Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger Woods and the Media Circus



Tiger Woods was fully aware that whenever he finally broke his silence, there would be a media firestorm surrounding his comments.

I'm not sure ever he could have predicted this.

At 11 AM Friday morning, the world came to a virtual standstill for fifteen minutes while Tiger spoke to selected media, family and friends.

Perhaps the world didn’t stop, but America certainly paid close attention. The land of the free where the only thing we love more than seeing an underdog rise to the top, is seeing the mighty brought back down to human levels.

We have a seemingly insatiable desire for scandal in this country. Look no further than your supermarket checkout line for proof of the garbage gossip rags that some people actually read, and worse yet believe.

Once in a while, as is the case with the Woods story, these charlatans of journalism stumble upon a story that is actually true.

With a story this big however, it’s the legitimate media outlets losing their minds as well.

ESPN’s SportsCenter hasn’t shown any game highlights that I’ve been able to see. It’s been non-stop Tiger Woods coverage.

They even went so far as to bring in a body language expert to see if he was being sincere during his apology.

The top four headlines listed under “latest news” on CNN.com were about Tiger Woods. Number four was, “Minaret collapse reportedly kills 11”.

Part of a mosque collapses in Morocco, and the top story is the reading of a prepared statement by an athlete.

And we have the gall to wonder why the world largely has a dim view of Americans?

People all over the Internet began the debate regarding his sincerity before Woods had even left the conference room.

The opinions seem to be split, with a slight lean towards people feeling he was insincere.

It’s amazing to me how many self-righteous individuals pop up whenever someone makes a public apology.

No one made him do that. It’s not a required part of the rehabilitation process Woods has been going through. He and his people likely decided long ago that he would make a statement when he was ready, and that time happened to be now between rehab sessions.

As for the folks questioning Tiger’s sincerity based on how uncomfortable he appeared, well, my response is, “duh”.

How would you feel reading even a prepared statement on national television, in a room filled with friends and professional colleagues?

Some have said, “He should have spoken from the heart”.

Again, I ask if anyone out there would feel comfortable admitting their own personal faults under that kind of microscope without prepared remarks?

All criticism aside, I just don’t care what Tiger did. It doesn’t matter to me. He hurt no one but himself and his family.

Growing up playing golf in the age of Tiger, I looked up to him not for the guy he was off the course, but for the impossible things he did on it.

I longed to blast outrageous drives down the middle of the fairway and hit absurd recovery shots from deep in the shade of towering pines.

I attempted to hone my focus and my short game to model the steely resolve Tiger has around the greens.

I even regrettably adopted Tiger’s penchant for anger and cursing on the course, something I’ve since been able to conquer as it’s the one part of Tiger’s game I’ve come to loathe.

And so, I’m far more critical of the media circus than I am of the man currently residing in the middle ring.

That is, until the circus packs up and moves on to the next town.

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