk1, I think Ms. Marcus knows that. She was trying to equate the "sorry" to a four-letter swear word. Just thought I'd let you in on that, and tarqinis1, Woods owes his wife and kids an apology - that's it. He certainly doesn't owe you one or me one. If you want to buy into the professional marketing of celebrities, that just makes you a naif. I want Tiger back playing golf IMMEDIATELY. Save your sanctimonious hogwash for the pulpit or whatever other hypocritical forum this claptrap is meant for.

Posted by: chert | February 19, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

While I am a golf fan, I fail to see why Tiger's apology warranted a national newscast that interrupted regularly scheduled programming. In an era of recession, unemployment, and numerous pressing problems domestically and abroad, I really fail to find Tiger's infidelity of even remote importance. For that matter, even in the best of times, his infidelity would be of little importance. He simply allowed his fame and money, i.e. power, to rule his logic and engaged in behavior born of that hubris, and quite frankly, behavior that is quite common. It speaks volumes that our Country is fascinated with this banal nonsense rather than cocentrating on solving and overcoming the myriad problems that we face.

Posted by: fwillyhess | February 19, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Ruth, but who is the world really cares whether you thought Tiger Woods was being truthful or not - you do hold yourself in high esteem, maybe just a little bit too high.

Posted by: Realist201 | February 19, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Overall, it was well done. He fully accepted the responsibility for his actions. I sincerely hope everything he said about the need for change is what he believes in his soul, not just because it was the thing to say.

P.S. - The Full Tiger? I laughed out loud at that one!

Posted by: shanks1 | February 19, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

A little too cute, a little too scripted, a little too sincere. In fact it oozed and wreaked of sincerity. All faux.

Tightly controlled formats with no questions don't deserve to be called "press conferences". There is more than one participant in a "conference". Who was he "confering with" here?

The representatives from the media who attended his announcement further enabled his behaviour, just as they enabled his behaviour in the past; it is not that they were caught unawares around Thanksgiving. They dared not expose the Emperor.

Posted by: pKrishna43 | February 19, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Based on Ruth's long history of biased and intolerant articles, something tells me that if Woods was a white male, she wouldn't be "accepting" his apology.

Posted by: badman53 | February 19, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

This is the funniest thing I've heard is a while.

"Actually sorry is a 5 letter word."

Thanks for the pick-me-up after reading this article

Posted by: WhitneyDavid | February 19, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

First to dispense with the Tiger Woods "news" with more words than the "item" merits: I don't know why Woods was apologizing to me (or anyone but his wife), or why the media was covering it. Nor do I care in the least bit whether it was sincere.

Okay, now that that irrelevancy is out of the way, let's get on to the important stuff. Why is our news media COMPLETELY BLACKING OUT COVERAGE OF THE TONY BLAIR IRAQ INQUIRY IN THE UK? Another country - and our major "ally" in the premeditated, unprovoked invasion of a country that had no means to ever attack us - is ACTUALLY HOLDING ITS LEADERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE ACT. And they were just the "tagalongs" of the idea. Meanwhile, our media sticks its useless, complicit head in the sand here. Why is that?

The answer is twofold. The first is that they were so complicit in this crime, from declining to comment on the preposterous campaign of association our president engaged in until he convinced 70% of America that Saddam Hussein had attacked us on 9/11, to relegating every doubting word about the "WMD scare" to page 16, to editorialists outright mocking the experts like Scott Ritter who were trying to tell us it was all lies. So the media is ashamed to remind us what a horrible, falling-face-down job they did on this topic.

The other reason is that if they covered the story of another nation actually holding its leaders accountable for crimes like this, WE MIGHT GET THE IDEA WE SHOULD DO IT TOO. That would discourage future pointless wars for corporate profits like the one that is now making Hunt Oil, Halliburton/KBR, and other friends of the last administration rich. But more importantly, WAR IS GREAT FOR VIEWERSHIP. There is nothing better for business - whether you are a defense contractor or a news outlet - than armed, bloody conflict. No way is the media going to kill that golden goose with a little bit of honest coverage.

I spit on our news media today. I don't care about Tiger Woods. I want a decent, moral, honest news media. YOU AREN'T IT.

A million deaths. A billion new enemies for America. A trillion dollars in debt. And you are all over the story of some golfer who for some reason thinks he owes me an apology. Sorry, I'm not that codependent.

