After Tiger Woods’ mea culpa, it’s time for us all to back off

Tiger Woods answered every question and seemed sincere while doing so. (AP photo)

Tiger Woods answered every question and seemed sincere while doing so. (AP photo)

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.

Tiger Woods leaves after his press conference, hoping the next question is about golf. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Woods leaves the press center, hoping the next interview is about golf. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and on Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

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58 comments Add your comment

I like golf not tigger

April 5th, 2010
5:58 pm

His actions will show us what’s in his heart. And his actions on the course,with the fans, etc. But I expect the old love of self, controlling egoist to show up as usual.

Orton

April 5th, 2010
6:24 pm

I sure as heck hope so. I am pretty darn tired of hearing about the guy, to be honest. Let him go play his sport and leave the guy alone. He never should have had to apologize in the first place.

wxwax

April 5th, 2010
6:36 pm

He looked a bit heavy, Jeff. Did that strike you at all? Pudge or muscle?

Otherwise, I agree with you. Time to get back to golf.

Lanny Simons

April 5th, 2010
6:47 pm

Jeff, if you mean for the rest of the week, maybe. But I hope the reporters at the next tournament include a few credible journalists who will ask meaningful questions. The word “sex” was not mentioned once today, yet that is what the entire scandal is about. Why no questions about the charges in Vanity Fair that he paid for sex — an illegal practice. Were you guys afraid of Tiger, or Augusta, or both?

I would have asked this: “Tiger, the police report did not specifically say you were DUI, but when you now refuse to deny you were on Ambien, you are tacitly admitting you were. If someone accused me of driving while on Ambien, I’d immediately deny it and, if I had access to your lawyers, sue them posthaste. Do you expect the public to think a man who can consistently hit a a golfball 100 yards into a five-foot circle cannot keep a car on a street? Do you think a man living in Harlem in Manhattan who wrecked his car then passed out on the street while his wife brought out bottles of drugs would have been tested for DUI? Do you feel you got special treatment?

Orton, he did not “have to apologize.” He did it in order to grease the wheels of the Tiger Woods money-making machine. Why, by golly, he was even signing autographs for fans! That’s proof right there. A person couldn’t sign autographs for fans unless he was fundamentally changed; it would be impossible for someone to do that for show. Now, get out there and buy some of the products he endorses!

lanier

April 5th, 2010
6:47 pm

Keep the heat on him while you can. Its fun

Heath

April 5th, 2010
7:45 pm

JS preaching to others about not kicking a man while he’s down.

Really?

Reid Adair

April 5th, 2010
7:50 pm

Jeff, I must have missed his response to the fact that his kindergarten teacher, the school principal and others have refuted his claim that he was tied to a tree and had racial slurs painted on him by sixth graders. Surely someone asked about that.

Carl Spackler

April 5th, 2010
7:51 pm

who cares? if the press and the gallery don’t leave him alone… “he’ll quit the game…”

I like golf not tigger

April 5th, 2010
8:02 pm

Carl Spackler He will quit the game????? Not in a million years.

worm

April 5th, 2010
8:02 pm

Tiger, please come to Charlotte..Can’t wait to put a gotcha’ on your backswing!

[...] Curtis wrote an interesting post today. Here’s a quick excerptAUGUSTA – 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, [...]

Carl Spackler

April 5th, 2010
9:34 pm

I like golf… you obviously have not seen Caddyshack. that said, you need to get a life. let’s hope that when Tiger leaves us, there is more to his obit than; “…he was the greatest golfer of all time…” (FYI, Bobby Jones was the greatest golfer of all time, and he retire an amatuer. Tiger Woods is the greatest golf brand of all time, which further devalues what he has accomplished as a golfer.

Russ

April 5th, 2010
9:35 pm

I was a golf fan before Tiger and I’ll be one when finnally leaves the game, But I cannot watch an ill-mannered ego-maniac ruin the game. Remember Tiger, children are watching.

