Archive for Saturday, December 5, 2009

Woods’ apology changes nothing

December 5, 2009

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The billion dollars didn’t help one cent.

Tiger Woods couldn’t even get on his yacht “Privacy” and sail away somewhere to keep everyone from looking.

Larger than life one day, just another sinner the next.

No reason to talk about his quest to become the greatest golfer ever when the tabloids were offering up much juicier stuff for debate.

Does anyone care about the odds of Woods winning the Grand Slam when one offshore sports book is posting odds on whether he will admit to having an affair by the end of the year? (Not admitting was a 2-1 favorite.)

There has probably never been an athlete as celebrated as Woods. There has surely never been one who went from virtual deity to an overused punch line overnight.

He could have tested positive for steroids and life would have gone on much as it did before, as Alex Rodriguez found out every time he was cheered at the plate.

Begin having questions raised about your moral behavior, though, and things change. There are those who draw the line there, especially if they feel they’ve been misled by the carefully crafted image they had of Woods as a good family man and father.

That’s why Woods came forward Wednesday with a statement he couldn’t have dreamed of making just a week ago. It came, as they all seem to do, from Woods’ official Web site, filed under the unlikely headline of “Tiger comments on current events.”

If you had been in a remote cave the last week, you might have thought he was giving his take on the health care debate or the war in Afghanistan. Instead, he was offering up remorse and regret for his “transgressions.”

“I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves,” Woods said. “I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect.”

Very far short, if you believe the claims of Jaimee Grubbs, who told Us Weekly magazine said she carried on a 31-month affair with Woods.

If it’s true, perfect husbands don’t start hanging around in Las Vegas with a cocktail waitress two months before their wife is about to give birth to their first child. Perfect people don’t leave urgent voice mail messages like the one Woods allegedly left for Grubbs last week.

Just what Woods did or didn’t do with Grubbs, or another woman the National Enquirer alleged was involved with him, likely will be good fodder on the Internet for some time. Woods, who spent more time addressing his right to privacy than his personal shortcomings in the statement, admitted to nothing other than letting his family down.

More intriguing, meanwhile, is whether Woods will be the same player when he returns.

Will the famous Tiger glare and fist pump still be enough to intimidate opponents when they’ve seen his most vulnerable side? Will he be able to maintain his equally famous powers of concentration when the talk about him isn’t all about golf and the paparazzi still tail him home every night?

Woods may already be asking himself the same questions. He’s always been able to deal with distractions, but he’s never had one like this.

Yes, it’s hard to imagine. But in the end, his greatness could become the biggest casualty of all.

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