Posted by: B2O2 | February 19, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Tiger's apology is not meant for racist who are upset over his marriage to a white woman. Its not meant for woman who hate men. Its not meant for people who are jealous and envious. Its not meant for people who hate the color of his skin. Tiger's apology is meant for people who knows what its like to make to make mistakes and be forgiven. Its meant for people whom he let down and people who don't condone his behavior but has always been there to support him and his family. Tiger's apology is meant for family and friends. Forget the rest, they were haters from the very beginning, and will be haters in the end. It doesn't matter what they say or how they say it. They'll just haters who aren't owed anything and who definitely can't afford to throw stones.

Posted by: MILLER123 | February 19, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

If he wasn't sincere, and I have no way of knowing, it sure sounded sincere, contrite, earnest, apologetic, etc. All I really care about is his golf game.

Posted by: rlj1 | February 19, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Ruth writes:
The man walked in looking stricken. He walked out the same way. Maybe it was all an act, calculated to save sponsorships

Um, ya think? He did everything but have John Williams write the score for it. At least he resisted the fake tears - takes years of practice to pull that one off. Let's face it, the guy could have apologized to his wife and family, go play some golf and leave us out of it, but then, of course he would have to give up all those endorsments, sponsors and money.

Posted by: sux123 | February 19, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

ms marcus,you're gullible and naive just like the skanks he chose.
you're easily coerced and manipulated, bad traits for women in this day and age.

Posted by: ninnafaye | February 19, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Here's the deal tarquinis1: no surrender on creeps like you. The all knowing, all condemning sub human species that you represent.
No Surrender.
Not that Tiger needs me to defend him. Like he said, it's between him and his wife.

Posted by: easysoul | February 19, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

ms marcus,you're gullible and naive just like the skanks he chose.
you're easily coerced and manipulated, bad traits for women in this day and age.

Posted by: ninnafaye
Offended because some women chose to chase another woman's husband and he chose to chase them as well? Since when in the history of man has it been any different?
LOL! little girl. Glad I'm not married to you with that tone and attitude.

Posted by: easysoul | February 19, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Ruth, for showing some empathy and compassion. I, too, thought he looked stricken, and what he did had to have been the most humiliating -- probably the only humiliating -- thing he's ever had to do.

I appreciated that he didn't try to shift blame, rationalize his behavior, or muddy his apologies with all that "if I've offended someone" garbage that politicans use to distance themselves from their own scandals.

I also liked that he didn't ask for immediate forgiveness; clearly, he understands that he has to earn it and that doing so will take time and effort.

Sure there was some plotting and planning ahead of time about what, how, when, and where. But the actual speech -- long and painfully open for a tightly buttoned guy -- struck me as heartfelt.

Posted by: haveaheart | February 19, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I agree with ninnafaye.

Women like Ms. Marcus, and those who agree with herl just make cheating on women sooooo easy. That's right, he reeeeeeally loves you. You can change him. Your brilliant woman's intuition TELLS you that. When he called other women his soul mate, he was just kidding. Talk about LOL.

Posted by: Houndog1 | February 19, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Man, you right wing apologists like Ms. Marcus are really really gullible.

Posted by: WillSeattle | February 19, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I share Ms. Marcus's opinion. I've never been a big Tiger fan, and I have to admit I enjoyed the scandal a little. I don't want anyone to suffer but...

He didn't owe me or "the public" an apology and he didn't make one to us. But he did apologize to those he disappointed, and they were many, and those he hurt, and being who he is that required a public apology.

He spoke with simple eloquence, using words much neglected into today's public discourse, like integrity and decency, and he seemed sincere to me.

If he said some things about the press that those involved in that pursuit didn't like he was only giving voice to a widely held opinion.

Well done, Ms. Marcus.

Posted by: Roytex | February 19, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

He read a speech written by a PR agent and practiced giving it, and the writer buys into that? I've got a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

Posted by: KraftPaper | February 19, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

This is all so difficult to watch, maybe as it should be when private matters play out in public. Tiger is not a politician- we didn't elect him to anything- he is only a golfer. One who let us idolize him but that is our fault not his. As far as I know all golfers may be sleazy, just as all the reporters who cover themm but as for Tiger I watch him play golf to see his great golf shots.

I am all for his sponsors dropping him. They paid for an image that is no longer there so they have the right to be mad. I never paid him anything- why would I be mad at him?