Kenny Powers

April 5th, 2010
10:03 pm

much ado about nothing. it is the game that counts, if i had a dollar for every transgression committed by a sports star….well, i would have a lot of dollars.

Toots

April 5th, 2010
10:04 pm

I agree with you Jeff. 100% or more.

Gen Neyland

April 5th, 2010
10:39 pm

Once upon a time, before John Daly, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods and John McEnroe, tennis and golf were athletic endeavers for gentlemen and gentleladies. The same gentlepeople tuned in to see class, style and dignity on the links and on the courts. Tiger did what Tiger did. Sadly, too many have and too many will again. Truly, it’s none of our business but thanks to TMZ and the sensationalized news media, we get ‘All The Dirt That’s Fit To Print’ on all the big names in any sport. Even more sad are the big names that lose respect for their game… As a runner, my sport of choice’s big names don’t dragged through the mud unless it’s an off-road trail course. Meb Keflezighi, please keep it in the middle of the road..!

Casual Observer

April 5th, 2010
10:51 pm

I am neither a big golf fan nor a big TW fan. I just want to know what more does anyone want from the guy? He screwed up big time. He tried to hide behind the privacy veil, that didn’t work. He came out and apologized. That didnt work, you said he didnt answer ?’s. He gave interviews. That didnt work. You said he didnt answer ?’s from everyone. He came out today in front of everyone and answered EVERY FREAKIN ? that was asked. When is enough enough?

What’s laughable is the hypocrisy about the GAME. This is a game built on Mulligans, 19th holes and best ball bets. Yet some people seem to think that a guy with a big ego that cheated on his wife has to give them some type of personalized explanation. GTFOH!!!

a mind is a terrible thing to waste

April 6th, 2010
12:07 am

Back off that black Escalade.

I'm Rick James B&%^#!

April 6th, 2010
1:42 am

I find it so funny that all the golf moralists on this site think THEIR game would be better without Tiger. It would be what it was, boring, white only, and a 2.0 share on television. The real truth is you are jealous because you aren’t rich, can’t play, and can’t bed women because you are ugly. With all that Tiger has been through, he will still have a better life than you ever will, admit it. LOL!

Tiger Time

April 6th, 2010
6:13 am

We shall see. I was out at 8 am yesterday. Tiger got a lot of “Welcome Back” except there was one idiot on Amen Corner that yelled out “How about a drink?” Idiots rule.

Ted Striker

April 6th, 2010
6:23 am

There’s always been too much fan adulation and corporate hype over Tiger Woods for my liking. The carefully crafted (and somewhat misleading) image, the idolization, the near-exaltation of him on the course just didn’t seem very respectful to other fine players. Or even to the game of golf itself.

Worse, I just thought he was too arrogant.

Well, all the reasons I didn’t pull for him before are largely gone. So, I’ll pull for him now, even though I never ever did before.

Cracker Jacket

April 6th, 2010
7:05 am

Drug test Tiger!!!!!!!

JD

April 6th, 2010
7:20 am

Doesn’t sound like you’re backing off. If so, why not just talk about the upcoming Master’s and the anticipation of having Tiger and the best golfers in the world at the most awesome golf course in the world. Stop adding fuel to a fire that doesn’t have a flame. You just never know when embarassment may hit either of us. He made a personal life mistake that hurt his family and him. Not us. It had nothing to do with anyone else. The media just wanted a story and Tiger didn’t bite. Now let’s get to the Master’s and see the television ratings go out the roof.

Billy Payne and the Boys are smiling from ear to ear.

[...] >> After Woods’ mea culpa, it’s time for us all to back off. AJC’s Jeff Schultz. [...]

Required Reading | Hard Knox Sports

April 6th, 2010
7:45 am

[...] Is it time to back off Tiger? [AJC] [...]

