— It's time I give Tiger Woods a break. I've been hammering him since the first news of his car accident came out Nov. 27, and I never let up. I was furious with Woods’ arrogance and the cowardly way he hid as more and more allegations came out about his behavior. And I wasn't the only one upset, as fans on the air and Web wrestled with the fallout of this scandal.
On Friday, I had no idea what to expect from Tiger's press conference — he was making a statement and wouldn't answer questions, but what would he say? Many fans and media were hoping to hear him face questions and have more opportunities to fail, but I wanted Tiger to show remorse and admit his mistakes in front of an audience.
What Tiger showed everyone in his 13 1/2-minute address was a man unguarded, under unbelievable pressure. He wasn't standing in the fairway at a major championship, trying to decide what club to hit. Tiger was about to embark on a speech that would define the rest of his life.
Don't fault Tiger for reading from a prepared statement. Anyone would need some notes in a situation such as that. Despite that, he clearly understood the magnitude of the situation, and he came across as sincere. He apologized to everyone in his life, and I mean everyone: his wife, mother, extended family, friends and business partners. Tiger wisely apologized to the members of his foundation, and he said sorry to the PGA Tour for being such a huge distraction during the Accenture Match Play event.
Talking about the need to rededicate himself to Buddhism was a surprise, but also another indication of Tiger's sincerity. Criticizing the paparazzi was not a surprise at all, but I completely agree that those photographers are a menace.
Tiger also seemed sincere when he talked about going back to rehab and continuing his therapy. He admitted he was in treatment, and that was obviously for sex addiction. And Woods showed again he is serious about putting his life back together by indicating that he doesn't know when he'll return to golf. Missing the Masters would be very tough for him, but don't be surprised if he does.
One other element of the press conference made me think Tiger was sincere: His mother, Kultida, was sitting in the front row. Admitting your faults to a worldwide audience has to be hard, but doing it in front of your mother makes it 10 times more painful. Imagine if you had to come clean with all of your worst secrets in public as your mom looked on? That woman had a lot of courage to be there as her son was trying to get through that speech and keep his family together.
Tiger seemed humbled, a broken man who hit rock-bottom. Give his performance a 9 out of 10: For a noted control freak, he admitted that he needed help and therapy to repair his marriage and his life.
I'm ready to back off Tiger and see how this plays out the next few months. I was impressed by his statement and wonder if Barry Bonds took notes. Tiger got through the toughest day of his life and deserves a chance to rebuild his life and make amends.