I think his wife should throw him out. But then that is her business not mine. I learnt at a young age never put your hand in the fire when you talk about other people's lives because unless you live with them, and even if you do, you don't really know what they do. Most marriages aren't monogamous. If they were we wouldn't have a more than 50% divorce rate. And from the couples I grew up with in the Catskill mountains another 25% stayed married even when they found the spouse wasn't monogamous. But again that is their business.

Time to move on from Tiger and let him deal with his wife, mother and kids as he can. I will watch him play golf again when he does because he is a good golfer not becuase he is a role model.

But then parents you should use this as a teaching moment for your children. Athletes and celebrities aren't role models. They are human beings with all the same foibles as everyone else and usually more money than they can ever use to get into trouble with.

Moms and Dads, and all you snide reporters and pundits, you should just worry about living your life to be your kids role model. That will be hard enough to do without worrying about Tiger.

Posted by: peterdc | February 19, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Did Tiger jumpstart the stock market?


Posted by: MikeLicht | February 19, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Who cares what you think, Marcus. Aren't you supposed to be finding a chauffer for your spoiled brood?

Posted by: biffgrifftheoneandonly | February 19, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Check out my blog to see Brit Hume's opinion on Tiger's Buddhism:

Posted by: DonRitchie | February 19, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, who cares? The guy's a multi-millionaire celebrity. Do you really expect good behavior from him? I don't. If average people can't be held to high standards of behavior, imagine people who have the wealth he has? They feel entitled to do anything they please and short of the criminal justice system, there isn't anyone who is going to coerce them. Woods' wife will be fine, his kids will be fine, and their lawyers will all be fine. People shouldn't be encouraged to hold him up as an example of anything, other than a good golfer. He doesn't need the defense of Ruth Marcus or of anyone else. Further, there's never been any evidence that Tiger Woods could care less about any of the people who might come to his defense. People should just ignore him and mind to their own business.

Posted by: ttj1 | February 19, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe it was all an act, calculated to save sponsorships."

Why does he need to save his sponsorships? The guy is already financially set for life as a billionaire, with more money than he could actually spend. His great-grandchildren will probably never have to work a day in their lives.

Posted by: lwilliamson1 | February 19, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Who cares which holes Tiger choses to put his balls. These are his , isn't it?

Posted by: bluelagoon21 | February 19, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

All the Post's wonder writers will drone on endlessly about Tiger Woods. Meanwhile, outside their rarefied air, life goes on. A silver-dollar's throw across the Potomac, different events are of greater concern.

“The [Virginia] Governor recommends drastic additional cuts of $730 Million to K-12 public education, $38 Million to health care for 28,000 low-to-moderate income children, $24 Million to services for at-risk youth, and over $10 Million for early childhood initiatives. These four cuts alone represent almost half of the total budget reduction in the Governor’s recommendations and will negatively impact almost every Virginia family – and Virginia’s future.”

Seriously, isn't anyone more offended about this?

Posted by: thuff7 | February 19, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I'm convinced that secrecy and lies are not the best way to conduct extamarital affairs. Better yet would be group marraiages that escape the flaws of the toxic nuclear family attempting to torture people by chaining them together and in most cases making them both work and take care of a home and a family and everything involved with an increasingly complex and dysfunctional world with little time for sex unless you are Tiger Woods.

Posted by: Wildthing1 | February 19, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

What a choreographed phoney, baloney robotic effort on boy Woods' part. He produced and directed today's skit for one reason and one reason only. Not because he's married, not because he's sorry, not because he let his friends, family and corporate partners down. He staged today's act because he is flat out embarrassed. He staged today's act because a proud, arrogant, do-no-wrong narcissitic boy got embarrassed with sneaky phone calls to his harem of hos. Plain and simple. He was and is embarrassed. He will not change.

Posted by: getitritegov | February 19, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

18 holes is not enough!

I play with white balls and I like white holes!

Only Idiots would follow this stupid game of trying to put small balls into holes in the ground. Golfers are idiots. They even called the alcoholic obese--athletes. LMAO What a bunch of morons.

This Jerk Pervert Creep is Scum.

Posted by: mawt | February 19, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Isn't this all about Woods being able to sell or market products... After all thats how he made most of his wealth.,... Who gives a crap about his ability to play golf...