JB

April 6th, 2010
8:15 am

IT will take years for the sleaze press ( TMZ, people, US etc ) to leave this alone. It sells and they won’t be able to get enough. Tiger doesn’t slip away after this. He is a very public figure. What he doesn’t do, they will make up. Anywhere he is seen OTHER than a golf course will be fodder to these folks.

washedup

April 6th, 2010
8:16 am

I grew up in the 50’s & 60’s in rural middle Georgia. I was a Yankees fan because they were on TV almost every week. .we only got one game per week. .thanks Dizzy. My favorite player was Mickey Mantle. I had no idea the guy was a drunk, womanizer, and worse. You know what, I was better off for it. All I saw was a guy who played the game well, won with grace, lost with grace. I would much prefer that we not be told about professional athletes’ personal lives. I don’t really care. .what they do off the field, court, golf course, etc. And I don’t care what they think about politics, social issues, or anything else not related to their particular sport.

Clay

April 6th, 2010
8:16 am

Jeff, you mean you didn’t believe Jimmy Swaggert??

Wrong, Carl Spackler, ole Bobby Jones himself said after playing a round with the young Jack Nicklaus, “He plays a game of golf of which I am not familiar.” Most of these “girly-men” PGA players of today couldn’t break 80 with the ball and clubs Jack played with.

He won 18 majors and finished second 20 more times. First or second in majors 38 times! Tiger won’t break that record, even with high-tech equipment and wilting-on-Sunday competitors.

Sid

April 6th, 2010
8:28 am

I’m Rick James B&%^#!

I resemble those remarks……………….

Rico

April 6th, 2010
8:45 am

You back off! And how about explainin’ your own leave of absence a couple of weeks ago. The nation demands answers.

skip

April 6th, 2010
9:16 am

Jeff….I agree with you. Enough already, especially from Christine Brennan!

Sid

April 6th, 2010
9:32 am

Responsible reporting just isn’t all that much fun. Good article. Fair and boring, which is what the Woods “sex scandal” has become. Woods seems to be handling himself with aplomb which for me demonstrates sincerity in his contriteness. If he can win an Open on one leg it wouldn’t surprise me at all that he could actually win this week. But that’s the difference between the physical and the mental aspects of the game, 99% being between the ears. With all that gray matter filled to capacity I would be amazed if he could even make the cut. But as a “golfer” he is truly amazing, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and believe he will prove to be an amazing person.

Rob

April 6th, 2010
9:52 am

Amen, Schultzie.

Sid

April 6th, 2010
10:06 am

It’s seems everyone thinks that this current “sex scandal” is a first in the PGA. I had the opportunity to sit down and talk at length with a professional golfer when he was 80 (I remember he described his age as Par plus 8. This golfer won the Masters 3 times, the US Open 4 times, and the PGA 3 times and holds several PGA records. He is now deceased and would be proud for me to tell you that what he wanted to talk about that day was the sex on the tour. The orgies, the girls going from one hotel room to another, the women who traveled from tournament to tournament just to bed these guys. Does it still go on………….?? You tell me.

TommyJack

April 6th, 2010
10:09 am

Agree. Time to put this one to bed.

DScottGT91

April 6th, 2010
10:27 am

I’ve got to say that I have found it difficult to understand all the hand-wringing on this issue. TIGER WOODS IS A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE WHO CHEATED ON HIS WIFE. Is that really so earth-shattering? The fact that he may be the very best the world has ever seen at his sport does not change the fact that he joins a long list of philandering celebrities from the sports world. I think all this hoopla more negatively reflects on our society – exactly how high was the pedestal this guy was on?

I just do not get it…..

Hillbilly Deluxe

April 6th, 2010
10:47 am

“Mea culpa” sounds serious. Is there a vaccine for that?

Lanny Simons

April 6th, 2010
10:54 am

Fame is a two-edged sword, folks. You keep trying to compare Tiger Woods to your cousin Ernie who cheated on his wife and, by golly, no one talked about that.

