Today, the world witnessed the long-awaited apology by Tiger Woods, golfer extraordinaire and philanderer. In carefully enunciated phrases, Tiger said he was sorry, so very sorry, very sorry. He repeated himself. Almost ad nauseum, but not inappropriately. Tiger has plenty to be sorry for.
He let down his wife, to put it mildly. He let down his mother. He let down his fans. And he let down the PGA, which depended on him to draw people to the sport. In fact, before the sordid story of Tiger's personal life broke, the stories about him often concerned the fact that golf was losing popularity and he was the main reason people still had any interest. I'm exaggerating a little. But not much.
The best moment in Tiger's apology came when he acknowledged that he had believed the regular rules of behavior didn't apply to him. He said he had mistakenly thought his fame and fortunate entitled him to have affairs and generally act selfishly. The words were right, but Tiger's delivery sounded a little canned, as if he were mouthing phrases that had been drummed into him during the 45 days he recently spent in therapy for sex addiction.
Tiger spoke slowly during his fourteen-minute apology. He read the words. The words were contrite. He may have meant them. He spoke before a friendly audience and took no questions. He seemed so controlled and robotic that I felt sorry for him. But I'm not convinced that he truly feels sorry about anything other than having been caught.
Am I being too hard on Tiger? If you haven't yet seen his apology, you can watch it and decide for yourself. Just go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs8nseNP4s0 and take a look.