Posted by: robinhood2 | February 19, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

He's the best in the world at hitting a stupid ball in a hole. That's all he is both before this surfaced and after.

Posted by: c_e_daniel | February 19, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I think the article or blog post was well stated! So what if it's an act--he at least expressed an apology. In this day of "There's nothing for me to be sorry about" or the "mistakes were made" speeches, that's got to say something!

If you don't want to follow him on TV anymore, then don't. Your choice. Move on with your life.


Posted by: JasynL1977 | February 19, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I've been waffling on whether or not I care about Tiger Woods situation, but overall, I have to say that the fact he even stood up and did this is pretty amazing. He didn't have to, really. It could be PR ploy, but it was well done if it was. Just the simple fact he took responsibility is a good thing.

Posted by: downfast | February 19, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Tiger's apology was about as sincere as a chronic liar's or a perpetual philanderer's. Wait a second...oh...I mean, "exactly as sincere...."

Posted by: jim32 | February 19, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Good Lord, enough about this man and his collection of who-haas.

Posted by: MPATL | February 19, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Don't we love to be in the head and in the marriage of another person...maybe it is the Ugly American Thang...It gives us such power...leave the man alone...He is in his head and it "ain't none your business." So...get a life...check your own marriage and keep your Big Mouths shut...catch my jist?

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | February 19, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: cecil3 | February 19, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

But, let us face the facts...too many readers do not want real news...we want junk news and if junk news keeps the Post going...I will take it and be glad to have enough real news to keep me reading...

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | February 19, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

How many pages has WP wasted on this subject ?
Tiger Wood who ??

Posted by: mixedbreed | February 19, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

What a crock!

I've been a die-hard Tiger fan. I have loved his success and his brilliant play. He is one of the most remarkable athletes of his or any generation.

Most importantly, being a non-white Bhuddist American in a game largely reserved for wealthy, white, Christian male Americans, he was a special role model.

My very successful late Great Uncle was unable to be a member of a golf course that was down the block from where he lived in Connecticut - and still wouldn't take him even today - because he was Jewish.

And yet, this was a crock. Not only did Tiger do exactly what his PR team told him to do, he pulled a Jay Leno.

During the height of the Leno-Coco controversy, Jay issued a statement asking people not to blame Conan because he is a great guy. The only problem was that NO ONE WAS BLAMING CONAN. Jay was trying to position himself as a good guy by manufacturing a way to defend the person everyone sided with - even though he needed no defense. Pure manipulation.

Jay's move fell flat but, apparently, Tiger's PR team didn't get the memo because Tiger tried to set up a way to defend his wife, Elin, during his in-person press release.

Tiger pleaded with the world not to blame Elin. After all, she didn't really hit him and it is really lousy that anyone thought she did.

OK. Many people did speculate that she hit him and, maybe, with a golf club. Still, NO ONE HAD BLAMED HER FOR THAT. In fact, many people cheered.

For those naive enough to buy the drivel Tiger dished out today, pay attention to this obvious and manipulative maneuver. It was the "tell" that gave away just what Tiger was trying to do today.

Good news for Tiger though. For sure, he'll be invited on the new Tonight Show and receive a nicely staged round of applause.

Posted by: campaignman | February 19, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Woods is a joke to the public and unfortunately to his family - he has lie, cheated, and attempted to convince the public that he is sincere and deserving. I hope his handlers and media advisors are paying attention to the responses in most media rags - and know that many of us will NOT buy from those who endorse this clown.

Woods attempt at an "apology" is only for his own benefit - so well crafted by his "handlers" and "coaches" (who do think are paying them??) AND After 11 Plus mistresses (I'm talking about the ones we haven't heard about yet) - He is in need of serious psychiatric help. The brief "rehab" was staged showmanship that is has masterd so well.

I only hope that his wife does not buy in to the B.S. that he's talking about - and divorces him and gets her fair share of his earnings. Anyone who believes Woods' "apology" hasn't truely matured enough to know when someone is taking you for a ride. Time to move on WOODS get some serious help - I'm talking YEARS... I've seen your type before.. Dr. J (WashDC).

Posted by: DoctorJ | February 19, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

I'd have found him much more believable had he spoken in extemporaneous words, using some outline notes. He's a bright and articulate man, and does not need to hide behind a pre-written mea culpa. The missing wife and wedding ring said volumes more than his canned speech.

Posted by: stuck_in_Lodi | February 19, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

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