Tiger Woods Set To Continue Weaving Shroud of Ambiguity

Ryan FallerAnalyst IFebruary 19, 2010

WINDERMERE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Tiger Woods practices golf outside his home on February 18, 2010 in Windermere, Florida. Woods will make a statement at the PGA Tour headquarters this Friday morning (February 19, 2010), according to a notice on the PGA Tour's web site.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

I don’t necessarily know what Tiger Woods is going to say tomorrow, but I have an idea. Regardless, it doesn’t really matter. Frankly, I’m over it.

Whatever closure this story deserves was established the second it drifted from the grasp of the mainstream media, gossip magazines, and the vastness of the blogosphere.

Alas, we are a nation that lusts after stories of the comeback variety. And without clarification as to what exactly drove Woods to such atrocities and what he is doing to save his marriage and re-endear himself to the public, the healing cannot begin.

From the rubble of Woods’ mistakes comes the reclamation efforts, and they begin in earnest at 11 a.m. ET Friday.

But don’t refer to Woods’ first public appearance in months as a press conference. Instead, classify it as the ideal stage for one man who is prepared to merely skim the surface of his transgressions, not answer for them.

The setting of Woods’ public address, PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra, Florida, will resemble somewhat of laboratory. Minus the white coats and vials, Woods’ handlers will place their client in a carefully monitored and controlled environment, the heart of which will be impregnable—not only from the media’s probes but the attentive eyes and ears of the general public.

Writers from the three major wire services (the Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg) will make up a large majority of the media present, joining one “pool” camera that will relay a signal to whichever television news outlet you prefer.

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At the same time, behind the scenes, Woods’ loyal and obedient army will do all they can to conceal the strings while they dangle the embattled star across the podium like a puppet.

If nothing else, the whole production should be anti-climactic.

A statement released by agent Mark Steinberg and published on Woods’ personal Web site clearly outlines the golfer’s strategy, claiming that while Woods “feels that what happened is fundamentally a matter between he and his wife, he also recognizes that he has hurt and let down a lot of other people who were close to him.”

The statement adds: “He also let down his fans. He wants to begin the process of making amends and that's what he's going to discuss."

My question is this: How is this subject matter any different than what we got from Woods in the weeks that followed his now infamous single-car accident, subsequent reports of infidelity, and ongoing absence from the game.

In order to partake in a discussion, you must have the participation of a second party. In this case, that second party will not exist. Had access been granted to a throng of ravenous reporters, we’d be talking about an uncensored bloodbath at Woods' expense.

However brutally, reporters would have asked the tough questions, and we would’ve gotten the answers that only Woods’ family and closest confidantes know at this point.

Instead, it appears the contrite Woods will keep his hand close to his vest while rehashing in a personal statement what we already have known since Thanksgiving.

Will that be good enough for the American public? Maybe, maybe not. Whatever the verdict, Woods’ evasive game plan doesn’t seem to be going over too well with the media who were roped off from Friday’s proceedings.

In an outcry of disdain for the private nature of Woods’ address—or perhaps their own exclusion—several media members have suggested that the reporters asked to attend should boycott the event. Some, in fact, have taken the liberty of assessing the odds of Woods crying during the press conference, among other scenarios.

And though the demands for a protest will fall on some deaf ears, others are apparently sharing the sentiment.

CBSSports.com senior writer Steve Elling reported Thursday evening that in a unanimous vote among its board members, the Golf Writers Association of America has decided to boycott Woods’ press conference.

According to Elling, who is a board member of the organization, the GWAA based its decision on the principle of taking a stand against Woods’ exclusionary tactics, not the fact that a Woods spokesman turned down its request to expand the number of additional media outside of the three wire services from three to 12.

If you ask me, it wouldn’t make a shred of difference whether Woods read a crafted script from a teleprompter inside his home or he engaged hundreds of reporters in a televised Q&A session.

What we’ll hear on late Friday morning will have little to do with why Woods did what he did, which is the real meat of this saga. It’s also likely that the world’s No. 1 golfer won’t expend the energy necessary to detail his blueprint for recovery to our satisfaction, which would be another crucial element in us assisting him in picking up the pieces.

Or will he even approach confirming the date many seem to think he’ll make a return to work?

What should have been compelling and therapeutic drama will inexorably be autonomous and scripted apologies starved for emotion. And we’ll be left standing in the same spot we are now, with most of us feeling robbed of the chance to move forward in this whole mess.

The most notable athlete on the face of this planet committed a string of egregious missteps that tarnished the beauty and sanctity of marriage and caused irreparable harm to his previously choir-boy reputation.

His image is shattered. His stature is diminished. And his ego has been slapped around and knocked down a few pegs. In the case of Woods, as it is with any fallen superstar, this is the trifecta from hell.

Let the repentance officially begin—sort of.

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