February 18, 2010 10:00 PM ET
I am probably one of the few in the media who has no problem with Tiger Woods not answering questions at his Friday news conference.
What does the media want to know? Who was the prettiest? Is his wife going to leave him? How was the food at the sex clinic? Were you able to watch the Orlando Magic there? What is he most sorry about? What were you thinking? Are you in love with your wife?
Some silly, some very personal, some obvious.
Certainly reading a prepared text would be a mistake but Woods should be able to understand some of the curiosities and broach them. Woods should have a general outline to keep his thoughts low key, slow, and organized and keep from rambling and saying something that makes his look too prideful and the old school hubris monster from rearing its ugly head. But, apart from that, the news conference will probably consist of:
1) Apologizing to his wife publicly and passionately... And his children currently are too young to understand any of this. This will likely be the first thing out of his mouth or close to it. I don't know if he gives an update on his marriage with a "we are in the middle of the long, ongoing, sometimes painful process, of healing" kind of thing, but probably he will. Will Elin be there with him? Tough call. I don't think it matters. It might be too early for her to do that. The fact that he is not answering questions might mean she will be. He wouldn't want her there when those questions are being asked. He probably would like a picture of him and his wife in the New York Post. Other than that, to just appear to be humble, no BE humble, and announce that he has always been a good learner and a determined person. We will probably hear, “I was selfish." We could hear the Alex Rodriguez, "I was young and stupid." He will tear himself down and then build himself up. But, then could say he will end up being the best husband and best father ever if that's what he wants. If he doesn't, he eventually should be honest to his wife. Clearly, he is great with kids and his own children. He holds children well. That's a good sign. I believe he can make this transformation if it's in his heart. Some will argue 34 is a bad age to make such a proclamation and transformation. That might be correct. But, it's up to Elin to believe him or not. And for Woods to be honest.
2) Tiger will also apologize to fans, sponsors, fellow players and anybody else he can think of. This will be the most interesting dynamic of the news conference. Will people believe that he is truly sorry or believe that he is embarrassed because he got caught? Tiger's hubris and "killer" attitude is legendary and you wonder how much of that has been lost, if any. Or is he able to compartmentalize that, and still be a champion post tabloid. How much was his off the course behavior help his on course domination? Did it feed his confidence? Will his on-course demeanor and confidence change? I could see Tiger announcing a relationship with a major new sponsor. This will be a key component in his rehabilitation. Someone else, a third party, believing in him.
3) Will he announce where he will play next? Could it be next week at Scottsdale? He could. If there is one crowd that would be sympathetic it would be a young crowd. Plus the PGA Tour wants players, and Tiger in particular, to play in tournaments he doesn't normally go to. To spread the wealth and energize new sponsors and old, loyal ones. I believe this is possible. He will need to walk the walk at some point. To do things a bit differently and also, to get that first tournament out of the way while the Olympics are still going on. He can play Scottsdale, week off, play Doral, week off, play Bay Hill, week off, and then the Masters. I've been hearing from good golf sources that he was going to do a news conference with Arnold Palmer by his side at Bay Hill.
Other than this, I don't think much more will be said, maybe a charity venture or pledge. Now, agent Mark Steinberg said there was a reason why the news conference is on Friday in the middle of a tournament sponsored by a company, Accenture, which dropped Woods. I can't imagine what that could be. Tiger could have informed the folks at Scottsdale that he was coming to play next weekend and have his News Conference from Arizona on Monday or Tuesday. He could have had it that past Monday. But, this is a small issue. No one cares about the Accenture Match play anyway this weekend outside of golf hardcores and if anything the controversy has given the tournament some attention it would have otherwise not have received.
Tiger Woods did a lot "bad" things the past few years off the course. On the course, he threw too many clubs and swore too much. But, he is just 34 years old and he has time and room to grow. He is generally well liked. He smiles easily. He is congenial, well mannered in social settings. He is a good loser. There is a lot of good here.
He had his fun. He had too much money, too early. He got married too young. Time + money+ time on one's hands usually equals disaster. Tiger was not immune. But he has a foundation of family and friends to come back. And at one step at a time he will. He is the greatest talent in the history of the game. He will win tournaments and he will win majors this year.
Woods did despicable things to his wife. Not just the sex but the intimate conversations and the cover up attempts. But, I believe he will return as a better person and just about the same golfer.