So far, Tiger has just scratched the surface

                                                                                                                                                            Feb. 19, 2010

By John Davis
     To high-profile athletes and those in the entertainment industry, who are used to being spoiled in ways that the real world can only imagine, Tiger Woods did something incredibly difficult today. He stood in front of the planet and apologized for hurting so many people with his selfish, scandalous ways.
       For that, I give him plenty of credit. He appeared sincere, his message heartfelt, and for anyone of his stature it would be very bitter medicine to swallow.
       But as far as I'm concerned, he has only completed the easy part. What follows might take years of commitment if he truly is going to change his ways and become the husband, father and ambassador of golf that we once thought he had already achieved.
       When he will return to the game remains uncertain. Even Tiger has no timetable, and despite his love for the game and dominance of it in recent years, as I watched his address, I had the feeling that it really didn't matter to him at that moment. How soon it will begin to matter and how soon he might start thinking that it is the avenue that brought him to stardom, greatness and wealth is what might determine the path he follows from this day forward.
       Many have stated that it's nobody's business, but a private matter of infidelity that needs to be resolved between a husband and wife. When it comes to their marriage, OK, but beyond that I strongly disagree.
       Tiger is the first athlete in the history of any sport to earn more than $1 billion. Think about that. Not even the incredible Michael Jordan reached those heights. Tiger achieved that, not only with his amazing performance in golf tournaments, but with the support and admiration of many individuals who bought into his image and plucked down money for the products he endorsed. He should be held accountable.
       But way beyond all of that are the millions of children, maybe even yours, who aspire to be like Tiger Woods. In their eyes, he is God-like, when in fact his conduct wasn't within light years of that realm.
       To his credit, he also apologized to them in his statement. What he can do to repair that damage is one very heavy burden to bear.
       Tiger's wife, Elin, was not among the intimate gathering of friends, family and colleagues Woods addressed. Her absence was conspicuous and, again, he deserves credit for defending her honor, discounting reports of domestic violence against him.
       For her and their children, hopefully this was the start of the healing process, and that process just might turn into a life-long endeavor if he does not return to his unfaithful ways. Think about that, too. How long would it take to repair the damage, and at what point do you get past that and return to a so-called normal life?
       Tiger made it clear that he plans to return to the game that he can play with amazing brilliance. When, he said he doesn't know, and that's OK because it will survive without him just as it did before he arrived. TV ratings will suffer, but who gives a damn about network giants anyway? And keep in mind that he didn't directly taint his sport, unlike those who have used performance-enhancing drugs, gambled and in other ways tarnished their games.
       What does bother me about Friday's statement is how the whole production was handled. First, it took far too long for it to happen at all, and I'm still not convinced that his address "had" to be held then and there. Being a long-time media member, I would far prefer to see a question-and-answer session in which Tiger had to face the music with limited space to dance, and that day certainly will come.
       His agent, Mark Steinberg, made it clear before the event that this was not a press conference. Fine. Then why not just post the statement on or set up your camera, send the video to youtube and let the world watch as it might?
       It always bugs me when the rich and famous criticize the media for reporting what they prefer to keep private and yet summon the same media to promote the events that will cast them in an endearing light. Ever heard the expression take the good with the bad? What the hell do they think that means?
       You can't have it both ways, but when you reach that stature, apparently you start to believe that you can. That's what put Tiger in the position he is in, and one more time, he deserves credit for admitting as much today.
        If he can overcome it, and become the caring, honorable person and devoted husband and father we all thought he was in the first place, then his achievements in the athletic arena might pale in comparison to the man.

     "Where it lies" author John Davis has been covering the PGA Tour and major championship golf since 1979.

Complete text of Tiger Woods' statement:

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