Tiger Woods: No Apology Needed

Andy Reistetter@GolfWriter59Analyst IMarch 23, 2010

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - DECEMBER 12:  Tiger Woods laughs as his father Earl Woods presents the trophy after the final round of the Target World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club on December 12, 2004 in Thousand Oaks, California.  Tiger Woods won the event at 16 under par.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Tiger Woods apologized Feb. 19 for his irresponsible and selfish behavior.

"I want to say to each of you—simply and directly—I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in," he said.

In his somber speech at TPC Sawgrass, home of The Players Championship, he put his life into perspective and shared the direction he plans to pursue.  

"I once heard—and I believe it's true—it's not what you achieve in life that matters; it's what you overcome," he said.  "Achievements on the golf course are only part of setting an example.  Character and decency are what really count."

Apology received, no further apology needed.

Tiger revealed more personal insight than ever before in two unscripted, riveting interviews with The Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman and ESPN's Tom Rinaldi on March 21.

How did someone so powerful in life, yet so powerless to stop himself, finally hit rock bottom and start on an upward path?

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"You strip away the denial, the rationalization, and you come to the truth—and the truth is very painful at times," Woods said.  "And to stare at yourself and look at the person you’ve become…you become disgusted.

"As a person, it’s hard to believe that was me, looking back on it now."

Tiger is trying to get back to his roots, recalling something his father once said that rung hollow to him until now: "In order to help other people, you first have to learn how to help yourself."

So Tiger is taking the time to help himself.

He is on the road to recovery through a process by which he realizes there is a higher power in his life other than himself.

Maybe he does not need to control everything anymore.

Having realized the implications of his actions, Tiger is progressing to the next step—no different from when he is on a golf course, hitting driver and approach iron and putting the ball into the hole.

"I've hurt so many people, and so many people I have to make an amends to—and that's living a life of amends," he said.

What can come from admitting one has a weakness?

"When you face it, and you start conquering it, and you start living up to it. The strength that I feel now, I've never felt that type of strength."

Maybe that strength came from learning something from people with little wealth, position, or title in this world.

Maybe in the course of his treatment, Tiger Woods has connected with the regular people living regular lives out there.

So Tiger is stronger now and likely will become a better person.

That will likely make him a better golfer.

Imagine that—Tiger Woods a better golfer than we saw last year, winning six times.  Better than in 2008, when we saw him win the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, hobbling around on a broken leg.  Or better than in 2002, when he completed the Grand Slam, winning the four major championships in a row.

Five, if you include The Players Championship.

All that matters to Tiger Woods these days is rebuilding his marital relationship and being a good father to his two children.

Yes, there are naysayers out there—those who say this is all an orchestrated effort to deceive the public again.

Maybe we deceived ourselves into believing and expecting a human being to be perfect.

The same people who think Tiger Woods owes them something—or worse yet, that they somehow own a piece of him and have the right to sit in judgment of him.

Life is too short for most of that nonsense.

Good for Tiger to come back at Augusta National, where any out-of-line behavior— including running to get a good seat when the gates open in the morning—is punishable by revoking forever your weekly badge privileges.

Remember that they closed the waiting list several years ago because realistically, there is little chance of a badge becoming available for the mere mortal soul.

I know a grown man who cried incessantly when he lost the badges that his father passed along to him because of the careless behavior of his friends.

Good for Tiger for focusing on what is important to him—his family and the game of golf.

Tiger's legacy—and what he wants to do with his life—is the same as before.

"I felt that golf was a vehicle for me to help a lot of people."

Throughout his success, Tiger has been very charitable.  While donating $3 million in Haiti relief funds makes headlines, other work such as the Tiger Woods Foundation goes on quietly behind the scenes.

Factor in the unprecedented growth of the PGA Tour and the subsequent rise in charitable donations—all because of the Tiger Woods phenomenon—and one easily concludes that Tiger Woods has donated more than his fair share.

After all, hasn't he basically given his life to us since he putted a few balls on The Mike Douglas Show at age 2?

So maybe Tiger Woods is on the right road—though, unfortunately for the most part, his travel will be in the public eye.

Let's get back to why we came to know Tiger in the first place—back in the fall of 1996, when he said hello to the world and won his first event in Las Vegas.

This is a farewell to the darker days of his life and a joyous hello to the brighter side of life—a life free of addictions.

Good for Tiger—and who knows?  Maybe the steps he takes in the years ahead will be a dozen majors to surpass Jack Nicklaus' record of 18.

Fourteen plus 12—26 sounds like a nice career major total for Tiger.

Tiger Woods style—that's good!

Andy Reistetter is a freelance golf writer. He follows the PGA Tour, volunteering and working part time for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, and The Golf Channel. He resides in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., near the PGA Tour headquarters and home of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.

He enjoys pursuing his passion for the game of golf and everything associated with it. He can be reached through his Web site www.MrHickoryGolf.net or by e-mailing him to Andy@MrHickoryGolf.net


Reistetter has authored two books—one on inspirational living called "Love, The Rest of My Life (TROML) & The Pursuit of Eternity" and the other on inspirational leadership called "The Approach." Both books are available by e-mailing AndyReistetter@gmail.com