AUGUSTA – The next question Tiger Woods should be asked is, “What club did you hit on nine?” Or, “What happened at Rae’s Creek?” Maybe even, “You seemed a little short off the tee. Blood spinning not working?”
No more mea culpas.
We’ve had printed statements. We’ve had a speech in front of a disapproving mother and, on a lesser note, the rest of the world. We’ve had two mini standup TV interviews. Now we’ve had a 34-minute, I have been the scum of the earth, oh, throw rocks at me, ye great children of a higher plane, mother of all public confessionals.
He answered every question, most completely, seemingly sincerely. He was contrite. He was apologetic. He appeared neither robotic nor rehearsed.
He didn’t weep. That’s OK. Just means he didn’t take his cue from a fallen televangelist.
If Tiger Woods is lying about whether he has used HGH or another performance-enhancing drug, we’ll find out, because one of his doctors is under federal investigation. If he is lying about having a problem with pain killers, we’ll find out, because addictions are hard to keep secret. If he is lying about going through some great spiritual awakening and feeling more appreciative now of what he has and the fans who bow at his feet, we’ll certainly find out.
Why? Because no revered athlete ever has been as exposed as Tiger Woods has over the last four-and-a-half months, and it follows that no athlete will be more closely scrutinized from this day forward.
It’s time to back off.
He said, “The fact I’ve won golf tournaments is irrelevant to the damage I’ve done.”
He said, “I missed my son’s first birthday [while in rehab]. I’ll probably regret that for the rest of my life.”
He said he got away from meditation and religion, and, “I lost that and unfortunately also lost my life in the process.”
He said, “I’ve lied and deceived a lot of people.”
Question: How many burning buildings do you need to watch?
At some point, don’t you stop asking the pyromaniac, “Why? How? Did you really text that?”
There will be more screaming headlines. Woods wasn’t exactly having flings with the quiet and the meek. Porn stars. Models. Cocktail waitresses. Even the Perkins waitress seems to have had made-for-TV-movie in her eyes.
But does that mean we need to keep asking Tiger Woods about it?
When the doors swung open to the Augusta National interview room at 2:01 p.m., about 200 media members went quiet. It was one of the more bizarre atmospheres you’re going to see for a pre-event news conference. Then came the bullets.
– His association with a Canadian doctor, Anthony Galea, who is under investigation for distribution of HGH: For treatment of a torn knee and a previously undisclosed torn Achilles with a procedure called “blood spinning.” Woods: “He never gave me HGH or any [performance enhancing drugs]. I’ve never taken them in my life. I’ve never taken any illegal drug.”
– He has prescriptions for Vicodin and Ambien – the first to rehab from injuries, the second as a sleep aid following his father’s passing in 2006. But he declined to address whether he was under the influence the night of his car crash: “The police investigated the accident and they cited me 166 bucks. Case closed.”
(Short editorial here: When somebody bounces his Escalade off a hedge bush, into a fire hydrant and a tree, there’s a pretty good chance he’s not completely lucid.)
As for the status of his marriage to Elin Nordegren: “Elin’s not coming this week.” He won’t say anything else on the subject. Will it affect what you have for breakfast tomorrow?
Woods was asked about his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major victories. He is four short. But Earl Woods’ death, the birth of his children and this latest tabloid bonfire have diminished that chase, he said.
“It puts it in perspective. It’s not about championships. It’s about how you live your life. I had not done that the right way for a while. I needed to change that. Going forward, I need to be a better man than I was before. If I win championships along the way, so be it.”
Maybe those words cause the cynic in you to look cross-eyed. That’s fine. But I’ve seen enough burning buildings.
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