Tiger Woods made some $500 million from being a product spokesman. If he wanted, he could go to a memorobilia signing and walk out with $100,000. Your cousin Ernie can’t. And I don’t think your cousin Ernie told interviewers how his family came first and that he was living the “boring” family life. Tiger was living a double life, deliberately lying about it to make money off of you.

He sold an image that was a lie. So, of course, people who bought the lie are going to razz him. There’s nothing for them to “get over”: They are having the time of their lives making fun of the big phony. It’s fun. You might as well ask them to “get over” watching NFL football on Sunday.

As for the “new Tiger,” let’s wait ten years and see, eh? If anyone thinks Tiger’s “comeback” wasn’t planned and vetted by IMG, you deserve to be fooled again. Go read “The Scorpion and the Frog.” Aesop was a pretty smart guy.

DAY OF RECKONING

April 6th, 2010
11:00 am

Tiger lost me as a fan years back after hearing Tiger yell “God D@mn” when teeing off ..I mean there were only 10,000 microphones on and the world looking on. But yet Tiger continued on with that tradition time after time like it was appropriate. Well, it now appears Tiger is the one getting “God d@mned” and good luck with that. And by the way, why do not any of you journalist have the guts to ask Tiger about the school incident where allegedly 6th grade kids tied him up and painted the N word on him. That story is fabricated. Tiger should have to explain that allegation with names, time and date, why no one (parents, teachers, principal, police) took any action. What a liar and not one of you journalist said anything to him about that. Shame on you for not doing your jobs

Count von Count

April 6th, 2010
11:01 am

Where is the countdown????

Blackberry Cobbler

April 6th, 2010
11:03 am

It’s the media that has kept the hype up on this. So, if it’s time to back off, then back off. Don’t preach to the fans. Go preach to your fellow media types.

homer simpson

April 6th, 2010
11:22 am

mmmmm…..cobbler….

just do it (as long as Nike keeps raking in the money)

April 6th, 2010
11:28 am

Nike has a lot of money invested in this fine family man, a real role model.

Michael Jordan had similar issues, but Nike was able to keep most of from the Press and most of the Press just loved MJ too much and protected his reputation.

just do it (as long as Nike keeps raking in the money)

April 6th, 2010
11:33 am

Nike could care less about family values, greed is much more important.

Nike treated Mike Vick awful, because they knew he could’nt make them money any more.

mack the knife

April 6th, 2010
11:42 am

Poor poor Tigger. And I feel so sorry for all you jock sniffers who continue to worship at the shrine of Tigger. I would not walk across the street to meet him or watch him play. EVER!

Falcon Fan

April 6th, 2010
12:41 pm

Those of you who are sure that anyone who drives as Tiger did in November must be under the influence of alcohol might want to consider another alternative. People who drive distracted hit stuff too. In my work I deal with people who are involved in domestic disputes and I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen a pissed off but not under the influence spouse drive off in anger and take out a mailbox or a fence or tree. Particularly if his wife and the golf club were in the vacinity, his attention would have been elsewhere. He’s consistently tried to keep his wife out of it, so that would also explain his reluctance to discuss exactly what caused the mishap. Just say’n, you can’t assume he was under the influence. Well… I guess you can if you want to, but we all now about assuming.

azcat225

April 6th, 2010
3:55 pm

Carmen

April 6th, 2010
4:22 pm

Tiger Woods is now greatly regretting the hurt and damage he has caused his wife and children because of his selfish, reckless and sinful behavior. I hope that it is not too late for Tiger to save his marriage and family. A family is a priceless treasure. At the end of the day, when all the excitement of winning tournaments is over, and the glory of fame has faded, a family and their love is the only thing that will be there for him, unconditionally. I wish them the best and hope that someday they can live happy together again.

tim

April 6th, 2010
5:12 pm

Woods is still a lying scumbag…….like most of the people you write about Jeff Schultz.

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